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The Game of Names Tags: names for fictional characters

Sunnyseas Father 'o Peace Aksel

The Game of Names

As writers, arenít we the lucky ones?

Most people get few opportunities to choose names on a daily basis. Oh yes, there is the critical search for names for a new baby, or for horses, puppies and kittens, (yes, Iíll grant you, cows have names too.) Or maybe a name for the home or boat. But thatís probably about it.†

We writers (yes, I hear you - visual artists too) have the luxury of choosing names constantly.† Picking a name for a character, while being so much fun, can be critical if we want that name to really work hard for us.

In last weekís Monday Muse I rattled off a quickie without thinking (or without conscious thought as we poets would say.) And in my unthinking/unconscious mode I made a big oospie when naming my two main characters Miranda and Martha - beginning and ending with the same letter - while this can happen in life - it can be confusing for readers (I am reminded by Alyson - thank you so much), especially for readers of short and flash fiction.

The name can, if we let it, show much more, e.g. dogs called Peggotty and Pip belong to a character who is a lover of Dickens maybe.† A dwelling called Rolling Stone indicates the fictional residentís love of Mickís lips and hips etc. And if you need a boat name for your fatalist, African Queen might work well if you donít fancy Titanic II.

Other weird stuff also comes into play, for instance, our little dog Aksel (thatís his mugshot above by the way) was conceived on Norway Day, May 17th. So logically (our logic anyway) we named him after a champion Norwegian downhill skier. He was born in July so we could have also easily, and quite appropriately, named him Leo.

I often scan the obituaries and births columns in the local paper if I am in need of naming inspiration. This weekís little goldmine yielded this unique chap:† Jerrice Jeremiah Leeander (yes thatís the spelling) known as ĎBoobie, Big Bouí.† I have no idea who this lovely fellow might have been, but what does it all say about his parents and later, his friends?

This weekís births announcements gave me these three babes: Laken, Paxton and Kallista. Exotica rules these day, it seems.

Dickens and Shakespeare were masters at it, werenít they? Uriah Heep, Ebenezer Scrooge, and the onomatopoeic† Mr. Bumble couldnít be more perfect for those characters.† And can you imagine Sir Toby Belch or Shylock by any other names? Like Billy Campbell, or Teddy Williams? No - I didnít think so.†

And thatís the serious game of names we play each time we plot our tale and pick our people. Names can make or break a story.

Afterthought - throwing these two in for good measure and a smile:

1. There was a boat, anchored a little further down the coast from here. Owned by a sweet naive fellow. The name of the boat - Wet Dream. Painted in beautiful lettering along the bow. I kid you not. (sorry, I never did get a photo) (and sorry again, WA members, of course Iíve already made use of this one. in a short poignant humour piece.)

2. My mother knew a couple who were the epitome of innocence. Lovely gentle people. Their names were Harry and Lottie. They named their house (as couple often did in those days) by combining their names. Yes, youíve got it. Their lovely home had the swinging sign ĎHarlotí by the front gate for years.

Boats with names - Lower West Pubnico - home of the largest fishing fleet in

Atlantic Canada

This Week On Writers Abroad 23rd May 2016
Category: Site News

After the flurry of activity last week when The Third Space was published, things are a little quieter here today.

Monday Muse: Jill has supplied a great mix of sentences drawn from novels to inspire your writing as well as an intriguing image of a young woman and her suitcase. Or is it even hers? Thatís for you to decide when you put pen to paper.

Blog: Jo talks about a topic that every writer who tackles longer works of fiction or a series, has to think about: how to keep track of all the details. Jo suggests that a Story Bible is what you need.

Bragging Stool: The seat is cool as no one has climbed up there this week. Weíll hope for more good news next week.

Thereís been some activity in Works in Progress and Alison has a story in the May Challenge that Iím sure she would appreciate comments about. Also, if you havenít done so, please add any comments you wish to make about Honorary Membership to the thread in the Noticeboard.

Itís a little more than a week since the most recent edition of our magazine was released. It has been well received, judging by responses Jo received. But donít let it slip out of the public eye. Please continue to promote it on social media.

Have a good writing week.†

Creating a Story Bible

Writing stories of whatever length, can mean gathering a lot of information. I donít know about you, but I think Iím organised, then spend hours looking for that one snippet of research, or a name I thought would fit, or a picture of a setting. And the longer it takes to search through my notebooks, folders, drawers and diary, the more frustrated I become. Iím a bit of a luddite I admit; my preference for paper based information is not very productive in terms of using my time. In addition, although I donít venture far from my desk, my system isnít very practical if Iím not at home and have to lug the stuff about. Iíd probably lose it anyway. And to top it all, our house is tiny and Iím already surrounded by bulging bookshelves full of paper and files which threaten to topple on my head and heavenís forbid my laptop.

As Iím in the process of sorting five works in progress out this year in preparation for publication and have gathered and continue to gather lots of information I may need at my fingertips, I decided Iíd get a bit more savvy and step out of my paper filled comfort zone. Itís just as hard to break ingrained habits as it is to maintain them and I canít claim that Iím fully paper less but Iím getting there.

ďOrganizing is a journey, not a destination.Ē 
- Anonymous

Iíve used Microsoft OneNote for some time for gathering information, but rather like my desk it became cluttered with information I soon forgot about. However, it is a powerful tool and whatís more, itís so easy to use. It represents a folder with tabs, just like my old fashioned system but itís kept online and you can access it very easily from any device if youíve set it up properly.† In preparation for my editing and revisions Iíve set up this simple Ďstory bibleí for each one of my projects with tabs for plot, characters, setting, research and notes. I can clip stuff easily from the internet using a chrome extension, I can type in notes just as I would write them and save images. †I can even make the Ďpageí look like lined not paper. Whatís not to like? Iíve stopped scribbling stuff down on sticky notes, on the back of my hand and stopped trying to remember things Iím so sure I wonít forget, because I will.

So now I can access everything to do with one project all in one place. Itís not perfect though and depends very much on the user, as most things technical. And I still misfile things. Yesterday I spent ages looking for notes I was convinced Iíd typed up after reading a reference book on the subject matter. I cursed and cursed blaming the laptop, the eternal black hole of the internet and even the dog until I realised Iíd saved it in the wrong place. So not infallible then. But I donít suppose anything ever will be with my scatterbrain.

Ah, well, at least Iíve saved a few trees and maybe eventually a forest or two.

*This is a re-post of a blog from Louise Charles.†


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Monday, May 23, 2016
This Week On Writers Abroad 23rd May 2016
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The Game of Names
Posted by SBBorgersen

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