admission staff, Alibi, astrological signs, Character, Creative Writing, Daily Prompt, family pets, Nickname, Sorority, Usernames, website username, Writer's Alibi, Writing, writing challenge, Writing Exercises
Naming is everything and everywhere. From a website username to a pet’s name, in this day and age, it’s unavoidable. We all had that email address we thought was the next best thing till we grew up and looked at it thinking, I can’t put that down on any important document. Admission staff may only shake their head at HottxMami94@aol.com (if that’s a real address and you’re over the age of twelve make a new one) but will your prospective employer? That address may get your resume tossed aside. A few choice words strung together is more significant than we think at times.
During my years as an undergraduate, I took a required English course – Introduction to Creative Writing I believe if my memory isn’t too faulty this early in the day – and the professor made a point to spend a week on naming things. Places, characters, and worlds and objects we created all had to have some sort of meaning otherwise why mention it? We didn’t go over titles but that didn’t stop me from applying the same logic. If I’m putting effort, time, and dedication into my writing, why not title it with something amazing that will encompass all that it is?
Isn’t that what our names are supposed to do for us? My name was selected out of the million others because my parents wanted a name that sounded nice, would bring me luck, and fit the little girl in their arms. When naming the family pets, my sister and I toss names back and forth till we hear the name that both feels right and the dog looks like. Haven’t you ever heard a name and said, “he doesn’t look like a Buster”? I’ve come to believe that there is power in a name. The same way there are stereotypes that each culture falls into, there are stereotypes people with certain names demonstrate. The same can be said about astrological signs but that’s another blogging day.
I carry this philosophy with me into my writing. I am willing to spend hours hunting for the perfect name for my characters. Every one, whether mentioned once or hundred times, is significant to the story and deserves a name that represents them. There are moments when some tweaking has to be done to make the perfect name but in the end, when all is done and I’m looking at the list, I get a really deep impression of who these characters are. I do this for for the title as well. Sometimes I get lucky and the right title comes to me right off bat. Then there are the other unlucky days when I have to work harder. For example, with this blog, I had to take a mini thinking session.
What will grab people’s attention? What doesn’t sound too cliche or cookie cutter? What will have a spice of who I am while holding true to what I’m trying to do with the blog? What’s easy, fun, memorable? What won’t I want to change in three weeks?
Those were just some of the questions that helped guide me to “A Writer’s Alibi.” I knew I wanted to start a blog where I could practice my writing (at the time I was thinking purely fiction but now look), share it, get my name out there a little, and get feedback when possible. Thus, the obvious “Writer” part was born. Next was making that simple word stand out but how?
A few weeks ago my sister came home venting about sororities and why she wanted to join one so badly. One of the top reasons so happened to be because she wanted a nickname that only they would know the meaning behind. I could understand that. It would be insider knowledge that tied the group of girls together in their everlasting sisterhood. So, being the fun sisters we are, we started to try and label each other with a nickname.
Now for those who don’t understand what a sorority nickname is, it’s a nickname that you get based off of your actions, favorites, something you said in passing, and then some. It can be anything, and I mean ANYTHING. You can be called Decadence, Tamale, Happy Feet, Gossip, Shorty, or if the girls are really creative, you could end up with a completely made up or mash-up name.
As for my sister and I, we never did come up with a name for each other (though, I think Decidance would be cute for her since she was a dancer). It was afterwards that I fell in love with the name Alibi. It rolled off my tongue, sounded good, tied into my want to be a lawyer, and described my talent for creating a story on the spot whenever my sisters needed one as an alibi.
Since my self naming, I’ve been using variations of Alibi as usernames, avatar names, and titles of social pages on websites like this one and tumblr. So when brainstorming up names for this blog, Alibi hovered in the background till I finally thought about a way to incorporate it. I couldn’t think of anything better or more fitting than “A Writer’s Alibi.” If you’re busy writing there’s no way you can be accused of being somewhere you weren’t or doing something you didn’t and it holds. Same for if you’re busy reading, you’re time is equally accounted for. The more I thought about it, and justified it, the title felt permanent.
That’s how I want every title, character name, subject line, and user/avatar name to be. I want people to take the time to think about what they’re naming and feel that attachment.
After reading all that ramble, what do you think is in a name?