What’s in a name? (21/2/2011)

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Progress report: Second draft of The Black Mausoleum completed. No significant structural defects apparent. MS will be delivered on time. Possibly early to make up for the last one. However, there’s just one little detail to be ironed out…

The Black Mausoleum revolves around a smaller number of characters than the previous books in The Memory of Flames, arguably five, depending on whether you count the dragon or not. However, there are a handful of very minor supporting characters kicking about, in particular a couple of hapless dragon-riders and a band of dragon-hunters to whom bad things happen. These are the red-shirts, the spear-carriers, utterly two-dimensional and more akin to part of the scenery than an actual character. They’re speaking parts, but only just, and in some cases, their speaking is limited to saying “Argh!” Right now, they need some names. Currently they’re called Lenk, Logan, Nico (short for Nicodemus) and, er… Dave[1]. It’s possible my editor may have some issues with this selection.

So yes, they need some names. I have a back-catalogue of other people’s annoying RPG characters that I’d happily use and then gain vicarious pleasure from watching them die in various burny squishy ways, but before I do that, here’s an open invitation to all you readers out there: send me a name for someone you’d like to see stomped on by a dragon/crushed under a falling temple/burned/eaten/eaten by canibals. They kind of have to be fantasy-ish and not either obviously copyright infringements or likely to get me thumped by another author at some future con, but other than that, I’ll pick and choose as I fancy from whatever I’m offered and there might be a note on the source in the acknowledgements…

[1] Because they’re Extras and I have a mate called Dave who looks exactly like… oh never mind.

Names (26/10/09)

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Right, so I’m off to Germany, King of the Crags is with Gollancz and the great re-write-athon is briefly paused before I launch back into The Thief-Taker’s Apprentice for one last[1] time. Who knows, I might even manage to write something new for a few days. In the meantime, though, I have a little competition to keep the three of you who read this amused.

See, I’ve noticed several authors of fantasy offering up bit parts in their novels. I think there was a competition to get a name into the last Wheel of Time novel. One of the prizes at the David Gemmel Legend Awards was choosing a character name for a cameo appearance in a forthcoming Stan Nicholls story. Most recently, Pat Rothfuss is auctioning off an appearance in A Wise Man’s Fear for charity. Maybe it’s the next big thing in getting close to our readers?

Or maybe not. As Pat amusingly observes, there are… issues. So here’s the deal. I want to see your worst-nightmare names for a cameo appearance in any fantasy book. Not ones that infringe copyright or ones that look more like a password, but recognisable original names that would make someone like me tear out what little hair I have left if faced with trying to crowbar them into an existing story. Something to really make me cringe. The one that makes me laugh the most gets a randomly selected prize. The more I laugh, the bigger the prize.

The benchmark to beat is Spartacus Beefcake (Studd’s big brother), but I’m sure y’all can do better. Cringe-worthy RPG character names are welcome.

[1] Last except for the editorial re-write. And the copy-edit rewrite, the ‘oh, I’ve just had another good idea’ rewrite and the ‘oh, that wasn’t such a great idea after all’ rewrite. And the proof-read (but that doesn’t really count).