Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sweet Revenge

The other day I got sassed by a Walmart employee wearing a name tag, and I immediately thought two things:

1)      What is this, Miami all over again? 
2)      I am going to name a character after you, and he’s going to be stupid and have body odor issues.  And you will never know it because you probably don’t even know how to read, you cranky jerk you, but I’ll know it, and I’ll smile every time I think about the fact that I’ve slandered your name in my own petty and permanent way.
So after thinking for a while about how awesome that was going to be, I started imagining how I could expand that concept to punish everyone who has ever annoyed me.  Like that kid in junior high who teased me for being a goody-goody and then ended up in juvie for stealing a car in eleventh grade—I’m changing one of the names in my WIP to his name.  Yeah!  How ya like them apples, Paul?

Just to clarify, I’m not obsessed with revenge across the board, I just really enjoy naming characters.  It’s like naming babies, but better because I don’t have to convince my husband of anything, or try to figure out how the other kids are going to twist it to mock them.  Sometimes I switch up the names several times during the writing of a story, just for fun.  I look at nationality, age and popularity, meaning, all sorts of stuff, but often it just comes down getting to use one of the names I wanted for my children but got veto-ed.   I have a long list of those.  It’s not because my husband is picky, but because I like old lady names.  I’ll admit it.  I’m not ashamed.  And should I ever have another girl, she just might be Penelope, or Josephine, or Georgianna, if I can convince him that his opinion doesn’t actually matter. 

Right now I’ve got a very likable character with the same name as one of my nieces.   I may end up changing it, but for now it’s a little “thank you” to her parents who helped me out with my research for the story.   I asked my brother and sister-in-law for some experiences from their childhoods (the aforementioned Paul was right, I was a goody-goody so I’ve got nothing but lameness to draw on), and they provided me with pure gold—long lists of their delinquent teenage activity.  I don’t know if I can even believe half the stuff, but it's very entertaining.  Based on my niece’s gene pool, it’s kind of miraculous she isn’t building a pipe bomb in the basement right now, but she’s only eighteen months old.

Anyway, the moral of this story is don’t cross me people.  And if you buy me something really nice for Christmas you just might end up a main character.
On a less psychotic note, my agent, Mandy Hubbard, has some VIRTUOSITY stuff up on her blog!   She shows the query I sent her, then the pitch she sent out to publishers, and finally what's being printed on the book jacket. 

Parting thought:  See the “follow” button to the right?  When I originally set up the blog I took that off thinking now why would I want to advertise the fact that nobody actually reads this blog?  I have since had it explained that people "follow" blogs so they get email updates when I post (I know, I’m an idiot for not knowing this.)  Anyway, I just want you all to know that it freaks me right out, having it up there.  And if the number never climbs out of  the single digits, I'm going to be indiscriminately hating everyone I know.  That's all.


  1. I'm trying to come up with a good, no great christmas gift. Its got to be good because I don't want to end up being a villan or some loser character because I got you something like a toaster. :)Not that I have an interesting name or anything - its about as boring as they come, maybe if I make the cut you could use one of my kids names instead.

  2. Jenny is a great name. That is all.

  3. The trouble with "Wendy" is that since Peter Pan, nobody has used it or for that matter, wants to. (Except for Hamburger joints that is). I'm thinking it would take more than a Christmas gift, more like a car to get me in as a main character. On the other hand, I've probably ticked you off enough that I should just keep reading and I might see myself surface as a villain. There's more than one route to fame!

  4. All the Jen/Jenny/Jennifers in my life (and there are many) should think about pooling their resources and buying my love as a unified block. Just think about it, ladies.

    I could make a similar offer to my three Amys

    And Mom, aka Wendie, in case you didn't know, you're already the villain in my first book. JUST KIDDING!!! No really, I'm just kidding.

  5. I originally set up the blog I took that off thinking now why would I want to advertise the fact that nobody actually reads this blog?

    Omg, I thought the same thing. I'm STILL thinking it. My LJ has a decent following, but my blog has THREE followers. Eeeek! I really don't know if I can admit that by displaying the "follow" gadget. *sobs*

    I like your version of revenge, btw. :)

  6. Thanks Sonya! Okay I just attempted to follow your blog, but without the little button I don't even know if I did it right (subscribe to feed at the bottom?) so if you have one more follower--I'm her! And if you don't, I'm an idiot.

  7. Ah, Jessica! Thanks. I guess it didn't work, so I went ahead and added the gadget. How embarrassing! Would be tickled if you tried again. :)

  8. Jessica,

    glad to know you liked the name of our child enough to use it in a book! I sort of felt a little smug reading your post knowing that it was us you were talking about... until you described how deliquent we (Dave) were. Charlotte is not making pipe bombs but has becoming equally explosive in the tantrum department. No one sees it really since she saves them mostly for me. The name that I like that I can never use - Lydia.

  9. Jessica, I'm Barbara's sister Mary--the attempting to write a book sister. She's so excited about your book and has sent me links to both your blog and your agents and I can't tell you how helpful both have been. Amazing query letter--seriously brilliant. What I like the best is that it's so warm and interesting. I've been reading tons of "good" examples and they're all so boring! Ick. So thank you thank you thank you. Also, I think you SHOULD run St. George (if you can get in!) and by the looks of you--you'll so qualify for Boston. Good luck with everything and I can't wait to read your book!

  10. Jen, I like the name Lydia too! But I agree, Lydia Low might be a bit much. It sounds kind of like vocal warm-up syllables to me.

    Mary, thanks so much! Actually, that query letter was my second attempt. After sending one out to about ten agents and getting ignored/rejected I realized that my query was totally inadequate. I rewrote it completely then sent it to Mandy, and that was it.

    Good luck with your writing! Mandy's website has excellent stuff for writers, doesn't it? There's so much to learn about the business, it can be a bit overwhelming. Feel free to email me anytime (but I'm definitely a newbie myself.) Barbara is the best, by the way, but you probably already know that!

  11. I just made it 20 followers. That's way out of the double digit zone- Congratulations :) And I think that Delilah needs a revival as a name. There should be more Delilah's in YA Lit.
    P.s Virtuosity sounds great. Best of luck with it!

  12. Oooh, I kind of like Delilah. And thanks for being number 20!