The Importance Of
Being Named "Earnest!"

Names are of paramount importance in turning stories, like The Thorn That Never Leaves The Flesh into your very own unique story or novel. 

Step 1, Names help you IDENTIFY.  When you name something, you own it.  More importantly, when you name someone you understand what YOU want from a character with that name.

Therefore, naming your central participants is of vast importance to you.  The child's name is probably the most important if we (the reader) will not ever meet the child in the story.  In that case you would want the name to be one that the reader instantly recognizes as that of the missing child's. Therefore it should be memorable and unique.  I would suggest a name like "Linda Lomar Sattersfield."  Calling her Linda Lomar instead of just Linda will kind of give us a slight Southern ring if we want to apply it. 

Now, if the child will be your central figure where conflict, desperation and growth prevail the child's name should reflect YOUR image of a child with that name.  For example, Josephine might not mean a thing to me, but for you a memory rises up from the mists in fury, or resilience. In other words, by applying a specific name you can help yourself write this story better.  But what if cousin Josephine is the first one you want to read your book?

The beauty of names is that while they may help us write the book today, a good word processor can change every instance of that name when you are finished.. Jim can become Fred, for example, and Josephine can became Mary.

#2, The names you choose are imbued with hidden personality that will give zip to your writing.  The mother's name in this story is probably next.  Everybody knows how much a mother loves her child and we don't have to work that hard at generating sympathy for our suffering mother.  We will probably want something simple -- general - average.  Why?  Because we want everyone to remember a similar name, and think of how badly "she" would have felt.

Let's look at "Helen" then, or perhaps "Harriet?" 
Helen is slightly truncated and easier to identify with. Everybody will know a Helen.
Harriet has hidden value because it has three syllables and it gives off vibrations of strength and persistence.  She could be downright vicious, in fact, if she ever gets hold of that abductor. 

When you are choosing your name for the mother you want to answer the question, "Will she be the central character that never quits? or will she be the passive character while her husband never quits?  Perhaps you will want them to work together.  Name your mother accordingly. 

The father's name is similarly crucial.  You have the mother's name, you have her latent personality and part to play.  So, the name you give the husband should meld with the mother's in your concept of the story. 

Ben? Benjamin? Paul?  One name almost never fails..
James. 
Giving a kid the name of James endows him with at least 3 possible personalities.. James, Jim, Jimmy.  The Southern ring of Linda Lomar might indicate a 4th possible personality for the father.. Mister Jim.  "Mister Jim" indicates a personality capable of making all 9 ducks line up in a row by doing nothing but raising an eyebrow.  In short you could be launching a hero novel by using Mister Jim.

Now you realize how important the names and the personalities are and we have the names straight.  We're ready for the opening scene.  I like to start with the day things shift.. or in this case, with the abduction itself. First Let's show our readers just how sweet the young child is and how much love the mother has..  Harriet Sattersfield is entering a supermarket.  Linda Lomar is in the buggy basket with her chubby little legs sticking back through the openings. 

We go through at least 2 and preferably 3 strangers approaching Harriet to remark upon how beautiful the child is.  Shopping resumes and everything settles down, Harriet goes a few steps down the aisle looking for the corn syrup that Linda Lomar likes best on her little potty cakes.  "I found it, look Linda.. Linda?"  and then we hear that anxious scream that echoes and bounces around the aisles.  Next, we watch as Linda Lomar is being rushed out of the supermarket.  Our last look at her centers on the expression in her eyes as Linda Lomar has the first flickers of apprehension.  "Mama,  MAMA!"

A flash of lightning rips the sky asunder so that even in the pouring rain we can see a car door open. A thunder clap shakes the whole building and dims the lights. They flicker, come back on just long enough to reassure everyone, and then, sudden darkness -- and your story or novel is off to the races. 

"Where is Linda Lomar now? 
What are they doing to my poor child?"

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Show us a sample of how you'd work on this story..

the end