Thursday, January 24, 2013

Or Even Glynis or Ashok

For a while now I've been collecting a list of names I want to use in fiction someday. The name is always one of the hardest parts for me in putting a new character in a scene or a story or a book. Sometimes I'll sit there with the blinking cursor for minutes on end, bursting to write the scene, blank for a decent name. Sometimes I'll get stuck altogether and have to hunt down the little book of baby names I bought when I was living in England for this very purpose. But lately I've just been collecting names I like and copying them in a .txt I save on my computer desktop.

Every time I add to my names list, I'm amazed at all the ones I've added before. They all seem so unusual and weird, yet perfectly plausible in isolation. Like Kieran. Not an unrecognizable name, but when you set it in a list next to Charmaine and Augusta and Felix, it starts to seem like no one in my books will ever be named Mike or Julie. My favorite so far is Corisande. (Say it out loud, "Corisande." Isn't it wonderful?) Picked that one up from a Georgette Heyer novel and I don't know if I'll ever even use it, it's so delightful. I'll have to find precisely the right lady on whom to bestow it.

On a similar topic, I also had cause to look up an old-timey synonym for "bitch" the other day. When I ran through a mental list of old-fashioned insults for women, like roundheels, slattern, etc., I realized they were all synonyms for "slut", rather than actually "bitch". Insulting a woman in an old-timey way inevitably entails casting aspersions on her sexual behavior. Which is depressing, because women do lots of bad things that don't relate to sleeping around (which is debatably not even such a bad thing to do). More words like ruffian and jackanapes and blackguard are needed for women, if you ask me. A wider variety of insults for period writers to choose from.

In any event, my slang dictionary didn't list any synonyms for "bitch" and my Googling didn't help much, so for the time being I'm stuck with that word. It was certainly in use during the year I've set this book, but I'd've preferred something more expressive and less common.

Random lines from yesterday's work:
"Carys," I said, "do you know every important person in town?"
"Yes," she deadpanned. "And all the favors I owe them seem to go straight to your benefit." 
In other news, tonight there will be Manos, the Hands of Fate Rifftrax in the movie theater. Oh boy oh boy oh boy. Next week is Plan 9 from Outer Space, but I saw that one a couple of years ago and I'll live without seeing it again. You should go, though. "Future events such as these will affect you in the future, for that is where you and I will spend the rest of our lives." A Jonathan Coulton performance is part of the package. Details here.


Maleesha said...

I have been told by the authorataaaahs that 'Maleesha' is a fantastic name for an ass-kicking superhero. Really in any genre or era. I'll be on the lookout for that.

Katharine Coldiron said...

Duly noted.