Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What's In a Name?

Comic Strips
I’m a avid fan of comic strips and think every storyteller should be. Especially of the strips that have ongoing story lines. No, I’m not talking Mary Worth and Judge Parker or even Little Orphan Annie, although they were greats strip back in the day. I’m talking about newer strips relevant to the twenty-first century life like Stone Soup or LuAnn. Or edgier ones like Doonesbury, Non Sequitur and Pearls Before Swine. All timely, funny and insightful. Even more impressive, the artists/writers exhibit an enviable skill of story telling in very few words.

Sunday morning's funnies featured a strip that inspired this blog post. Pearls Before Swine, written by Stephan Pastis. His character, Pig (no fancy names for Mr. Pastis) is naive and as genuine as the day is . . . well, you know, and he’s been told he might want to rethink his hero’s name, more than once, I believe. So here goes. Oh, did I mention funny?

Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis

Pearls Before Swine
Having trouble reading the print? Here's a direct link.

After I stopped rolling around on the floor, the strip got me thinking and we all know how dangerous that is. But I get off-track.

Are names hard?
There are those magical times when characters names come right from the start. I love those times. There are also times when the name doesn’t quite fit. I don’t let that stop me from beginning the book, but I tend to keep changing the character’s name as I write, much to the dismay of my critique partners. At least one of my books was published even though I was never fully satisfied with the hero’s name. Somehow editors don’t think “the hero’s name isn’t right” is a good excuse to miss a deadline, Can you imagine?

Have you, like me, ever struggled with a character’s name? I mean, why can’t we always come up with cool names like, say, Scarlett O’Hara or Rhett Butler or even Hannibal Lector. These names are genius. They stick in the mind and evoke a picture of the character even before they’d been described.

I want all my names to be like that and wonder if some of you might not have your own favorite names that remain the standard you try to reach with all your characters’ names. I’m also wonder if other writers are as enthralled with comic strip as I am. And I really am. Between the strips and the Carolyn Hax column, well, I’d probably cancel my subscription to the morning paper. If you are, well here’s a Go Comics link that will lead you to all your favorites. The search engine is very picky about spelling but it’s a fun site and eventually you’ll find almost every strip out there. Unless, of course, you're still a fan of Mary Worth and Judge Parker.

Author Appearance
And, FYI, the Pearls Before Swine artist Stephan Pastis will be in Tempe on at 7pm on October 20, autographing at Changing Hands Bookstore.

Before I end this month’s Therapy blog, I’d like to mention my revised website. Although most of you know that I’m a published writer, I think I’m better know as a teacher at Bootcamp for Novelists Online and I wanted to remind everyone that I am still actively writing and have been busy reissuing my backlist of titles. Several are currently in e-book format and you can reach my Amazon offerings through my Connie Flynn website.

Ciao until next month,
Connie Flynn

1 comment:

Linda Andrews said...

Thanks for sharing the comic strip. I love it. Good luck on the books.