Thursday, March 4, 2010

More on Names

One week ago, I blogged about the meanings behind names. Since then, more insights and techniques on finding names have come my way. So, I thought that I’d share some of these.

I’ll begin with a technique from one of my writer friends. She gathers “fun and interesting” names from old books, newspapers, and movies (she admits to always being the last person out of the theater because she insists on checking out the rolling credits for cool names). Believe it or not, she also scans menus for names. I assume that she meant menus from exotic restaurants, not New Jersey diner menus. Although, Omelet might be an interesting name. No?

A non-writer friend suggested I look to musicians and athletes for interesting names. Okay, why not? From the world of music, how about Ringo Starr or Howlin’ Wolf? From the world of sports: Did you know that a guy by the name of Mac Speedie was a super fast wide receiver in the AFL and NFL, as well as a college track star in the 1940s? Or, that Anna Smashnova is an Israeli tennis player?

Finally, in the March/April issue of Writer’s Digest, an article titled “What’s in a Name?” suggests opening a dictionary, randomly selecting a word, and then fussing with a couple letters to come up with the perfect name. I tried this and came up with squad and jerk. Does this mean that I should name a character Squado Jerkenzie? Or Squadisha MacJerken? Hmmmm, maybe not. I think I need more practice with this particular technique.


  1. I tried the dictionary technique and got Construction Fancy. So ... Constructy Fantion?

    When I taught NaNoWriMo in my self-contained class last year, we picked our character names from each other's families, from the phone book, and, from my personal favorite, the cemetery near our school.

  2. Another good place to look for names is the obits in the newspaper. I too watch the rolling credits at the end of movies.

  3. Constructy Fantion? LOL, Sarah! Oh, and I LOVE the idea of going to a cemetery for names. A really old cemetery would be especially cool.

    And obits! Interesting, Bish.

    Thanks, ladies!