Monday, July 20, 2009

The Name Game

Remember that ultra-catchy ditty, "The Name Game" by Shirley Ellis? Okay, I'll admit I hadn't heard the song until I was an adult and a friend mixed a tape with quirky hits, including that one. Still, it's worth a first listen (or a nostalgic revisit). Check out "The Name Game" on YouTube.

I've got my own name game to play today--and it isn't nearly as fun as the song! My goal is to submit my short story manuscript (technically, some sample chapters) in two days. I am tinkering with a couple of things before my self-imposed deadline. One thing I did this morning was conduct a name search through the forty-two story collection to see if I'd repeated any names. Oh, the results shocked me! I've used thirty-one first names two or even three times for different characters and ten last names.

Some names will remain. Tim and Mary are common enough that I can justify having the name crop up a second time. But how did I use Willis for two different characters?! (I don't even know a Willis. It was a random name that came in the writing moment. Twice apparently.) And Ginny? Nadine! Meredith!

I used the last name Reineke in two stories. Yes, there was a girl in college with that last name. She was an acquaintance at best. I don't think I have some long-repressed crush on her. What gives?! (There will be no Facebook reunion.)

I'm pulling out my phone book and some magazines to go back to my tried and true character naming technique. One random flip and I point my finger: first name. Next flip and point: last name. It shouldn't take too long to rename a slew of characters--unless there is a disproportionate number of Luke Wainwrights living on the Sunshine Coast!

I may even play the Shirley Ellis Name Game to alter one character's moniker. Let's see,...Jimmy Jimmy bo Bimmy Bonana fanna fo Fimmy...

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