A magical quality to names: Writer’s Quote Wednesday

Greene quote

There is a magical quality in names – to change the name is to change the character
Graham Greene 1904 – 1991

I like playing with names and have renamed myself a few times in my life – the first time when being fed up with the abbreviation of my name – it was my middle name (which I had not chosen, an unfairness I have forever felt:) I declared I was going to use a different variation of the name and would not answer to anything else. It took a while but in the end the family largely complied. My grandmothers couldn’t bring themselves too.

Well I let them off:)

When I travelled around the world I would often develop a new name or gather nicknames – I gloried in most of them. I was a different person in each place I travelled to, so why not have a new name? Names should be flexible, if one changes style, character etc, in my opinion anyway.

I am just as arbitrary with dates as well, you don’t like the month you were born into – too hot,too cold, change it to a month you would be happy to celebrate in. Festivities can be held at a different time if circumstances dictate, I have had Christmas in July and Febuary.

Multiple names though do make any card list a problem; I have to remember what name to sign each card with. A minor problem. Some friends have not made all the transitions and officialdom still calls me by my first name which I have never been called, not even by the family.

It’s fun:)

However names for my books have given me a constant headache since I began writing seriously. Names are a problem and I read that many authors have the same difficulty naming a cast of characters.

I am told, naming your children can be a minefield if one wishes to honour members of the family, or one has a fancy idea and the other hates it. Well multiply that by a cast of dozens.

The more people one has met in life and made judgements on the more names are rejected. One doesn’t want friends to walk away if you use their name for a character they don’t like, neither do you want to use a name of that skinny child in primary school who pulled your plaits.

This particular name may be in fashion now but in a few years time it will date the work, that name might be pretty, cute, sexy or whatever but it was the name of that liar, the creep, the hurtful, so the list of discards grow.

The names are important.

Sometimes a few of the characters still don’t have a name until the book is finished, I have to wait until I know what character the person has. It has to be a name which fits into the family, community. There is no background at the beginning to graft the name onto.

However occasionally there is no problem, the name just pops into my head. Ellen and Bix came so naturally they could never have been anything else.

I have another problem outstanding; in the present book I am writing, I have three characters beginning with ‘K.’ I like all the names equally but, one has to be changed. Two have appeared already in previous books; the trouble though, I know this third  character well, he is the name. How can I find another which will suit all the thousands of words already written about him?

Green was correct, change the name and you change the character,

A problem:)

This quote is part of Silver Threading’s  Writer’s Quote series. Writer’s who have helped inspire my writing and my life. Pop over and follow other quotes there are many inspiring posts


Another Man’s Comma :Writer’s Quote Wednesday









My childhood was full of good advice and was surrounded by books from all ages with a free pass to read whatever I wished. Great childhood. It might seem that I took all advice on aboard as a dutiful daughter should. I didn’t. I did listen to those like my Gran’s and parents because, in modern parlance, they were quite cool. I looked up to them and accepted that in most things they knew more than I did.

However, with that free pass to books I also found my own authors and my own quotes, took my own decisions. Not always with their approval!

I am bad at English, at grammar, spelling and punctuation. I have discovered (after retirement) that a great deal of it all is due to Dyspraxia which no-one knew I had all those decades ago but that’s by the by – I struggled, drowning in a chaos of confusion and extra tuition.

Iron rules will not answer. . . what is one man’s colon is another man’s comma    Mark Twain

Mark Twain came to my rescue, much to Dad’s dislike. Mark Twain (along with Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland) helped to undermine his patient teaching. He admired them both, as did the grandparents. Dad told me I was being selective, I was old enough by then to point out so was he and not get frowned at.

We agreed to disagree.

It didn’t stop him trying to get the rules into my head, and when later my writing was in the hands of my friend from forever/editor she faced the same struggle. I think I may have improved, I hope I have, in the meantime I have Mark Twain who understands:)

This quote is part of Silver Threading’s  Writer’s Quote series. Writer’s who have helped inspire my writing and my life. Pop over and follow other quotes there are many inspiring posts


Why the Reading Snobbery:Writer’s Quote Wednesday

In debates about the value of reading and books I have often had discussions, even arguments about the subject of the choice of reading matter. The argument against me runs something like this

Some books have more value than others.

Some writing is superior to others.
Classics are better than pot boilers.
Books are better than comics.
If one is going to read it should be a worthy book.

These are not discussions about those books which incite hatred or evil deeds. Nor about those text books which knowingly feed the reader false or even dangerous information. And books which come under censorship is a whole different discussion. These are discussions about reading for pleasure,for escapism.

Now there are many books I dislike, wouldn’t give house room to or do nothing for me. This is not because they are bad books but because I personally don’t care for them.

S0, why is it considered ‘good’ reading to tuck oneself up with a classic but people are made to feel slightly apologetic to do the same with a bodice ripper romance.

Why should one genre be deemed superior to another.

Why the reading snobbery?

It is good to read – in my opinion. The skill of reading enables people to navigate this literate world more easily.

It is good to read for escapism or pleasure if one wishes too. The written word can open up horizons, show alternative worlds and lifestyle. Can inform and entertain. One need never be alone if one can read. However, it is the act of reading which is good.

I am not renowned for my fashion sense, never have been – well maybe I tried back in the 60s! I dress in whatever I feel comfortable with. I extend that to life in general and so tend to read whatever I feel comfortable with, I do have a fairly catholic taste so it’s a  very  wide comfort net – occasionally I will embark on a reading challenge that leads me away from that comfort, just to ‘challenge’ me, or in the book groups I belong to I will be required to read books that I don’t normally read, and have discovered new authors and genres to add to my preferences.But this is me, I’m a bookworm an addict if you like. Others like my sister has a genre or two  at most which they feel most comfortable with, that is her.  we both gain immense enjoyment  from our different tastes.

I have read so many different types and styles of books since I first spelt out words on a Cornflake packet. Many are forgotten but more have enriched my life in some way or other.

When children learn to read the sense of magic is all around, squiggles on paper have meanings.

Adults can guide and encourage of course; but if the children are comfortable pouring over a comic what is wrong? the words are there, they are enjoying and learning at the same time.

If as they grow older they only want spies or romance, what is wrong?
If they only want erudite and mostly incomprehensible tombs (to many of us anyway) what is wrong?
Why should any of us have to read what we dislike. Schools and colleges are a different matter sometimes if we wish to learn we need to read away from our blanky:)

We should not judge others by what we read, we should applaud the fact that we can read, have access to a wider world, have a chance to live out our hopes, dreams, terrors and fears within the safety of those pages.

Each to their own.

sam johnson

This quote is part of Silver Threading’s  Writer’s Quote series. Writer’s who have helped inspire my writing.

To write one must engage with the world around. Imagination is not the everything, imagination needs feeding with experience and observation. Life is what feeds writers.