What’s in a name – WIPpet Wednesday

Before I get to today’s snippet, I have some other related news. I’ve decided to take part in A round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80) when the next round begins on the 6 October. I’ve also volunteered to be a sponsor, so I’m really looking forward to the opportunity.

Right, onto WIPpet Wednesday. For my snippet this week I added up the digits in today’s date and came up with 24 sentences. I’ve used the female protagonist this time, and it’s actually from the introduction – something I’ve been struggling with for a while. I’m not sure I like the first person POV for Brooke. I’m not even sure I like the name! She was originally Audrey, and that’s who she is in my head. I had to change it because it’s the name of my grandmother and for reasons that are too long and complicated to go into, *sigh of relief from my readers* this seemed inappropriate. The story works best when told from two different perspectives, given they’re from two different worlds, so changing the POV has only added to the complications.

Anyway, let’s get on with it, before you lose the will to live…or certainly to read 🙂

When some people learn the origins of their birth, information that changes the course of their future and makes sense of their past, it fortifies them. It suddenly makes perfect sense, the fact they don’t belong. There’s a reason they feel disconnected.

That’s not how it was for me. I’ve never felt like an outsider, never wondered why I didn’t fit in. I assimilate to whatever environment I’m in, and I assimilate quickly.

I feel a connection to people on a fundamental level, a level that cuts through societal rules or restrictions. My unpredictability, my direct approach has always been met by acceptance, and for that I’m grateful. Without it I would have been lost in a sea of names and faces.

Until the day I discovered our family secret, I hadn’t stayed in one town for more than six months. Not because my parents were part of the military or had gypsy blood. It wasn’t as simple as that.

They lived in a constant state of fear, and having spent my life running from an unknown enemy, I thought I was ready to learn the truth. That was until I looked into my father’s face on the monitor in front of me, and I was no longer sure of anything.

With an unsteady hand I hit play on the remote and felt a familiar ache spread across my chest. It had been three days since my father’s death. Seeing this reminder of him so soon was almost too much to bear.

My darling, Brooke. If youre watching this, it means weve been compromised, and you dont have much time.

I wish with all of my heart I could protect you. Believe me when I say, if my keeping you safe has failed, and youre watching this now, Im truly sorry for what you are about to face.

As I watched my father struggling for breath, I felt anger bubble to the surface. The disease had taken so much from him, from all of us. It was hard to believe this was the same man who trained me relentlessly for hours, preparing me for a future only he could see.

So that’s it. I’ve set aside some time this weekend to finish the current draft so I can send it to my readers and maybe they can help me out!

Thanks, as always, for reading.


32 thoughts on “What’s in a name – WIPpet Wednesday

  1. www.ginabriganti.com says:

    Isn’t it interesting how we can struggle with a piece as you’ve mentioned here, and the person reading wouldn’t know if the struggle wasn’t mentioned? That’s how I felt about this piece of prologue. I found it to be compelling and well told. Of course, I can’t speak to the part about it not working with the other parts of the story because I don’t think I’ve read them, but it works great here.

    1. mbarkersimpson says:

      Thanks, Gina. I’m glad it worked in this instance. I really appreciate the feedback. I guess I’m just torn about changing it so close to my deadline, but once I figure out what isn’t sitting well, I’m sure it will work itself out 🙂 I value your support.

  2. shanjeniah says:

    I’m wondering if going deeper into the first person POV might settle it…for instance, your last paragraph:

    **As I watched my father struggling for breath, I felt anger bubble to the surface. The disease had taken so much from him, from all of us. It was hard to believe this was the same man who trained me relentlessly for hours, preparing me for a future only he could see.**

    Maybe she could feel her own chest tightening as her father fights to breathe, and that reminds her of a specific memory from her training…and then realize how much the disease has robbed them of…that would add some emotional impact and raise the stakes.

    As far as the name goes, could you try to figure out why Audrey appeals to you? Are there other names that evoke a similar feeling or impression? Maybe there’s something that doesn’t have the same complications as Audrey, but would be a better fit than Brooke…

    I’m excited for your ROW80 adventure! You really are embracing it – I find sponsoring challenges me in a wonderful way, and I meet so many amazing people that way!

    1. mbarkersimpson says:

      That’s an excellent idea. I’ll play around with it. Thanks for the advice 🙂

      I’ll ponder on the name too – try to spend a little time with her and see what I come up with!

      I’m looking forward to my ROW80 adventure too, and it’s thanks to you I decided to give it a shot 🙂

      1. shanjeniah says:

        I’m not only a sponsor, I’m a recruiter! =)

        I’m in the midst of revision work on two novels. I think it makes me a little more sensitive, maybe, to things I find a LOT in my own drafts…

        I could feel pretty lousy that I make so many missteps, or I could turn those slips into a tool, and offer it to others, too…

        And that actually gives those goofs some value! Glad they could help you!=D

  3. rachelalsowrites says:

    This was such a great excerpt, I really want to know what’s going to happen next!

