On creative writing using ESOL

(I'm breaking character for this one, OK?)

Giving names to my characters was probably the biggest breakthrough on my writing so far. At least that’s the impression that I get— that I can cut loose, looser, no longer hampered by calling someone “F.” or “F____” or a bunch of silly Xs— for instance, that girl who went up to Canada? The one from the nightclub, whose upper lip curls up at midsection like a cat’s whenever she smiles? That’s Faye. Totally different person than Franny.
Franny’s a former girlfriend whom the protagonist-slash-narrator is not entirely comfortable with the idea of recalling to life, so she doesn’t get mentioned very often. And Faye’s a hell lot cuter than Franny, to boot.

When I was in High School I would read this comic book… The Flash, you know, guy in red? Runs fast? Sports as a logo that same jagged lightning bolt you used to give me such much hell about when we were in College?— Okay, granted, I still read those this day & age, but some fifteen, twenty years back either the writer or the editor of said magazine had a recurring joke for whenever he couldn’t mention a particular name or brand:
Whenever the writer needed to call in a brand of fast cars or motorcycles into the plot, he would call them Romanaclef. Like, a motorbike was a Romanaclef 5000 — Get it? It was a pun on Roman à clef, which was exactly what he was doing.
God I used to think it was the smartest joke I’d ever seen. Still find it pretty clever, though.

Given my utter lack of a plot and my inexhaustible lack of capacity of actually coming up with one, being able to call a character by his, her own name is a major headway into giving an iota of meaning to the bunch of words I end up laying down on paper. And it also accounts for my lack of structure, too: I don’t have to map out comprehensive character bios for each of them— just let the characters speak those bios for themselves as we go— take Dennis for instance: Dennis orders the drinks. Dennis knows the coolest bars, the fanciest restaurants, the trendiest clubs. I’ve compared him to the Dean Moriarty to my Sal Paradise on occasion. He gets mentioned a lot. — Now sweet little TJ on the other hand. I think that kid must have been mentioned only once or twice: She’s the former girlfriend who dumped the protagonist-slash-narrator one Christmas Eve a few years back. Amazing in bed too, she was. I mean, if you ask the protagonist. I think he still has the scars somewhere…

Of course if you’re actually paying any attention to this I might be contradicting myself here, just a tiny little bit: Why in god’s name would one ever need to map out a character in a roman à clef is an entirely different story.
But I’ll so kindly ask you to overlook that part.

Now the next step: Naming places in ESOL.
What should I do about names of cities, streets, neighborhoods?
São Paulo has been São Paulo for years here, but what happens when I get to say, Santo André? Santos? I’d been using the same silly Xs or blank spaces for a while but then it started to truncate the text more than I could bear so I ditched mentioning places altogether— but sometimes places are as important to the development of a character than a note on his or her past actions.
So should I find suitable American-based stand-ins? Should I start calling Santo André, Trenton, New Jersey? God what do I know of Trenton… see, there’s a problem right there. Plus that would make official the country switching, as if the language or the character names aren’t enough— and São Paulo’s already such an integral part of the narrative by this time. I’m not sure I want to go and change that— at least not right now and not with this format.
Food for thought there. But I’ll let it flow, ride it along, let the answer find itself.
Let’s see what gives with that one.

Still, major headway has been made.
I can’t tell you how comfortable I feel right now in writing these posts. How much I have been thoroughly enjoying them. Especially now that naming my characters has allowed me to tether one post to the other and despite the lack of a plot, it still conveys a somewhat cohesive sense of continuity— which ultimately I think it is what life’s all about, right?