Tag Archives: character names

Animalistic Combutation

30 Aug

If Shakespeare had asked me “What’s in a name?” I would have answered “Black and white stripes, a trunk, and a ROAR!” For within the animal kingdom creative names hibernate. It’s up to us writers to wake them.

First realize that not all names are unique. Harry Potter comes to mind, but it’s HP’s life story and struggle that paints his picture. More so in the case of the supporting cast, a creative licence can help sprinkle life over a character, or set them apart from the crowd.

Since a writer is the creator of his/her world, it’s not just characters he/she must worry about naming. Everything needs a name. Countries, mountains, things and even an electric plunger must be imagined and appropriately placed within the context of the writer’s world. This can be a taxing affair.

I’ve often hesitated leaping from the inner lightbulb to paper simply because I lacked a name for my overweight Asian-American obsessed with adorning colonial fatigues. The writing commenced only when he was nicknamed ‘Cornwallis.’

While looking to history or pop culture can generate a sparkling name or three, there are other methods. Specifically, ‘Animalistic Combutation,’ my makeshift moniker for cutting, combining and mutating animal species names.

With my legs pushed together, my back uncomfortably straight, and Gladys Dillophant snoring on my shoulder, writing saved me during my flight bound for Taiwan. The more pages I wrote, the better I felt. Though after an hour of continuous penning, I needed a filler.

Happening to think of my favorite animal, the ‘hippopotamus,’ I somehow merged it with the ending for its friend the rhinoceros and came up with “Ceros Potamus.” I thought, “What an evil sounding villian!”

I continued to disect species’ names and combined them to form a buffet of creative, yet familiar sounds. Zear, Lugaboon, and Orsetor may have died on journal page 15, but others such as Panger, Peliraffe and Armazelle are biding their time until they are called upon to brand a person, place, or thing.

Get out those wildlife books, flip on Animal Planet, or pay the zoo a visit. Interchange those animals, and wildy name your world!