Obvious Names

18 August 2002

Days left to deadline: 13. (I'm counting today because it's 7:30 a.m. -- I haven't done today yet. But the mail only goes until midafternoon on Saturdays, so I'm not counting the 31st itself.)

Days left to final draft goal date: 11.

Days left to first draft goal date: 4.

Pages of The World Builders written (total): 83.

So. This is totally doable. Yep yep. I woke up this morning excited about what I have before me to write today. Which is good, good, good, because I was a bit bummed yesterday. Stan Schmidt rejected "Small Talk," upon which he had requested a rewrite. He said he liked the rewrite but couldn't find space for it. Um, well. Okay. Not really sure what I could have done there, but it was not the optimal solution for the situation, from my perspective. I've got it ready to go out again, with a note in the cover letter about how there's an alternate ending as well. And my mood improved immensely once I'd chosen a new market, entered it in the spreadsheet, and printed out the story. It is now No Longer Up To Me. This is why I send everything out right away, as I've said: so that I do not wallow.

I woke up to 1752 spams in my hotmail inbox, 1746 of them from the same source. Yarg. Of course that was enough that it would be bouncing my genuine messages, if any genuine messages were sent to my hotmail box. Double yarg. So I played the fine motor version of whack-a-mole on them, and I kept one copy to show to Mark when he wakes up, to ask him if we can play whack-a-mole on the sender's head in some law-abiding fashion. There's nothing like human stupidity combined with machine competence. Mmmmhmmm.

I was thinking about the names in The World Builders. Sometimes I'm really transparent. I knew what I was doing with NoŽ's parents' names. Mostly they're referred to as "NoŽ's mom" and "NoŽ's dad," because that's how the main characters would think of them. But occasionally they call each other "Jake" and "Caroline." I was grasping for couples I know, and Kari and Jake popped into mind, my "cousin" and her husband, so I gave variations on their names to NoŽ's parents, figuring they'd be decent with little freaks like my characters.

The bullies were totally subconscious. I named them Shelly and Tara. I was looking for fairly "normal" names that weren't too trendy, because Brittney and Madison are going to be dated real soon, and I don't know what'll be popular 20, 30 years from now. I don't think either Shelly or Tara is going to be massively popular or massively out of date. I could be wrong. We'll see. Anyway, after thinking about it, I realized that Shelly was the little girl at my grade school who horrified me in kindergarten -- I went home and said, "Mommy, she kicks the boys in their privates!" (Not to be confused with Shelby, who bit you if you tried to cut in line but was otherwise charming and fun.) And Tara was essentially the anti-bully -- so far the anti-bully that evidently my brain could take it around into photo negative. She was quiet and sweet and a total pushover.

The little brother is Benji or Benjamin. That's an easy one. I never had a little brother, almost never played with anyone who did, as a kid. But I played with my cousins. The older one, Garrett, was so awesome, he let me play Princess Leia with a light saber, and I will always adore him for that. The younger one was a sweet kid, but he slobbered all over his Skeletor mask (he was 3 or 4) and called the dog "Flanklin" instead of "Franklin." We called him Dusty B, but his name was Dustin Benjamin. (Dang, I'm obvious sometimes.)

The main characters are a bit less obvious, I guess. Max was just Max. There was no way he could have not been Max. I don't know why. Maybe my mom will read it and know of some Max I knew as a kid, or maybe he just wants to go where the wild things are. I don't know for sure. NoŽ means thought, and I think it's a cool name, and I'll never be able to saddle a kid of my own with it, because it'd traumatize her for life. I also think it says a good deal about her family and what kind of background she's got. As for Jonah, Jon Truitt was bugging me to name a character after him, but I wanted it to be a little more stilted than Jon, but not the entire mouthful of Jonathan. So Jonah it was, and Jon Truitt had better appreciate having the really huge geekboy named after him, even though they're very little alike.

Not to say that Jon Truitt is not a geekboy, mind you, just a very, very, very different kind.

(I try to avoid using people's full names in this journal, but I'm not saying anything bad about Jon Truitt, and we almost always refer to him as Jon Truitt, rather than just Jon. Even though we have no other Jon. He's not Jon. He's Jon Truitt.)

We had a good time at Half Moon Bay, and we discovered that the garlicky calamari at our favorite hole-in-the-wall fish taco place should be renamed squidy garlic. Because the garlic was so dominant it was occasionally overwhelming to me. Which is a whole ton of garlic. We went to Pompanio Beach instead of San Gregorio, and Timprov almost lost his glasses, but all ended well, if slightly sandy, and we had a good drive and gossip all the way home and got many happy things at the produce stand, blackberries and tomatoes and corn on the cob and peas in the pod. Yum.

So. I'm going to get myself cleaned up and then read the paper and some Kate Wilhelm, go to church and roll my eyes but get hugged by the nice old people, which is good, work on the book, clean some stuff up around here, maybe make some potato salad or precook the chicken for a risotto, if that's what we want for supper. And a half a bazillion other things, of course. But mostly work on the book.

Back to Morphism.

And the main page.

Or the last entry.

Or the next one.

Or even send me email.