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Fun Friday–What’s in a Name?

Friday, January 20, 2012

I read a blog post on PW yesterday about the titles famous books almost had (The Alternate Titles of Famous Books: Who’s Afraid of Franz Kafka?). And, of course, there are the stories about characters who almost ended up with different names . . . the most famous example being how Scarlett O’Hara’s name was originally Pansy.

I’ve gone though some name changes in my books, too . . .

  • In Stand-In Groom (which was originally titled Happy Endings Inc.), the wedding planner’s name started out as Nell—and she had quite a different personality before she became Anne (you can read about my process of changing her name here).
  • In the Ransome Trilogy, while William was always William, when I first started trying to figure out what woman would be good enough for him, the first name I settled on was Elizabeth. However, once I discovered her character, that name didn’t fit—and only Julia did. Also, William’s younger sister started out as Sophie . . . before she ever appeared on page. As soon as I wrote her first scene, though, she announced her name was Charlotte. Good thing, too, because of Charles Lott!
  • In the first version of Love Remains that I wrote in 2003 (which was my first and only attempt at a category romance, and I still couldn’t get it under 75,000 words), the hero’s name was Kevin, not Bobby, and he was a computer guy, not in law enforcement.
  • I dug up my original writeup of the idea for The Art of Romance (which began its life with the working title Cover Model) and discovered that the original names for the characters were Jason and Angie. Hmmm . . . I must have had Angie Harmon and Jason Sehorn on the brain when I wrote that!). Jason then got changed to Bradley Caylor and Angie to Kate Blane. But I still wasn’t connecting with the characters. I’m not sure how many other names I went through before I came up with Dylan Bradley and Caylor Evans, I just remember it took me a really long time to get there.

I’ve mentioned before that I like to comb my family tree for fun/interesting names. Just from main characters, Major, William, Julia, Michael, (Dylan) Bradley, and Caylor are all names from my genealogy (and there are lots of others in the ranks of the secondary characters).

Today, I thought it would be fun for us to come up with some funny/silly character names—and maybe find some hidden gems amongst them! (Don’t feel like you have to do all of them. Pick and choose the ones you want to do, but be sure to include the item number so we know which ones you did.) You may find pen/pencil and paper will be helpful so you don’t have to keep scrolling up and down the page.

1. Your paternal grandmother’s (or grandfather’s) middle name + your maternal grandmother’s (or grandfather’s) middle name (if you know them) + last name of your favorite singer

    Grandmothers: Ethel Katherine Martin
    Grandfathers: Carroll Reid Martin

2. First name of your favorite actor/actress + your favorite color (or a synonym) + your father’s or grandfather’s first name

    Katharine Aubergine David
    Karl Perse Crawford

3. (First Name) take the first 3 letters of your first name and add the first 2 letters of your last name; (Last Name) first 2 letters of your mother’s (or grandmother’s) maiden name and add the first 3 letters of the city you were born

    Kayda McBat (I used my mom’s maiden name—because my grandmothers’ names would make it Cabat or Brbat, neither of which work as well with Kayda—which could be Katda if I used my full name instead of my nickname. See how many options we can have???)

4. Name of the street you grew up on + a favorite pet’s name + last name of the author of the first book you look at

    Valencia Taffy Ingermanson
    Capri Princess L’Engle

5. First name of an ancestor (beyond a grandparent, if you can) + City OR State where you currently live + last name of a favorite teacher.

    Florinne Nashville Stevens
    James Tennessee Bowling

6. First name of the last person who sent you an e-mail + last name of the first person listed in your newsfeed on Facebook

    Riley Duvall
    Katie Slack
    Eric Land
    (and you can just keep going down the lists!)

7. First name of one of the authors in the top 20 paid/free Kindle Best Sellers + name from the Top Names of the 1880s + last name of one of the singers/word from a group name from this list

    Marlen Clara Keys
    Colton Edward Prysock

8. First name of someone you went to junior high/middle school with + Name of a constellation

    Tonya Boötes
    Todd Serpens

9. First name of Best Supporting Actress or Actor Oscar winner + last name of a U.S. President

    Miliza Fillmore
    Basil Harding

10. Your choice. Share with us your methodology so we can play along, too!

  1. Friday, January 20, 2012 1:21 am

    Grandmothers: June Caroline Smith
    Grandfathers: James Patrick Smith

    Ioan Colbolt Thomas

    Jenbl Heede

    Grieve Horse Deed (no matter what name I use its bad like Grieve Meggs, or Grieve Touser or Grieve Twinkle)

    Eliza Naracoorte Moody

    Patrica Munch

    Alisa Emma Berry
    Richard James Turner


    Robina Orion
    Mark Perseus

    9. (I changed this to a prime minister of Australia)

    Celeste Holt
    Walter Deakin

    10. first name of favourite sports player and favourite sports team or team nickname

    Neil Richmond

    Liesel Scorchers


    • Abigail Richmond permalink
      Friday, January 20, 2012 12:52 pm

      Mark Yankees
      Cam Panthers


    • Friday, January 20, 2012 12:54 pm

      I don’t really have a favorite sports figure, so I’ll pick one who’s been prominent in my sports watching of late . . .

      Tyrann Tiger 😉


    • Friday, January 20, 2012 2:06 pm

      Hmmm. Sports . . . . I’ll have to pick the player I like MOST to watch – my daughter. 😉

      Ellen Racer


  2. Friday, January 20, 2012 10:41 am

    Grandmothers – Imogene Gladys Connick
    Grandfathers – Ray Lee Sinatra

    2. Julia Blue Williams

    3. Regick Brben (OK, that just does NOT work for me! 😀 )

    4. Wildcat Peggy Sparks (Yes, really.)

    Priscilla Marion Phillips (and funny thing is, my great-grandmother Priscilla’s last name WAS Phillips!)
    Sylvester Marion Bolinger

    Brenda Koon
    Wayne Ford

    Delle Elizabeth James
    Mark Thomas Cash

    Ava Carina
    Darrell Lacerta

    Joan VanBuren
    Spencer Hayes

    10. Fave Biblical person + First or middle name of a cousin + Place you’ve visited:
    Elizabeth Rene Washington
    James Scott Litchfield

    Loved this, Kaye!!


    • Abigail Richmond permalink
      Friday, January 20, 2012 12:49 pm

      Paul William Eden
      Esther Krista Danville


    • Friday, January 20, 2012 1:15 pm

      10. Jael Faith Durant
      Stephen Aubrey Woodbridge


    • Friday, January 20, 2012 4:45 pm

      10. Ruth Judy Vancouver

      David Brian Pemberton


  3. Abigail Richmond permalink
    Friday, January 20, 2012 12:46 pm

    Grandmothers- Caroline Beatrice Macrae
    Grandfathers- Harold Clyde Macrae
    Abiri Tolew (kind of looks oriental)
    Longs Mill Nato Witemeyer


  4. Friday, January 20, 2012 7:53 pm

    5. Elcana Lexington Slone.


  5. Saturday, January 21, 2012 11:51 am

    I skipped 3 because I couldn’t pronounce the name that appeared. 🙂

    1. Maurice Louisa Nielsen
    2. Sandra White

    4. Fisher Somebody Braun
    5. Johannes Mississippi Kilpatrick
    6. Susan Leahy
    Lance Leahy
    Becky Connolly
    7. Suzanne Elizabeth Diddley
    8. Cleatus Orion (I love this one!)
    9. Christian Garfield

    NOW that was F.U.N.!!


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