N: naming conventions
I have not written fiction before, so there are many aspects of the process that are not only new to me, but I also don’t have any tools that I know how to use, so I keep getting hung up on how to start.
Names are a good example. I decided that I could better picture a character, start getting a feel for who they are and what matters to them, if they first had a name. It only took me a few days to come up with a first and last name and rudimentary family history for my human protagonist.
But when I started thinking of bacteria, I wondered if I needed to first establish naming conventions, that might apply to any bacteria who might be characters. And since I do not yet feel comfortable with my knowledge about bacteria, I didn’t know what to use as a beginning place. Can bacteria hear? If so, names might be sounds they hear, or sounds they can make. Do they make sounds? If they do make sounds, do they have language? Would they want meaning for their names, or just unique combinations of noises? If they can’t hear or talk, maybe their names should be based upon smell, or taste, or something else. Except how could I represent that? I’m a human being using words, so I still need descriptions of something.
Thinking like this was a maze, and I got lost in it, for days. None of that time was spent thinking about actual characters whom I might write about.
I mentioned all of this to Spouse, and hir response was, “imagine Bob the bacterium. Bob looks up at the moon. Could there be bacteria living there? Bob knows (?) that bacteria live in all sorts of inhospitable places. So maybe there are bacteria on the moon. Why not? Maybe there’s a bacterium on the moon right now, wondering if there are bacteria on Earth.”
Oddly enough, this scenario gave me a feel for a bacterium character. I’m not sure I can justify naming them “Bob”, but I don’t have any better ideas!
What do you think? Any suggestions or thoughts would be welcome.