Monday, November 8, 2010

What's in a name?

My daughter, 12, has been writing for a few years.  Every now and then she shows me what she's written, and, while it's hard to tell how much she lifted straight from Twilight and Percy Jones (that's his name, right, the Last Olympian dude?), I have to say she has quite a dramatic flair.  She also has done some major research for her characters.  She decided that her main characters' family is Irish, just like us.  Except really, we are only about 1/8th Irish.  The other 7/8th's is pure-bred White Trash (as in, we have no idea where those ancestors came from, we think they just sprang up down in the holler).  This is not to say that I am in anyway not proud of my Appalachian heritage.  I think it's cool, and not 'trash' in the sense of being worthless.  More like 'trash' in the sense that other people might think we are ignorant and useless but we know better.  One man's trash and all that.  But I digress.

The daughter spent a couple of hours the other day on the internet choosing traditional Irish names for her characters.  And not Katie or Sean.  She came up with Ula and something that starts with a C that sounds like an intimate body part, but I can't remember the exact spelling, so I'm not going to share it right now. 

I have a hard time with names for characters.  I've tried name generators, baby name lists, the phone book.  When I try picking names out of the air, I always come up with someone that I know, and that feels icky after a while.  So for this NaNo project I'm plugging away at, I've resorted to fruits and vegetables.  I do have 'real' first names for my hero and heroine, but their last names are Apple and Orange, and the Cute Kid's name is Grape.  I just hope I remember to replace everything with Smith and Jones before I show it to anyone! 

Does anyone have a fool-proof method for picking a name? 

1 comment:

  1. Too funny. I have a horrible time with names. Evetually I come up with the first names I like but last names are horrible. As I right historicals, then I have to come up with titles too. As for "trash", I've always used the word mutt. I have no idea of the percentages of the many heritages flowing through my blood.