Friday, June 21, 2013

Naming a character (or child)?

Naming a character used to be a lot more difficult. We could turn to baby naming books or telephone books, but now we have the Internet and Facebook. And naming has become a lot more fun.

I've had trouble creating the names for The Peacock Who Wanted To Be A Pig (my fourth book) and The Chipmunk Who Wanted To Be A Bear (my fifth book now being edited for publication). So I turned to my Facebook friends!

If you don't know, (spoiler warning) my main characters end up a mashup creature at the end, with a new mashup name.

But you try to mashup up the name Peacock and Pig without it turning obscene. Difficult! So I asked my friend on Facebook and they came up with so many names I hadn't thought up: Peaswine, Pigtails, Peagolot, Peagley, Penny, Peapig, Pock, Peagy, Pigapea, Pigpea, Piggipea, Peacpig, Pick, Peacig, Pigock, Peachog, Percy, Plum, Peakapig, and Peakig. Aren't they creative? You don't have to write a book to have such creative friends, but a naming project sure brought the creativity to the front. And that's how Peaglet got its name.

Now I just finished The Chipmunk Who Wanted To Be A Bear. But my creativity was failing me! The only name I could think of was Bip, and that didn't seem to fit him. So, back to Facebook I went, and my friends came through: Chibear, Chipbear, Chipper, Chippybear, Chipbear, Chipbe, Chipar, and Bunky. Some well liked suggestions were Cher (!) and Chair or Bunk (and have him work in a furniture store). After a final vote, Chizly (Chipmunk-Grizzly) took the honors and I love the name. It fits my main character so well, and I never would have thought it up myself. Thank you Facebook friends for your naming capability!

One friend (thank you Kim) discovered a Unique Naming Site. It could be helpful, if I didn't have such creative friends. But I did spend a diverting half hour plugging in different animals and discovering possible mashups. 

I've seen occasional naming request posts from people who can't figure out what to name their child. Facebook friends are great at naming, but I must admit that my first suggestion for a girl is, Valerie. Mainly because I can't name any of my daughters Valerie, since it'd be too confusing in our home. So, go ahead, ask me what to name your daughter or female character. I've got a good one my parents picked out! 

Good luck with naming your child or character.

~Valerie Harmon

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