Come on Eileen!

And Maureen, Kathleen and Corrine.  Let’s also have Mary, Margaret and Marilyn.  And of course Dougie, Jimmy and Billy. Without forgetting Theresa, Kevin and Gerard.  Ah, those names from the 50s and 60s.

And here’s what they might have been wearing.

When Jones and I were building our characters for Eight of Cups, we had a real trip down memory lane sharing names from our schooldays.  Jones contributed a few Welsh ones of course – Bethan and Beti.  I had my Morags and Ionas.  In the end we plumped for Patricia, Diane, Lesley, Alix (previously known as Sandra but socially climbing by the time we met her), Nancy and Carys.  Their bell-bottomed, flowery shirted male friends were Michael, Willie, Gerald, Nick, Trevor and JJ (the American one).

Now, however, if we end up writing about their grandchildren, we’ll have go for Kaitlin, Naeve, India, Amber, Lewis, Sonny and Buzz!

Working with friends on ideas for this year’s Bookmark Festival in Blairgowrie, we chatted about fantasy writing.  My problem with that genre is often focused on struggling with the characters’ names, finding it difficult to remember who is who. But I’d never pondered how the author comes up with the names in the first place.  Bruce Crichton gave me some tips:

Take a city name, preferably from another country, and shift the vowels around or substitute the existing vowels with others.  So you can make  Berlin into Birlen or Killin into Kellan.

That does make me wonder where Balin, Bifur, Bofir, Dwalin and Kili came from?  These are five of the dwarves in The Hobbit.

On a lighter note, your name as a folk, or country and western singer can be formed from the name of your first pet combined with the name of a street or town.  So I become Rory Dundee.  Jones becomes Chip Berry, and you might be Bess Aberdeen or Tinker Duveau.  Give it a go!

Next Sunday I am going on a writing workshop at The Bield, near Perth.  I’ll report back with any other good ideas.

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