    It will be great to have you on board for ROW80 next round, and I definitely look forwards to reading more of your work! 😀

  4. sirenarobinson says:

    I really want to know why she’s compromised and what it all means. As far as struggling, I completely understand your pain. I’ve gotten several chapters in before, decided I hated every word and started completely over. Once I changed my MCs names halfway through because I decided they didn’t fit. For a novel to work, all the pieces kinda have to fall into place and when the idea is there but the little bits and pieces aren’t working, it’s BEYOND frustrating. Good luck with it!

    1. mbarkersimpson says:

      Thanks for that, it makes me feel so much better to know people understand and sympathise. Hopefully, after this weekend, I’ll have a better idea which direction to take – I’m hoping for a breakthrough!

  5. Beth Camp says:

    Hello, Mel. Your snippet had me concerned about what Brooke faces next, that rising sense of paranoia (frequent moves, dad on the video with final message . . . if you’re reading this . . . ). So, here’s my two cents. If you’ve finished the first draft, then maybe it’s OK to rewrite the beginning. To play with what will hook the reader. But I read those sample pages of HANDS OF EVIL on Amazon (why don’t you have a direct link here?), and I trust your ability to sharpen the critical first few pages later. It sounds like you really want to play with first person for “Brooke” all the way through. Will you be closer to her? And I agree with others. Another name change may be in order for Brooke — Would her father see her as a fighter? Name her after a mythical hunter like Diana? I don’t know but have fun with your immersion weekend! I’m already looking forward to your next snippet. And welcome as a sponsor for ROW80. 🙂

    1. mbarkersimpson says:

      Hi Beth. Thank you so much for the support – I think you hit the nail on the head – I need to rewrite the beginning. I’ll let Diana settle in my head for a few days and try it out 🙂 I’m really looking forward to hashing it all out this weekend. Thanks too for the welcome. I’m excited about ROW80 and can’t wait to spend more time with so many wonderful people and the worlds they create 🙂

  6. ReGi McClain says:

    Oh, I like it! 🙂 Brilliant set-up. I love Brooke already. She’s my kind of gal. Her poor dad, though. When he says “compromised,” I kind of wonder if the disease that killed him might not be entirely organic. Maybe, but at this point it does give me some interesting ponderings to ponder. 🙂

  7. Amy says:

    Naming things–people, places, ANYTHING–is my worst nightmare. I struggle so much with that. It was easier with my first novel because the names had to fit certain criteria (which I can’t detail because oddly, it’s spoiler-y). But I’ve had some that I’ve had to change multiple times. And place names? Forget it–I ask my kids for ideas.

    As for the POV thing…I’m partial to 3rd person, but that’s personal preference. What feels like it’s missing is maybe that she’s telling us she feels connected to people and that she’s unpredictable, but I’m not sensing her own feelings much in that. It doesn’t make me less interested–I think this is intriguing and sucked me in. I’m only suggesting that if it seems “off” to you that might be why.

    1. mbarkersimpson says:

      It probably is. I think the problem started because I wrote the novel in third person and then changed it. What works in one style doesn’t work in the other so it isn’t surprising that I’m struggling! I’m totally with you on the name thing and have to ask my kids too 😉 Thanks so much for the advice and feedback.

  8. kathils says:

    I never cared for first person until I wrote in it. I love sinking my readers into my character’s skin and you can really do that with 1st person, so I’m with Shan on her comment. 🙂 Excellent WIPpet though. Good set -up that leaves many questions.

    1. mbarkersimpson says:

      Thanks so much, I’m glad you liked it 🙂 I’ve spent the weekend polishing the first chapter and am finally happy to move on! Hopefully when it’s in the beta reading stage I’ll get feedback about whether I’ve done enough. I’ve learnt a valuable lesson though, try not to change the POV when the book is already written!

      1. kathils says:

        Oh, I’m thinking that’s the worst time to change POVs! Whatever possessed you?

        I found one of the hardest things when I started was to remain in 1st person. I’d slip into 3rd occasionally, but thankfully caught all those instances before sending it to readers.

      2. mbarkersimpson says:

        I have absolutely no idea! I’m not even convinced it makes the book better! But I’ll wait to get the feedback and then cry if it doesn’t work (I’m only half joking).

        I usually write in 3rd person, unless it’s a short story. So I can completely relate to slipping. In the parts I’ve added or edited, I keep reverting back to my comfort zone too!

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