30 Sep 2013 10:07 am

A Road Map of Names

If you're like me, finding names for characters is tricky. For every Sherlock Holmes and James Bond, there's tons of names which range from less striking to downright terrible. While traveling to Door County, Wisconsin, however, I managed to perfect a writing exercise which kills two birds with one stone - finding names and boring car rides. Here's how it works:

Try to create a person's name from those green road signs on the Interstate. I had the best luck with those signs which show the distances to upcoming towns and cities, but I also used exit signs and simple street signs as well. You can even use directions (like south and north) if it makes for a compelling name. You don't have to use the full street or city name, but try not to alter them too much (it takes away the fun). Here's the names I jotted down between Milwaukee and Beloit -

Madison Lake
Lincoln Mitchell
Miles Holt
Miles Alverno
Howard Holt
Morgan Holt
Rawson Drixsel
Forest Loomis
Valder Chifton
Sunny Mooreland
Calhoun Racine
Martin Calhoun
Troy Evergreen
Fox Edgewood
Ford Oaksdale
Troy Elkhorn
Troy Bauers
Stone Bauers
Potter Walworth
Elk Barrington
Genva Madison
Elk Williams
And my personal favorite - Mantiwoc Du Luc

So if you're scrambling for character names, try this out on your next road trip or family outing. You might find it's pretty easy to build up a reservoir of names just going down the street.

(That's it for this rant. Check out a new Blue Yonder next week.)

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