By Richard Jay Parker
I'm coming to the end of work on stand alone thriller 2 this week and as I start to hone the little details of the story it strikes me how much stories have to be convincing but not often based in absolute reality.
When choosing names for characters, for instance, it doesn't have much to do with what we'd encounter in real life. Our main character usually has a name that is the product of many different considerations - one that sits easily with the subject matter, that rolls easily round the tongue and brain and that doesn't scag the eye within the text.
If I was trying to create an evil, serial killing character I probably wouldn't call him Melvin. Although there was a necrophiliac serial killer with this name who was executed in 1961.
This isn't true of all protagonists, of course, but most books have to go against the grain of the odds in reality. For example, if you put a lot of people together there would be a very good chance that some of them would share the same first name. I've only ever read one book where this was the case and I found it absolutely exasperating.
As a writer I think we all choose interesting names and places that are not only good on the eye and echo agreeably in the mind but that all slot together in the reality we've created for our story.
It's a personal consideration and I think it's intriguing to anlayse why one name will fit within our work and another one won't. Only we can judge it.
At this point of editing I'm changing some places, fictional organisations, clothing descriptions and even colours. None of them contradict what I'd find outside my own front door and often I can't identify why I feel they don't work. I only know that they grate within the story.
There's no right or wrong - just a gut instinct that something isn't quite right.
So now I'm back to it. Will I finish today? No way, Jose. Or should that be 'No way, Pedro?'
More about Richard's work at: http://www.richardjayparker.com/