Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I’ve never been to Climax

But I’ve stopped by Intercourse. Even stayed there a while. Happened when I was only 10. Great place to visit, lots of country charm.

I’m talking about towns and cities, of course. Both Climax and Intercourse are in Pennsylvania.

I started thinking about names recently because a friend is writing a book for the first time. She doesn’t know what to name her protagonist. I told her, “A name is very important in your story. Take your time to consider what her name is.”

Certain names evoke particular imagery. A hero named “Wally” is seldom associated with a bad boy warrior. Likewise, if you’re writing a story with a mild-mannered reporter who happens to be a super hero, do you really want to name your reporter “Brutus?”

Names can provide instant conflict. I’m writing a werewolf/zombie short story where the heroine’s name is Beth, but her nickname is Bunny. Bunny as a nickname isn’t a big deal, but in this case, the heroine is a werewolf.

I had proposed the name as a joke, but Jennifer said, “Instant conflict.” And thanks to her, I had my story. Teased and tormented by her pack, Bunny the werewolf goes off to prove she’s more than her cute and cuddly nickname and tangles with a mean posse of zombies.

“Jabari” was the name of my first Egyptian hero in The Falcon and the Dove. The name means “brave.”

“Homer” would not be an acceptable name for an Egyptian warrior.

The book I’m reading now, Eve Silver’s Demon's Hunger, has a sorcerer named Dain. Great name for a powerful hero.

It’s fun to play around with names. Here are the names of actual towns and cities in the United States and abroad. Oh and for those attending the annual Romance Writers of America convention in Orlando, there’s a nearby city perfect for romance writers — Kissimmee, Florida


, WV

Ding Dong, TX

Possum Kingdom
, TX

Truth or Consequences, NM

Beer Bottle Crossing, Idaho

, IL

Dick Mountain
, WA

Okay, OK (I love this one!)

, Denmark
(Makes me think of Middle Earth with flatulence.)

Boring, OR

Wagga Wagga
, Australia
(Another great name. “I took a walkabout in Wagga Wagga”)

Hygiene, CO

, TX
(Sometimes I think I live there, even though I’m in FL)

French Lick, ID (I first heard of this town in a wonderful book, Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon)

Hell, IN

, England
(Care for a cuppa tea in Wetwang?)


Gillian Layne June 30, 2010 at 3:48 PM  

Whoa. I really don't think I could own up to living in a town called Climax. Seriously, how would you work that into a job interview? Love it!

I wrote my entire first book without knowing the name of a "best friend" that was going to get his own book. It drove me nuts. Then one day I was jotting a bit of dialogue and his sister opened her mouth and said "Phillip!" And there he was, properly named, getting told off by his sister.

Jennifer Ashley/ Allyson James / Ashley Gardner July 1, 2010 at 11:38 AM  

I remember Possum Kingdom, TX. I believe there's a Possum Kingdom Lake too.

There are great names out here in AZ: Deadman Wash; Big Bug Creek; the town of Why. Plus the town of Ajo, which, if you speak Spanish, means garlic.

So--Yardly--not a great name for a hero??

Bonnie Vanak July 2, 2010 at 1:26 PM  

Gillian, I think it would be fun. Great ice breaker at conventions. "Where do you live?" "I live in Climax." lol

Jennifer, Yardly would make a great... clean... hero (I'm thinking of the soap!)

Cindy Holby

Gerri Russell

Joy Nash

Bonnie Vanak

Emily Bryan

C.L. Wilson

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