Santa Claus stopped by my house yesterday… (plus Contest!)
And left a check, from Random House. Just in time for Christmas. I’m a paid author now. Wow.
So, I’m in the mood to celebrate. And speaking of grizzled, bearded old guys, I’m also in the mood to rename one of my characters. So, contest time!
I have a character in
Goats on a Boat Surrender of a Siren (as it says in my shiny new contract) in dire need of a new name. He’s the steward of the ship, which means he’s the captain’s manservant. His working name has been “Grub” – because I wanted something one-syllable with an evocative sound, like “Smee” from Peter Pan. I chose “Grub” after picking out random syllables from Lewis Carroll’s The Jabberwocky. For some reason, I kept gravitating toward G – “gyre”, “gimble” (that was his name at one point), “grabe”. But alas, I already have two other characters whose names start with “G” – not least of all, the hero, Gray. So I need a name with a different evocative sound. His primary characteristics are a flair for theatrics and a lot of hair:
Surely there was a man in there somewhere, Sophia thought. Somewhere under all that hair.
The hunched, ancient steward shuffled down the narrow staircase, whistling a jaunty tune as he went. She followed, treading gingerly on the bowed boards. As her eyes adjusted to the dim lighting, she took in the greasy, gray tangle of hair that hung midway down the man’s back, the grizzled froth of beard that extended nearly as far down in front, the lightly furred forearms exposed by his loose checked tunic.
Heavens, even the tops of his bare feet sported a thick growth of hair.
“’Ere we are, miss,” he announced. “Ladies’ cabins.” He pushed aside a thin curtain of dark fabric, and they entered a small, low-ceilinged chamber with a round table and chairs occupying the center. Sunlight streamed into the space from a skylight above. Four doors opened off the small room, two on either side. The steward crossed to the door marked ‘Seven’ and opened it with a flourish. “Your berth, miss.”
So, what should I call this guy? Kindly list your one-syllable suggestions! Get creative with those Scrabble tiles. Something slightly onomatopoeic would be nice.
I’ll leave the contest open through Sunday, and I’ll choose two winners – one at random, one for my favorite suggestion – each will receive a $20 gift certificate to the online bookstore of his/her choice.
Have a great weekend, everyone!
I see him as an “Itch.” Itch Somethingson.
He sounds it, after all.
Or maybe “Smudge,” the name of the wooly lamb in my kid’s favorite James Herriot story.
Last but not least, Tessa…
many CONGRATULATIONS on your stocking stuffer. Yay. You’re official.
What about Clump? Pelt? Ham? Jib?
Wow, that was fun. Good luck Tessa and CONGRATS to you!
Oh those are good. I am rolling with laughter already.
Keep ’em coming, ladies!
Mat, Ruff, Thatch, Narl, Scrag. Or how about going for the opposite, like Seal.
Congrats on being a real-life, paid author!
I did a little playing in thesaurus.com but didn’t come up with stuff as good as these. I like Stark (syn for bald – hehe) and Vim since he has that flair for theatrics.
Maybe Trim, Fringe, Mop, Mane, or Pez.
Wonder if this is how Dickens did it. LOL!
Congrats, Tessa. And how nice to get it right before Christmas.
It as in Cousin. Sorry, had to go there.
The hairy feet made me think of hobbits. Maybe Hobb? Or Cobb?
What if you went for irony and called him Frill or Spiff or Swank?
I love naming so I’ll probably be back. Congrats on your check! Tell us what trinket you’ve splurged to buy yourself. I’d like a purse I’d never, ever buy myself normally. Actually, maybe not. I’d probably set it down in something and stain it immediately.
Polk (wasn’t he our fat president?)
Lurch (to continue the Addams family theme)
Tiny (two syllables, I know, put a likely nickname)
Crabbe or Goyle (I know it’s a G, but it’s HP!)
Gum (I know, another G)
Because if he’s hairy in the 19th cent., lice city.
Is “no name as of right now” fat or skinny? I can’t tell from the excerpt… but for some reason I thought he was fat…
Brin (for Richard Brinsley Sheridan)
First, Congrats!!!! What a great Christmas gift.
Some of these are obviously opposites of the man’s character, others well they just sounded “sailory”.
gimp(yeah I know g)
Okay I’m done. I don’t think I repeated any.
In a nod to Goats on a Boat, why not give the character formerly known as Grub a name based on Goats?
