WIP: Research and Dreams and Name Changes

I love research! I experimented at one time with having an assistant help me with it, but quickly discovered that I was missing out on one of the most pleasurable parts of writing. . . and that I’m a control freak and have to have my hands in everything. So while I was in New Jersey, I read a couple of books on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, from which my character Andy will suffer. The books I read were circa 2000 and it seemed the terminology for FAS was in a state of flux, so I’ll have to get some more up to date information, but what I read gave me some great insight into Andy’s character and some new thoughts about storyline. That’s what gets missed when writers don’t do their own research: the research itself triggers new ideas. Now that I’m home, I’m researching fires and how to escape them. Kind of scary.
Also while I was away, Andy came to me in a dream and I got to hear his voice and how he strings words together. Very kind of him! And I realized the name Pippa is simply not working for his sister, so she is now Allie, which was the name I originally wanted for her. 
Things are coming along! 


  1. Brenda on August 27, 2006 at 2:31 pm

    Allie and Andy–good choice…Pippa is too much DICKENS…and since I was in London this summer-I heard many with that name…or siblings…sorry…
    I think Allie and Andy-can’t wait…
    Escaping a fire–whew…
    I was burned badly as a child-but it was not a fire per se…
    Terrifiying and I have the horrendous scars to prove it…

  2. Diane Chamberlain on August 27, 2006 at 5:34 pm

    I should have listened to you about names in the first place, Brenda.

  3. Margo on August 28, 2006 at 8:29 am

    I really like the name change, Diane…the names sound nice together, Allie and Andy…I can’t imagine what it’s like escaping a fire. My sister’s foot was burned badly as a 12 year old (a terrible accident not caused by fire but still terrifying)…I was with her when it happened and I remember wishing it had happened to me and not her…all I could do was hold her and try to comfort her while my brother drove us to the hospital…It was heartbreaking to see my sis in pain and I would have done anything to have taken it instead of her…

  4. Carla Neggers on August 28, 2006 at 8:36 am

    Great blog, Diane. Congrats on the grandbaby, and I enjoy reading about your progress on the wip. Something about getting the names “right,” isn’t there? Who knows, Pippa might work for a different character down the road. 🙂

  5. Margo on August 28, 2006 at 8:47 am

    I like the name Allie with Andy, but I agree with Carla on Pippa…maybe the name will work for a diff character or maybe in a diff novel…Pippa is a great name and I like it…I think of the name Pippa as an artist for some reason…

  6. Diane Chamberlain on August 28, 2006 at 10:03 am

    you guys are right: pippa should be an artist. . . or a dog breeder. john has a friend named pippa (who is indeed british) and who breeds bernese mtn dogs. i love the name, but it’s just not this character.
    and carla! it’s great to see you here. for those of you who don’t know her, carla neggers writes romantic suspense for my publisher, mira books. and a nicer person you couldn’t meet.

  7. Margo on August 28, 2006 at 12:14 pm

    I’ll look for Carla’s books at the bookstore Wed when I meet with my book group!!

  8. Diane on August 28, 2006 at 3:38 pm

    Margo, i’ve been thinking about your comment above–the one about wishing it had been you and not your sister who was hurt. I wonder how common this feeling is? I feel that way about my loved ones as well. As a matter of fact, years ago my sister had to undergo some tests and I told her I wished I could go through them for her, and I meant it. Her response was “you’re crazy.” Now don’t get me wrong: my sister is a loving, caring person, but I think that only certain people have that extra level of empathy–and it’s really not much fun to have. For me, it has to do with the fact that I can honestly handle the painful experience more easily than I can handle imagining a loved one going through it. Does that make sense?
    Anyhow, I’ve actually been researching this topic because Allie (formerly known as Pippa) is an empath, and I realized as I researched empaths that being one explained why I feel the way I do. The definition of empath has been broadened now to mean someone with psychic or mystical abilities, but that is not me and it’s not Allie. Still, I think it’s an interesting coicidence that Margo mentioned her feelings about her sister here. I feel less alone in my “craziness!”

  9. Margo on August 28, 2006 at 5:23 pm

    Yes Diane, it makes perfect sense to me. I feel the same way. Several years ago when my sister moved back to town, she was waiting for her husband to sell their home in Kansas and was living in an apt. here…many things went wrong the week they were to move into their home but 1 of the things that happened was she sliced her hand/thumb on a sharp knife trying to open some orange juice…she called me at 6 a.m. on my way to work and I rushed to her apt to help her…I nearly fainted from the blood and things but mainly from the pain and fear she was experiencing…all the way to the hospital I wished it was me and not her because I couldn’t bear to see her suffer…same when they ‘stitched her up’…I held her and comforted her but still could only wish it were me…interesting about your comment on ’empath’ because my family has often told me I have an ‘extra sense’ if you know what I mean…I think we all have a little esp within us if we just know how to tap into it…believe me, your not crazy Diane…

  10. Margo on August 29, 2006 at 8:04 am

    Diane, last nite I was thinking about what you said…I often wondered if I had too many feelings that I needed to overcome. I decided to research the word ’empath’ and didn’t realize there was an actual word describing what I feel so many times!!…it’s fascinating…anyway, it’s hard to put into words but both times my sister was injured so badly, when I held her and wished it were me I remember actually trying to ease the pain from her and take it in myself…does that sound weird??…at the time, I never even thought twice about it because it just felt like the right thing to do. Now I wonder if I’m crazy??…

  11. Diane on August 29, 2006 at 9:02 am

    Margo, you and I don’t have children of our own — my stepdaughters didn’t come into my life until I was 41– but I think these are maternal-type feelings that most women have about their kids. You’d lay down your life for them. Maybe our maternal feelings had to go somewhere!
    I know how you felt when you researched “empath.” It suddenly explained a lot about me.

  12. Margo on August 29, 2006 at 9:16 am

    Diane, your right! I never thought about it before but the fact I have no children explains why my emotions and feelings go elsewhere…you can’t believe what I feel for my animals! My doggies are literally my babies. I’m SO GLAD you told me about the word ’empath’. It definitely describes me too and its fascinating to read about it…

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