Hi everyone, Winnie Griggs here. I’m at that fun (and slightly terrifying) place where I’m starting a brand new book. This will be the third book in my Hope’s Haven series and will feature the third and oldest of the three Eicher sisters, Martha.
One of the key things I need to do before I get started with the actual writing, besides having at least a high level idea of my plot and character goals and motivations, is to nail down the names. And I don’t mean just the protagonists and key players. Just as important to me are the place names and names of pets/animals. In fact I will sometimes spend days trying to come up with something that I feel evokes just the right tone I’m looking for.
I draw on several sources for inspiration. For instance when coming up with town names I’ve used vegetation—names like Dewberry, Whistling Oak, Foxberry, Knotty Pine, Clover Ridge, Sweetgum, Sweetgrass and Nettlesford. Sometimes they’re based on theme, like my ten-book series set in Turnabout or my current series set in Hope’s Haven.
Other times I draw from things around me. For instance a city right next door to where I grew up was called Westwego. As a kid I never thought of it as anything but one word, it was only later that I realized it was made up of the three words west-we-go. Was it perhaps a rallying cry for folks heading west? After all it is located on the west bank of the Mississippi, across from New Orleans. Thinking about that I came up with the town name of Far Enough, sort of the other end of the journey. And another time I spotted a large flock of blackbirds rise up out of a field and circle overhead as a group. That inspired the town name of Pepper Cloud. Sometimes they just come out of left field, like Frog Swallow and Minnow Creek.
Of course there are other things that need naming in a book, most significantly, the animals. Whether it’s pets, horses or other livestock, finding just the right name can prove an elusive task at times. In the past, for cats and dogs) I’ve used names like Smudge, Taffy, Buttons, Poppy, Rufus, Daffy (short for Daffodil), Cookie, Kip and Mustard among others. For horses I’ve used Titan, Monarch, Fletch, Scout, Trib (short for Retribution), Cocoa, Buttermilk and Amber among others. I’ve had a couple of mules named Jubal and Moses. There have also been pet birds I’ve named Cricket, Sweetie Pie and Sundar.
As I said, at the moment I’m in the early stages of my third Hope’s Haven book. I’m currently thinking I will need names for 4 horses (two draft horses and two buggy horses), a dog, a cat and perhaps a goat. I’d love to hear any suggestions for names you might have.
And for those who leave a comment, you’ll be entered in a giveaway of any book on my backlist.
And have you seen what’s coming up on Friday?