Talking about fate is an interesting thing to discuss when writing a novel. Obviously, I have a plan for my characters. I know how the story will play out, and I know my characters’ fates. What’s interesting is that throughout the series one of the themes is fate. On Lex’s journey, my plan is to consider whether or not fate exists. My three main characters names are Alexandrina, Joshua, and Ashhab. Each name has a story.
Lex’s name was the first one I came up with. If you look at it, you might mistake it for Alexandria. Alexandria is a city, which was named after Alexander the Great. But, it’s not Alexandria, and for a good reason. Lex’s mother is English.
A little known fact about the English Queen Victoria is that her first name was really Alexandrina. As a child, she went by Drina. I loved that I was naming her after a strong female leader in history, even though from the looks of the name you’d think she was named after Alexander the Great. I also love the similarities between Queen Victoria and Lex. Both were raised by over-protective mothers. They were raised basically in isolation, and neither of them enjoyed their childhoods. And, just like Queen Victoria, Lex will rise up as a leader. And like Queen Victoria, Lex doesn’t go by her real name. The name Lex comes from my favorite comic series, Superman. Yep, my hero is named after Lex Luthor. Now, I love that this is the name she chooses to be called and known by. To some extent, I think it’s her guilt over things that happen early on in the book that subconsciously drives her to be called by the name of a famous supervillain. She doesn’t think she’s good. She blames herself for the way things happen. I think her name shows how she feels about herself, and that is extremely important.
Josh is next. I named him after the biblical Joshua, who leads Israel to the promise land after Moses dies. Joshua comes from a Polish Jewish background, and this name fits his character very well. Joshua was a great leader. Actually, Jesus is the Greek version of the Hebrew Joshua. That’s a hard name to live up to. Josh strives for perfection, and he’s going to be slightly arrogant. But, he doesn’t want to be a leader. He doesn’t want power. So he shortens the name, as if that takes the pressure away. I think his name speaks to who he is, and how he views himself. He’s smart, and he’s kind. But he isn’t a leader, and he has no interest in being one. I love this about him. Joshua also happens to be one of my favorite names.
Ash’s name is probably the hardest to explain. Obviously, it’s not quite as common as Josh, or even Lex. Ashhab is an Arabic name meaning “lion.” Why? A lion tends to be a symbol of bravery. Ash is going to be faced with a lot of decisions, and he will strive to be brave; but the name Ash means happy. Ultimately, I think that Ash will sacrifice his own happiness to save the lives of his friends. He doesn’t want to be brave, and honestly I don’t think he would describe himself as brave. He sacrifices, but not because he thinks he is brave. Above everything, he sacrifices for his friends because he wants them to be happy. His friends view him as brave, but they also recognize his loyalty above everything else. This definitely speaks to how he values himself, versus how he should value himself.
But most of all, their names symbolize the rejection of fate. They each choose their names, the same way they choose their destinies. They aren’t confined to what their parents want, and I think that is an important theme that I hope comes across throughout the story. They each choose their own path, right or wrong.
“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” – Esther 4:14
Esther is one of my favorite old testament characters. The King’s wife angers him in the beginning of the book, and he goes in search of a new wife. So he calls every woman in his rule who is of marital age, but it single, and invites them to come to his palace. Out of all the women, he chooses Esther. But Haman is angered by Esther’s cousin, Mordecai, after he refuses to bow to Haman. So Haman decides to eliminate the Jews, and asks King Xerxes to do it. When Mordecai finds out, he mourns, and Esther finds out. Esther says that if she approaches the king, and he doesn’t want to see her, she will be killed (this was customary, as he hadn’t called for her in 30 days). This verse is Mordecai’s response.
I think this is very fitting with the idea of fate and destiny, because if you look over this verse it is so easy to see that Esther had a decision to make. And this decision would determine the rest of her life. On the one hand, she could say nothing. Mordecai points out that God would deliver them through someone else, but that Esther and her family would perish. On the other hand, she could go and confront the king, and be at the mercy of whatever his mood was. She chooses the latter, and great things come of it. But it was her choice. I think it was always God’s plan for her to be put in this position, but she is the one who chose to use it for the benefit of her people.
I once heard someone say, “God has a plan for your life. But so does Satan.” And I’ve always loved this saying when it comes to the idea of fate and destiny. And it relates so well to writing. I can go through the writing process, and I can plan out everything. But, as I write, things tend to change. Life events influence the way I write. If I’ve had a good week, that’s going to affect how I write. If I’ve had a bad week, things in my novel will change. That’s just how it works. No matter how much I plan, things have a funny way to deviating. No matter God’s plan for our lives, Satan has plans too. Nothing can change that. That means that it is our decision as to how we react to situations. We have free will (that’s a topic for another day). I love this verse, because it reminds me that I make my own decisions. I’m not predestined for anything.
It’s My Life by Bon Jovi
“It’s my life,
It’s now or never.
I ain’t gonna live forever.
I just wanna live while I’m alive,
It’s my life.”