The wrimo topic is “How do you choose character names?” The WIPAesthetic tag is for the visuals you use to create character and/or setting.
My work in progress is a romance novella featuring two bisexual young women characters: Erin (blonde) and Rosa (brunette). I made the sample cover art (left) to get a feel for their appearance.
Both character names came about from a desire to bring together two very different worlds in two people who aren’t all that different in what they want from love and from life.
Rosa Martinez is a Hispanic-American bisexual young woman who grew up near a suburb near Boston, Massachusetts. Erin is a lifeguard on the beach where Rosa’s family has decided to vacation for the summer. Erin and Rosa both have their plans set: college for medical training. Rosa is preparing to go all the way through med school, starting at a big university in the fall. Erin is looking into nursing once she completes certification as an EMT and then paramedic at the local state college. Rosa has her family’s money to rely on; Erin’s working her way through school. Erin’s living on her own; Rosa has yet to spread her wings.
The contrasting character bios are carried through in their physical appearance, one light, one dark. One a soft butch and the other feminine. However, they are alike in many ways as well. They both know their own minds, prefer to make careful decisions, and are willing to pull people out of dangerous or reckless decision-making. This is exactly how they meet. Rosa has accompanied her cousin to a bar where her cousin makes the move to get picked up by a random guy for a one-night stand. The guy she picks happens to be Erin’s friend and co-worker. My two main characters intervene to head off trouble.
Here’s how well that works:
Glancing toward the floor under Rosa’s table Erin saw slip-on open-toed heels that matched Rosa’s skin tone. The whole thing said, “Casually elegant,” a serious piece of upper class.
“Yo, mamacitas!” Bobby’s greeting made Erin roll her eyes. Yeah, okay, it was clear both women were Hispanic, but this definitely sounded both sexist and racist.
“Shut the fuck up, Bobby.” Eric grabbed his shoulder, dragging him back a step mostly because she caught him off guard. He had almost half a foot and at least 80 pounds on her. Stepping around him, she quickly apologized. “He’s an ass, I’m sorry.”
Rosa’s companion laughed and shook her head. “Nah. Hey, stud, you wanna chat?”
Bobby’s eyes lit up; he hadn’t expected his come-on to work so quickly or so well. Erin stepped in front of him again, grabbing both shoulders. “Don’t be a dick.”
“That’s exactly what I’d like,” Rosa’s friend said. “Have a seat.” The chair next to her screeched on the parquet as she pulled it out.
“Mal, don’t be stupid. We don’t know these people,” Rosa snapped.
“My gal Erin here says you were on the beach this morning,” Bobby replied, grabbing Erin’s shoulder and dragging her forward. Erin planted her hands on the table to keep from falling into Rosa, the closer of the two women.
“Hi,” Erin said meekly.
Bobby helped himself to the chair Mal had pulled out for him. “What’re you drinking?” Mal asked him.
“Duffy’s.” Bobby, after all, was old enough to drink. He took a long drink and then put his glass on the table. “You want one? I’ll buy.”
“Let me just see if I like it.” Mal reached across the space, grabbed Bobby’s chin, wrestled his face to hers and laid a tongue-filled suck on his face.
Erin stood up. “Shit!”
“I like it,” Mal said, finally breaking off her exploration of Bobby’s tonsils. He sat half slumped in the chair, looking like the kiss had magicked away his brain.
Rosa buried her face in her hands. “No puedo llevarte a ninguna parte.”
The tone was enough for Erin to grasp that Rosa was annoyed and embarrassed. Mal’s response confirmed it. “I am just a woman living life.”
“Well, go live it somewhere else for a little while.” Rosa stormed to her feet and ran out the door of the bar.
Erin blinked as the light from outside momentarily messed up her vision. “Shit!” But a glance toward Mal and Bobby who had sunk back into heated kissing made her decide to go after Rosa. If only to make sure neither of them was wandering without a ride in what for the other woman was a very unfamiliar town.
Outside the bar, Erin shaded her eyes from the setting sun and scanned for Rosa. Finally she spotted the brunette sitting, hunched with her arms around her knees, on top of the hood of a sedan. “You shouldn’t mark up a rental with your heels,” she said.
The brunette startled and comically quickly lifted her feet, sliding off the hood. She stumbled on the gravel parking lot.
“Sorry I startled you.”
“How’d you know it was a rental car?” Rosa leaned close over the hood and started rubbing the pad of her thumb on a spot on the surface. She huffed and rubbed harder.
“I knew you weren’t from around here.” Erin stepped forward and looked at the surface herself. With a thumb she buffed at a mark.
Rosa looked up as if seeing Erin for the first time. She stood up and brushed at her clothes. “It is you. From the beach. What are you doing here?”
“I was in the bar when you and your… friend came in.”
“She’s my cousin, not my friend, and I can’t believe she’s practically fucking that man on the table after two words.”
“Was she already drunk when you came in?”
“No, she’s not drunk. That’s just her normal mode — unhindered by polite social norms.”
“Bobby’s an adult. I take it your cousin is too?”
Anyway, so that’s the work in progress for today. I’m looking to finish the draft by June. Follow this blog to be alarted when it becomes available.