Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Name from God

Writers have perfect control over their work.


While writers tend toward being control-freaks—I know I do, at least—very few think we’re in control of our stories. There are too many twists, unexpected happenings, moments of unexplained inspiration to believe that. Rather, a sense of something more at work pervades.

For me, that’s the hand of God.

I can’t explain it. I don’t understand it. But somehow, in the background (and sometimes not so in the background) God is carefully orchestrating the details, pulling the pieces together, despite my human flaws, selfish motivations, and controlling tendencies. As I saw again this week.

I’ve been putting together a synopsis of my most recent novel for an upcoming writer’s conference, and for this synopsis I decided to use a character’s given name instead of the nickname my protagonist gave him. But I haven’t really thought much about his given name. I simply slapped the name Elroy on him when the need arose in the first draft and didn’t worry much about it—until now.

This novel has a somewhat allegorical style, and for me, names are very important in allegory. So since King Elroy is supposed to represent the majesty, power, and love of God, it didn’t seem right if Elroy turned out to mean “Beast-slayer” or “Den of the Devil.” I decided I had better check it out.

And it turns out that Elroy means “The King.” How more perfect could the name be?

Even now it amazes me. I’ve never hand any particular preference for the name and it is definitely not in my stock of names I reach for first. Nor do I know anyone named Elroy. I don’t even know any characters of that name, except for the boy on The Jetsons, which I’ve not watched in probably a decade. So why I would pick that name at random?

I can only think that God was at work, prompting me even in this tiny detail.

1 comment:

Zookeeper Cat said...

Yep, I know that feeling. I was trying to come up with a name for an angel sent on a really weird mission into a human brain/mind. I arbitrarily picked Jeriel. Then I decided to look it up in Strong's Concordance and see if it was a real word. It means "arrow of God."

Too many of those things happen, and they really only happen when I write S-F. So I've given up fighting it. ;~)

Congrats on the Genesis win! (I came across your blog via an ACFW regional loop.)