Nanny (female goat)
Doe (female goat)
Billy (male goat)
Buck (male goat)
Bleat (goat noise)
Bagot (a type of goat in Straffordshire)
Or a synonym for Jabberwocky or rather gibberish:
Oh and congrats on the Random House paycheck!!!
And yay for a well-timed check!
ROFL. I was liking the sound of Crabbe – has that maritime connection, you know. Then I read J Perry’s lice comment, and it took on a whole new meaning… ick.
Hey, maybe Icke?
Speaking of “Icke” – scat could be read in a really gross way, Ely.
And it’s Crabbe, not Crabs… besides, this is historical romance… no one had lice! Well, maybe villains…
Don’t know if this would really play that well into your novel… but what about:
Phorcys (a sea god or the old man of the sea and supposedly the father of the Sirens)
Crabbe is also Crabbe of Crabbe and Goyle, and so may have other connotations to people.
LOL, CM – I think that’s why Sara suggested it in her original message.
Actually, right now “Fitz” is appealing to me. As well as “Frog”, for an odd reason.
Ely’s suggestion of “Buck” has its charms, too. Hmmm.. .
I think I need more choices. *wink*
Ohhh… what about:
Going off the grizzly and the hair:
If you’re a fan of Guns ‘n’ Roses (and who isn’t LOL):
Talking about GnR and musicians, we can also add Duff, Gilbey, Reed, and Flea of RHCP.
LOL, Matthew – that RHCP idea just gave me an image of the-character-formerly-known-as-grub dressed in nothing but a sock. I wish to poke out my mind’s eye now.
Maybe I should go with what Anthony Kiedis named his kid: Everly Bear, was it? It could work…
Something vaguely piratical might be good. Bones or summat. Except not Bones, because that’s too Star Trek. Ooh! Maybe Kirk? Or Spock? Suppose I can’t get away with Data or Quark.
*Tessa shuts up before she reveals yet more geekiness*
Don’t know if this list will help, but am procrastinating and this is fun right now…
If you’re going to go piratey, what about:
Sparrow (in a nod to Captain Jack Sparrow)
One-Eyed Willy (The Goonies)
Smugg (shortened form of smuggler)
Jack Tar (a sailor)
Prow (the nose of the ship)
Scally (shortened form of scallywag)
Squiff (squiffy means tipsy)
Swab (although don’t know if you want to bring Q-tips into the book)
Mizzen (the middle of the ship)
Boots (for pirate booty)
Rum (pirates drink this usually, right?)
Leon (galleon) — this seems so random now that I’ve typed it.
And every name that I came across in my search that I liked started, of course, with a “g.”
Actually, I think you could get away with Quark…
As long as he doesn’t transport himself.
More?! You’re on!
Cragge (if Crabbe is too HP)
Gopher comes to mind and please tell me you at least heard of ‘The Love Boat’ and so to keep with that particular trend:
Yeah on the early visit from Kris Kringle.
Santa, Kringle isn’t bad at all! Hmmm…
Sara and Ely, your lists are cracking me up. They’re starting to sound like lists of Santa Claus’s second-string reindeer.
Smollet (I know, 2 syllables)
Aw, I liked Grub! Chow? Eats?
Cog, Depp, Dub, Firth, Fluke, Furl, Jib, Jig, Lub, Lugg, Nip, Pew, Rog, Stubb(s), Tink, Happy, Sleepy, Dopey…
I’m crap at this, but here goes. To me, the greatest one-syllable name in English literature is Pip (Dickens) and the best two-syllable name is Queequeg (Melville). So they’re out.
Ok, here are my nominations for booby prize:
BEAVER — (A perfectly well-named college capitulated and changed its name to Arcadia. I see we reappropriate the word!)
SMEE — This has something to do with a cat, and it also sounds vaguely familiar as if it’s already been used on some sea-faring yarn. I see an eye patch. I see a silver hook. I see I’ve plagiarized.
Just keeping up my end of the conversation.
Congrats on the paycheck, Tessa! I hope you photographed it for the scrapbook! If it has not already been suggested. how about “Snip” or “Snick”? If the man is really hairy and his fellow swabbies give him grief over it they would constantly be creeping up on him and whispering “snip” or “snick” in his ear along with a hand imitation of scissors. It would annoy the dust out of him, BUT it would stick!
Barb – you’ve got barber and Barbary pirates with that one
Smog (along the lines of grub)
Wabe (back to Jabberwocky)