Tuesday, June 18, 2013

What's in a Name? A Call for Help

I have been calling my book Shirley’s Cuppa Joe, named after the coffee shop. My main character is Sonja. Shirley also has a story to tell. My critique group informed me I should never have my main characters names begin with the same letter. So do I change Shirley’s name or Sonja’s name?

What's in a Name?
If I change Shirley’s name, it changes the name of the character, coffee shop, and book. That’s not a problem. And although Shirley has had her name longer than Sonja, I am still not bound to it.

?? Cuppa Joe
Changing Sonja’s name isn’t problematic for me either. She had a few different names in the drafting stages of my story line. I chose her name though because of its Scandinavian and Eastern European flavor. Wisconsin boasts a large number of Scandinavian and Eastern European citizens. Particularly Polish. (Hey I did my research!)

So I think I may change Shirley’s name. I looked up the era in which she would have been born and scanned the most popular names. I prefer two syllables, no /s/ at the beginning, no /a/ at the end and something soft and loving, yet fun and maybe bit adventurous. Here are a few ideas. I’ll try them out with the store name, too. Let me know what you think.

Dottie              Dottie’s Cuppa Joe
Lucy                Lucy’s Cuppa Joe
Livvie              Livvie’s Cuppa Joe
Arlene             Arlene’s Cuppa Joe
Elaine              Elaine’s Cuppa Joe
Evelyn             Evelyn’s Cuppa Joe (I know it has three syllables, but I like the name)
Helen               Helen’s Cuppa Joe
Bessie              Bessie’s Cuppa Joe
Betty                Betty’s Cuppa joe

I found this picture on the internet. It reminds me of Shirley and Joe, back when she was still Shirley. I thought it might help you give her a name.

Win a Gift Card
Well there you have it. Send me your vote or another suggestion via comment or email (rwaters.author@gmail.com ) I will put your name in for a drawing. The winner will receive a $5 Starbucks gift card. Don't call it a bribe...Call it an incentive! I really need your input. Be sure to leave me your email address so if you win I can contact you. I will make my decision about the name by next week.

An Update
I heard from my publisher yesterday. My first novel, Breathing on Her Own is scheduled to be released in March 2014. It is a process. My manuscript is with an editor right now. I will be happy to take you through this journey with me. What do you think? Are you game?


  1. Since someone asked, the drawing will end on Tuesday, June 25. I will put all entries in a hat and draw out a winner whether I choose to use the name you proposed or not.

  2. I like Helen's Cuppa Jo.


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