Hidden FAQ: Molly’s Name

One of the things I’m noticing as reviews start coming in is that Molly’s name seems jarring for some people. Here are a couple of examples:

“Main character – Molly. The name alone conjures images of a little girl in pigtails. NOT!”

 

“Enjoyed Molly whose name did not fit the persona.”

I found this interesting. I’ve kind of always seen Molly as a rather no-nonsense kind of name. When I hear the name “Molly,” I think of spitfires like the late, great Molly Ivins. I think of “the unsinkable Molly Brown.” And I think of my favorite (other than my own, I mean) fictional Molly, the fierce Molly Weasley.

I’ve mentioned before that I wrote several drafts of Lost Girl over the course of four years, and with each draft, Molly’s character evolved quite a bit. As she evolved, her name changed with her. First she was Jace, an empath with a mysterious past, who meets Nain through a friend. She was too passive. Too wimpy. Then, she was Megan for a couple of drafts, but, again, she wasn’t quite there as a character yet. I wasn’t satisfied. She was tougher, but only in a very general way. She wasn’t as rounded as I’d wanted her to be. A couple of drafts later, the character evolved more into the Molly you know now: tough as nails, kinda scary, but with a vulnerable, sweet side that very few people ever get to see. Good, but battling plenty of darkness within her.

As for the name, that was really luck. I was writing one morning, working on a scene with the new, improved “Megan.” And Nirvana’s cover of the Vaselines song “Molly’s Lips” came on Pandora, and it was like a lightbulb went on for me. This was her. Molly. I rewrote her as Molly, and it just felt right.

This is an example of one of those times when we as storytellers would do well to remember that even though we’re the ones telling a story, that’s only half of the equation. A story isn’t really told until someone hears or reads it, and that person comes to it with a backstory of his or her own, and that affects how our story is read, in large and small ways. It doesn’t mean we need to do anything differently. I just think it’s one more interesting, kind of magical thing about this whole writing gig.

As for her last name…my grandma’s maiden name was Brooks. It just seemed to fit. 🙂

So, there’s the story behind why I chose Molly’s name. What did you think when you first started reading Hidden? Did the name fit the character for you?

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