On Writing & Storytelling: What’s in a Name, You Ask?

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“Writing is like sex. First you do it for love, then you do it for your friends, and then you do it for money.” Virginia Woolf

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It’s almost noon on Tuesday, March 21, 2023 – the second day of traditional (or astronomical) spring and the 21st since the start of meteorological spring – and I’m still sleepy and fatigued. Apparently, I woke unnecessarily early – at 5:45 AM, if you can dig it – and couldn’t go back to sleep, so…yep. Of course, I’m tired, grumpy, and even a bit headachy.

Getting Things Ready for the Next Story  – First Steps

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Even though I’m not at the point in the creative process where I can say, “Eureka! Inspiration has struck!” and pound away at the keyboard till a new story is on the page (or PC monitor if you want to be a stickler for accuracy), fully formed and ready to be unleashed upon an unsuspecting world, I have made some progress on that front.

“We named the bar The Bar. “People will think we’re ironic instead of creatively bankrupt,” my sister reasoned.

Yes, we thought we were being clever New Yorkers – that the name was a joke no one else would really get, like we did. Not meta-get … But our first customer, a gray-haired woman in bifocals and a pink jogging suit, said, “I like the name. Like in Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Audrey Hepburn’s cat was named Cat.” – Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

First, I’ve chosen the name for the fictional bar where at least part of the next story will be set.

As you know, yesterday I created a poll in which I asked readers to choose from the following options:

  • The Moonglow Bar
  • The Little Brown Jug
  • Serenade in Booze
  • Tuxedo Junction
  • The Boogie-Woogie Club

All these names are, of course, derived from popular song titles from the Big Band era. Most of them are associated with Glenn Miller and His Orchestra (my favorite band/bandleader team of the 1930s-1940s), the big exception being Moonglow, which was recorded by both Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman, contemporaries, and competitors with Glenn Miller.

Apparently, of the 12 readers who voted in the poll, Moonglow is either a favorite song from the Forties or they just like the name, because seven votes went to The Moonglow Bar.

The runner-up, The Boogie-Woogie Club, received five votes, while the other three got none. (I assumed that at least Serenade in Booze would get at least a “Ha-ha, that’s amusing” sympathy vote. Alas, it did not.)

I was leaning toward The Moonglow Bar even before I decided to put it to the public in a poll, but the 58.33% vote clinches it.

So, The Moonglow Bar it is.

Name That Character

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Choosing names for fictional characters is still something “new” to me, especially when it comes to female characters. Sometimes I give tips of the hat to people I hold in high esteem by naming a character in a script or prose story after them – usually altering the name to “protect the innocent.”  These homages, though, are few and far between; I prefer to create original names.

“It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.”W.C. Fields

Okay, so for this new story, I already have the male protagonist’s name chosen, so that’s not a major concern at the moment.

The female protagonist? That’s my major question right now with this story.

That’s not to say that I don’t have any ideas on what name to give this person. I have three potential names in mind, but since I need just one for this character, and since I’m having a difficult time choosing it, I’m going to put up a new poll and see which name has more “reader appeal.”

Of course, the final decision will be mine, but I will take the votes into consideration (especially if you leave a comment in the Comments section explaining why you chose that name).


Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

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