Marnie Deegan – Character Extraordinaire!Posted: September 6, 2011
I’m a big believer in names. There is strength in a name. Sometimes weakness. And sometimes we give attributes to people just judging them by their names. Before I get into my favorite character’s name, I would like to illustrate the point to show why this character’s name is so special to me.
Brett Davis. What would someone with a name like Brett Davis be like? Athletic, favoring baseball and maybe NASCAR over other sports, loves pizza and fries and working on cars with his dad. The All-American type of guy that you can rely upon to be there when you need someone, especially if whether it’s to be there at the time help you when you need a hand or a shoulder to cry on when on. He would be strong and pride himself in his strength, maybe to a point where he is so afraid to show his weaknesses. He’s masculine and does not often show his sensitive side, unless it’s to someone he cares about.
Mortimer Abbernathey. Yes, I can see this poor child’s future. Loves math, science, and reading, but is quite the introvert, mainly because his peers don’t want anything to do with him unless they’re picking on him. Loafers with trouser socks and high-waters. A plaid shirt with a pocket protector. And a bookbag so full he has to slouch over just to balance himself!
Cheryl – Whether or not she has a last name, Cheryl is a very down-to-earth person. Even if she did have a last name, she’d tell you to just call her “Cheryl”. Someone that you would bring up in conversation quite a bit. “Me and Cheryl…Cheryl and me….Cheryl said…Just the other day, Cheryl told me ….” Cheryl would be a great character, and better yet, you would never have to even introduce her into the story personally, nor would she ever have to say a word to be the star of the story!
Burt Goldchester would definitely be a used car salesman. The moustache, the cheesy 1970s suit. The beat up 1970-something Pinto that he’s either driving or trying to sell you. And the fakest gold watch you’ve ever seen! (I know fakest isn’t a word, but there’s no other way to describe such a watch!)
When it comes to characters, there are some names that can depict a certain age. A certain disposition. A certain ethnicity. As a fun little game, jot down a few names and give them personality traits and see if you can visualize them as real people. It’s something that is quite helpful as a writer when naming your characters.
Jimmy would be a young child who wants to be called “Jim” as he gets older, but no one can break the habit! Gertrude would be a very stern person, possibly a teacher well past the age of retirement. Emily and Maggie would not be over the age of three, maybe four. And Salvatore would be an exotic dark-haired, dark-eyed hunk of a man!
A name can paint a picture. It tells us gender, ethnicity, age, and disposition. Imagine everyone you know, including yourself, being known by a different name. It’s equally as important as what we look like on the outside. I’m not saying we should judge people on how they look, but that’s what makes us all individually unique, and a name is an extention of who we are! I don’t think any other name would suit Dolly Parton. Marky Mark sounds so perfectly ’90s, and now that his image has matured, Mark Wahlberg is more suitable. Even though ‘The Fonz’ was a nickname, it’s hard to picture him as an “Arthur”; the only one who could get away with calling him that was Mrs. C! The list goes on!
And that is why I needed a very special name for my characters, especially the one character in particular. I know it might seem distasteful to consider my character’s name to be my favorite, especially since it’s not even published. It’s just that naming her, I felt, was as important to my story as the story itself.
I had thought about naming her Josh to give an interesting spin on a because I myself like boys’ names for girls. But it would have complicated things. “Josh was wearing a long black dress and a pretty black ribbon in her hair.” No, she couldn’t be a Josh. Then I thought of Starla, but that name sounds ever-so imaginary. It captured this outer essence of glamour and glitz. But it was too glammy for my character. And then I decided upon the perfect name:
Sounds so plain. So one-dimensional. Nothing special about it. It’s a name that might be easily overlooked. But Marnie is quite the opposite! And once you get to know her, you might find that she would never be “Marnie” by any other name. Sometimes a name gives us an idea of what someone might be like. But in this instance, she gives the name an identity.
Marnie Deegan is a freshman in high school. She’s gothic, dresses as if every day is Halloween, and happens to be a bit of a nerd. All of those things cause her to be targeted by bullies. She is condemned because she’s different. She’s a bit of a goody-two-shoes in some aspects. Teacher’s pet. She makes good grades. And she suffers because of it.
There are times when someone says something hurtful to Marnie, bringing her to the brink of tears. And there are times when she puts them in their place, rendering them speechless!
Marnie is not shy and usually speaks her mind, spouting sassy, yet quirky, good-natured remarks. Even though she seems so confident, so put-together, in her mind she wishes she could be more than what she is. She is merely content with herself and has yet to be happy with who she is. She’s the daughter every parent would love to have. She is a loyal and true friend. She’s there when someone needs her. She’s extremely bright, funny, pretty, and all of the things she wants to be. She just has to realize it for herself.
In Marnie’s spare time, she loves to hang out with her two best friends, watch scary movies, and read books about the supernatural. But Marnie rarely has spare time since she started high school. Especially since she and her friends serendipitously gained the responsibility of keeping the streets of their sleepy little town monster-free!