Skip to content

What’s in a Name? (It’s a Name Game!)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Today we’re going to play a name game. Get your paper and pen/pencil ready so that you can share your results in the comments!
Name Banner

We read plenty of stories about famous fictional characters who almost ended up with different names . . . the most famous example being how Scarlett O’Hara’s name was originally Pansy. According to this post, Lord of the Rings almost had a Bladorthin the Grey; Harry Potter could have had a good friend named Hermione Puckle; and who would have read a novel by some Irish guy named Bram Stoker featuring a character named Count Wampyr?

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

  • In Stand-In Groom, 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, in my first story idea notes, the heroine was named Elizabeth. However, once I discovered her character, that name didn’t fit—and only Julia did.
  • 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. Jason then got changed to Bradley Caylor (my two grandmothers’ maiden names) 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 among 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 Adams
    Grandfathers: Carroll Reid Kent

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

    Katharine Amethyst David
    Oded Aubergine 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 Cricket Johnson
    Capri Missy Wilder

5. First name of an ancestor (beyond a grandparent, if you can) + City, County (Parish), OR State (Province) in which you’ve resided + last name of a favorite teacher.

    Florinne Virginia Stevens
    James Fairfax 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 (unless, of course, they happen to be the same person!).

    Judy Moncado
    Chuck Cypert
    Ruth Taylor
    (and you can just keep going down the lists!)

7. First name of one of the authors in the top 100 paid/free Kindle Best Sellers + name from the Top Names of the 1880s + last name of one of the singers/a word from a band name from this list.

    Ellin Clara Presley
    Upton Clarence Feathers

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/nominee + last name of a U.S. President.

    Katina Fillmore
    Basil Harding

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

  1. Carol permalink
    Thursday, April 28, 2016 7:46 am

    Oh this sounds fun! Will see what I come up with this afternoon.


  2. Dora Wagner permalink
    Thursday, April 28, 2016 9:21 am

    1. John Leroy Sedaka
    Madeline Imogene Houston

    2. Jack Forrest David
    Julia Lavender Joseph

    3. Dorwa DeCol
    Dejwa McCol (Not too happy with either of these.)

    4. Stephen Duke Dickens

    5. Virginia Stark Hines
    Jacob Franklin Harman

    6. Belva Thompson (actual person–my mother)

    7. Ella Grace Perkins

    8. Lisa Orion

    9. Olivia Monroe
    Ethan Coolidge

    10. Garnet Amber Amarillo (Gem Stone + Color/Flower + City/State)
    Everyone calls her “Roy” (ROY G BIV)


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: