What’s in a Name? (It’s a Name Game!)
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!
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
Ruth Taylor (and you can just keep going down the lists!)
- 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
- Katina Fillmore
10. Your choice. Share with us your methodology so we can play along, too!
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