Tool 15 ~ Pay attention to names.

” . . . Rip Van Winkle, Hester Prynne, Babe Ruth, Sherbet Suckers, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan . . .  ”

This section, called Special Effects (Tools 11-23), intrigues me. Mr. Clark comes up with the most off-the-wall tools. I don’t think I’ve read of them before, at least not in any English manual I’ve stumbled across. Perhaps it is because I don’t like reading English manuals. Maybe if I would expand my horizons . . .

“Interesting names attract the writer–and the reader.”

But with all seriousness, did your high school teacher ever give you an English lesson on “Interesting names?” I don’t think mine did, but that is probably because I came up with enough interesting names all by myself, like Cordelia, Mrs. Frumpletoast, Silvania Cockleburst . . .

However, I cannot be too hard on Mr. Clark, for he clarifies himself rather quickly, “A fondness for interesting names is not a tool, strictly speaking, but a condition, a sweet literary addiction” (76).

That’s comforting. Instead of being skilled in Tool 15, I am addicted to interesting names. Hmmm.

“What’s in a name?” Clark asks: “insight, charm, aura, character . . . decorum, indiscretion, and possession. For in some cultures, if I know your name and can speak it, I own your soul” (78).

So the names march on.

” . . . Huckleberry Finn; Scarlett O’Hara; Kissimmee, Florida; Marilyn Monroe . . . “


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