It’s odd to me how what seem like little things in my writing efforts can actually be very big things.
I’ve mentioned here once or twice about what goes into my efforts at naming the characters for the stories I write. (Look here or here if you’re interested.) By and large, the names I give my characters are not crucial for understanding the story — except for two very important names in Finnegans Deciphered, which I”m still working on. (And I suppose for all of the characters in The Sleep of Reason, since I renamed every single one as the story progressed.) When I give a character a name with a specific referent, it’s usually done as a bit of playfulness or to keep me clued in on some aspect of the character’s nature. The reader may or may not catch the point, but understanding the story isn’t dependent upon it. (The name of Professor Hunter in my story “Moron Saturday” seems like a giveaway though.)
I had a “playfulness epiphany” the other day about the characters’ names for Finnegans Deciphered. I don’t want to divulge anything specific, but it is something I’d held in reserve for some future story yet to be imagined, and it has to do with the setting. Why not, I realized, use this name/setting business in the novel I’m writing, which happens to be in that same setting? It has absolutely nothing to do with the meaning of the story and is really more of a meta feature than a story feature. Any reader who did catch the references would see that this playfulness was not about the tale but about the telling.
I realize I’m being cryptic, and maybe my little bit of craftiness is not even worthy of such oblique discussion, but my point is that it has further invigorated my motivation to write the story. It seems like a very small thing, and yet is has given me a big step forward in my work. I’ll take my motivation however it comes.