Game Of Thrones: Costumes

*jaw drops* Okay, I’ve got to admit that I’ve never watched this show, but there’s enough social buzz about it that I know what’s going on. You don’t need to know a thing about it to appreciate these dresses.


THIS IS A TV SHOW. I want to hug whoever created these. The imagination!!


Hyperbole and a Half returns!

In case you missed it, Allie Brosh is back!

For the uninitiated: Hyperbole and a Half is a hilarious (and slightly profane) webcomic from the creative genius that is Allie Brosh. She stopped posting approximately 18 months ago, so yesterday’s post is much heralded (5,000 comments as of this posting!). Don’t let the drawings fool you; she’s as funny and accurate as the best of them, and her last two posts on the depression that sent the blog on hiatus are as real as you get while still maintaining your sense of humor.

Check out her “Best Of” posts on her sidebar if you’ve never read her stuff–The God Of Cake and This Is Why I’ll Never Be An Adult are two of my favorites.


Tell The Truth Tuesday

1. I left class early last night because I was falling asleep. I’ve never done that, but last night was impossible. Governmental accounting until 9 pm while running off a weekend that featured less than 4 hours of sleep a night? Not happening.

2. I was planing on getting 8 hours of sleep last night. I overslept my alarm and got 9 hours instead. Whoops.

3. On Thursday I have an appointment with a doctor to go over the results of some blood tests I had done. My mom wants to go with me, even though I’m not dying, and the blood tests are actually pretty routine for me. I suppose I should feel gratified that she’s interested in my health, but having her along tends to complicate things more than I would like.

4. Do you ever feel like you’re dependent on your vehicle? My car may be an ancient, unattractive thing known as “The Green Bomb”, but I’d rather be driving it than the family vehicle that handles like a semi and is not ipod compatible, no matter than 5-years-newer difference.

5. This is my new favorite chart.


What’s happening in your corner of the world today?

Getting past the A’s

“Always end the name of your child with a vowel, so that when you yell the name will carry.” — Bill Cosby

I have over a dozen stories/WIPs/scribbles/drool-on-the-page, most written during high school, that feature the lead and/or a main character whose name begins with “A”. Why? Because when I would look for a name, I started at the beginning. Of the alphabet.

I never got very far. I tried branching out, tried starting at the other end, but I couldn’t get away from it. I just liked “A” names!

Until I started actually trying to analyze the names beyond the fact that the spelling looked cool. Was I naming them that because I liked it, or because it was the right name for them? I realized that names should be age appropriate. I tried to get close to my characters by asking questions of the [fictional] friends/family/acquaintances around them. Did Mom still call him by his childhood nickname? Did she realize that he was grown up now? Was she named after her grandma? How did she feel when that grandma died last year? Do her closest friends call her the same name that her family does? Does he like the stigma/class association that his name comes with?

I realized that a name is a lot more than just a place-marker in an alphabetized list. A name is your title, your label, your demise, your cover, your true face, your past, your expectations…

And then another realization: a name can mean something to you that you never communicate to your reader. This isn’t a bad thing. There are hundreds of hours of research and backstory and scene-telling and all else that never makes it into the final draft. What matters is the understanding and the nuance that it gives to you to be able to write.

Maybe your readers will never know that Trish was named after her Grandma Patricia. But it’s the extra layer that reminds you of Trish’s close bond with her family. Maybe they won’t know that Elizabeth’s childhood nickname of “Liz” turned into taunts of “Lizzy, lousy, lazy” in middle school (Little Town On The Prairie, anyone?). But you know that she can’t stand the boy next door for calling her that “Liz”, even though he doesn’t know.

Maybe this is why writing can feel so selfish sometimes? Because it’s like we are sharing secrets with ourselves–one of those hundred little things that’s an in-joke with yours truly.

So, how do you choose your character names? What goes into the consideration of a name?

…Are you past the A’s?

As a postscript:

I’ve really enjoyed using some of the name lists online as a research base for many of my names. Here are a few…

Pros: The name entries are very detailed, with diminutive, feminine/masculine versions of the names, a detailed history, instant popularity stats by country, etc. The site also features many different name lists by meaning, ethnicity, color, theme. It also has popularity lists by year for many different countries.

Cons: The detailed histories/explanation behind the name aren’t very concise.

(For surnames, you can check out their related website:

Pros: Simple explanations, popularity lists, some name lists (including ethnicity ones).

Cons: Too simple? It doesn’t have all the detail level like behindthename does.

This isn’t a name generator. But this is a great place to learn about a name. For a stat geek like me: the rank, most common age, history for US births…I love it. It’s a good place to find alternates of a name you like, and also to check what age your name is currently associated with. You can do this for surnames, also.

What do you use to help you find names?