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How to Write Fiction

5) Mechanics

3) Name

Author: Nathaniel Slattery
Posted: Month of the Holy Name, 6th Day, Epiphany, Year of Our Lord 2024

I have broken a larger essay into portions.

Name is a funny one. There is no doubt that God values a name most particularly and makes them very significant even for every average person, and I think even for fictional characters. We read in Genesis how He brought the animals to Adam to see what he would name them. There are also numerous occasions of angels providing the names of holy people. If you look at three eminent ones, there ought to be significance in each.

Above all other names is that Holy Name of Jesus. This is very interesting, because God indicated many names and titles before the Incarnation, such as Emmanuel, Christ, Messiah, Lord, etcetera, and these all apply. But the most proper name, Jesus, was given by an angel to our Lady. It means Savior, which signifies charity and hope. But it is also in some respects a more common name, the same as the successor to Moses, now called Joshua. This is the humility and obscurity of our Lord.

The same can be seen with John the Baptist, whose naming was even more dramatic and even more common. So much so that how many Saints John are there? But this is the most eminent and holy saint after Joseph, the forerunner of our Lord, whom He honors above all men with His Own Divine Tongue.

And this, of course, brings us to our Lady. I am beyond comprehension to offer an explanation for Her Name. What is more common? In Scripture, I can only see the sister of Moses, who was an example of a rebellious sinner and then penitent, if I recall. And even at the Cross there are three or four of this same Name. One family had three, and our Lady’s Own sister shared it.

And so, through this, and my own experience with naming, I recommend using common, simple names, easily overlooked. Early on, when I put a lot of time and effort into coming up with names, they usually were worthless and needed to be changed. The more important the character, the more common the name ought to be. Save the odd ones for your rare characters. In this way, you might imitate God.

Thus for names, next is number, time, and location

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