So I had my main character. But then I thought, hey, two main characters are better than one. I mean, everybody needs a best friend–a bestie, right? So who would be Peas's best buddy?
And I don't know. Maybe I heard a dog barking outside. Or maybe it was one of those moments of inspiration authors hope for. But it came to me that Peas's best friend should be a dog.
But not an ordinary dog. A special one. I got it! A dog that can walk and talk like any ordinary ten-year-old boy. Brilliant!
I know. I know. There are plenty of talking dog characters out there in books, movies, etc. But can you please just give it to me. It really did feel like it was meant to be: Peas and his best friend: a dog who can walk and talk!
So now I needed another name. And so I thought what is a good name for a dog that would also be a good fit with Peas?
I knew that this character would be hip, cool, a wise-guy. Snarky but in a good way. Lovable. Maybe even someone like–dare I say it–Hobbes? Not to compare the two.
So I thought again. (Lot of thinking was happening–did you see the smoke?) What goes with Peas?
And, again, maybe I was hungry at the time. Or maybe lightning struck twice and I had another moment of inspiration. But it cane to me: Ham! That's what goes with peas.
But I needed more than ham. Calling a dog Ham didn't sound right. Can you imagine going: Sit, Ham! Sit!
It needed more. Something like Hambone!
Yeah. That's the ticket!
So I had my two main characters.
So I had my main character. With a cool nickname that I could do a lot with. I mean, really–Peas? It writes itself, doesn't it? Now, I know what you thinking. You: Okay, Mister Think-You-Are-So-Clever Writer, so you're telling me filling your book with potty humor is a good thing? Don't you know we're tired of our kids reading Captain Underpants all day long and want them to read something without talking toilets and poopy underpants? I hear you. And, no, I don't think a book filled with potty humor is a good thing. There has to be more to your story. But I also do think that some potty humor is a way to relate to reluctant readers, especially boys. (I have one at home–a reluctant reader–and trust me I can't tell you how many times he has read the Captain Underpants series. But he READS that series. And I want kids who are reluctant readers to READ. Let me say that again: I WANT RELUCTANT READERS TO READ! I don't think I need to tell you how important reading is. But as a classroom teacher, I can't tell you how many reluctant readers enter my classroom every year. And how hard it is to get a book in their hands. So, yes, I will have a character with a nickname that sounds like a bodily function we all do if it will GET KIDS READING. (Author confession: I do find it kind of funny.) And so that's what I did. I used the nickname Peas to riff on the other peas. The one with two e's that's not a vegetable at all. Has nothing to do with little green spheres and jolly green giants. Ho-ho-ho! No. The one with the two e’s has to do with a certain bodily function we all do, but it’s not like I want to spell it out for you. Here’s a clue: it has to do with yellow streams and “Don’t eat the yellow snow!”
(Can I tell you that when I did a reading a little while back at my town library that the kids we literally on the floor laughing at that last line!)
So I knew I had done something right! Or is that write?!