When members of the Point Pleasant Writers Guild met recently, they reviewed the possible origin and meaning of their names, a follow-up exercise from their lesson on naming characters for their stories.
Bob Watterson reported that his family has six generations of relatives with the name of James. His mother’s name was Dorothy Shiflet, which has German-Norwegian origins. Her father Mark was named for his grandfather Marcus deLayfette, a preacher who performed many marriages on the old Silver Bridge and on the old Mason County Courthouse steps. Mark’s father was Lemuel Shiflet, once the Mayor of Point Pleasant. Lemuel means “devoted to God.”
Patrecia Naomi Gray was named after an evangelist known by her parents. There are no other women named “Patrecia” in her family. Her middle name is from the Old Testament Book of Ruth and means “my pleasantness.” Gray’s maternal grandmother was named Murmel after one of the family’s Native American ancestors.
Coincidentally, Marilyn Jane Clarke’s first name is derived from the Biblical name “Mara” which means “bitter.” It is the name that Naomi, from the Book of Ruth, gave herself after losing her husband and two sons. “Marilyn” could also be from the Hebrew name, “Miryam” or “Miriam.” Mara became “Maria” in Latin and Greek, “Marie” in French, and “Mary” in English. Her middle name means “God is gracious” and is the female version of John.
Carol Ann Newberry’s first name evolved from Latin, Greek, French, and Middle English. Initially, “carole” was a choral song accompanied by a reed instrument. Her middle name means “joyous” and is from the Biblical name “Hannah” which means “favor” or “grace.” Her great-grandmother, an aunt, and a beloved sister shared the name “Barbara.”
April Colean Pyles was named for her mother’s best friend named April, a fellow waitress during WWII. Her mother created her middle name from Colleen, which means “an Irish girl.” Many of Pyles’ family names include James and Robert.
Pyles presented the lesson from Sandy Tritt’s “Writers’ Workbook” on how to have characters in a story express their emotions without naming the emotion itself.
For example, citing the emotion of anger, never write, “He stormed angrily out the door.”
Tritt reminds us that this is a form of telling, not showing.
A better way to demonstrate the character’s anger might be, “Marla cringed when she heard the door slam behind Charles as he rushed out of the house.”
The reader understands the emotion that Charles is feeling, and they care what is happening between him and Marla. Their interest in the story deepens as they continue to read in order to find out how this situation resolves itself. As a writing assignment, guild members were asked to choose an emotion and list various ways to express it without naming it. Then, they are to formulate sentences using one of these ways until they have created the best example of showing that specific emotion, not just telling.
The lessons for the next meeting will be shared by Pyles on how the setting of a story interweaves with both the character and the plot, and how adding body language and action brings meaning to the dialogue.
In addition to the members mentioned above, those attending the meeting included Carol’s daughter and two granddaughters, Natalia and Anna Belle.
The Point Pleasant Writers Guild meets the first and third Wednesdays of the month, from 1 — 3p.m. at the Mason County Library on Viand Street. All persons interested in the craft of writing are welcome to attend.