A Character By Any Other Name

It’s been more than a year since we’ve outlined a new book, which means it’s been more than a year since Jen’s had a chance to name a whole bunch of characters. Sure, incidental naming opportunities arise during the writing, but it’s just not the same, you know? Sometimes even Kent is allowed to name one-off characters, even if he tends to name them all Cheryl/Sheryl for vague and mysterious reasons.

With Jen this whole naming thing is a sickness. We aren’t having any more kids, and most of our household tools and appliances already have names. So what’s a girl to do?

If that girl is Jen, she keeps a running list of appealing names so that when it finally is time to spec out a new cast, she’s prepared.

But she also gets really excited each time March rolls around and the Name of the Year competition gets underway. For those of you who are unfamiliar, NOTY is the most amazing March Madness style bracket out there. They spend the year collecting outrageous and fantastic names from around the world and pit them against each other, letting the public vote. The public doesn’t always get it right, unfortunately. I mean, can you believe that last year’s final wasn’t between Dick Tips and Sweet Orefice? Or that, if the winner had to be one of the Pope names, that Pope McCorkle III beat out Taco Pope? I’ll say it again: Taco Pope.

Anyway, this year’s competition is well underway, and already some great names have fallen. But many truly astonishing ones remain. Go check it out!

The sorts of names that end up in the NOTY brackets, amazing though they are, are not really the sorts of names we want for our characters. But each time the voting opens up for a new round, Kent and Jen scurry to their computers and cast their ballots. And then they discuss their votes. A good deal of the time they agree on which name is truly superior, but when they disagree it’s because Kent is wrong. He has a sweet tooth for rhyming names and terrible puns, and seeing evidence of his terrible terrible taste reassures us that we’ve made the right choice in letting Jen be the primary namer in our writing team.

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