(Thinking About) Writing on Wednesday: Call for Names

On the second day of Christmas, my son’s house is quiet. Grace and Anna are still asleep in their beds, all tired out from yesterday’s activities. (Photos will be on Facebook later… WordPress still isn’t letting me post pictures here for some reason.) Today’s our last day in Denver with our children and grandchildren, so I’m not blogging about writing. Except that I’m thinking about writing. Just as an artist spends lots of time contemplating a picture before painting it, part of the work of a writer is thinking about what to write and how to write it.

I’ve been invited to contribute a short story or essay to an anthology to be published in 2013. The contributors will be reading our stories at the “Shoe Burnin’” in Waterhole Branch (just outside Fairhope, Alabama) in February. It’s an annual event—usually happening in November—where writers and musicians gather to share stories and songs and celebrate life together. More about why it’s called a “shoe burnin’” later.

I’ve already got my story mapped out in my mind. It takes place in the South, of course. Maybe in Mississippi. In the late ‘60s or early ‘70s. The protags are star-struck lovers—a high school football star and his girlfriend—whose lives get turned on their heads by the Vietnam War. And, like Forrest Gump would say, “That’s all I have to say about that.”

This is where YOU come in. Whether you were a teenager in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s or not, what were some of your favorite names during that time? I can’t really get started writing this story until I name my protags. Any suggestions? Please leave them here or in a comment thread on Facebook. Oh, and a third character might be a Waffle House waitress, so I’d also love name suggestions for her….

So, on this Second Day of Christmas, it’s fun to be thinking about these Two Turtle Doves and what I might name them. I hope the rest of the Twelve Days are full of joy for you!

 

12 comments


  • cindy

    http://www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames/decades/names1960s.html

    waffle house waitress: joyce, eva, gloria, marge, flo, dottie, rita, june, norma,

    for girl names: you might want to pick a double name like: sara jo or something like scarlett (i actually knew a girl named that) or like carole, barbara, lyndie, sherry.

    for boy names, you could go traditional name and then give him like nickname. Bo, Trey, Bubba, Junior, Butch, King, Buck, etc.

    Good luck!

    December 26, 2012
    • These are great, Cindy. I really like “Bo,” and actually knew a football player named Bo in high school in the 60s… and then he played at Ole Miss:-) And yes, a double name for the girl might work. Thanks!

      December 26, 2012
  • These may seem boring but I really like Elizabeth and Benjamin. Lizbeth and Ben?

    December 26, 2012
    • Not boring at all, Carol. I didn’t know any Lizbeths in the 60s or early 70s in Mississippi, but I bet there were some. Thanks, always, for reading and commenting.

      December 27, 2012
  • I’ve done tons of research on names for the same reasons and I love this part of gathering my info for a story. What is this story looking like ….. humor, or serious? Look at the historical data from the focus years and remember many parents named their babies after famous people, events or presidential daughters …. and remember those pet names too, like “Little Bit” (if Waffle House waitress name, you know her immediately), a red-headed “Little Red”, or Rosebud, Jo Jo, or normal Caroline or Beth Ann (steal names from people you know!!).
    Those family names (usually only from the more affluent) that come into play in the South such as the girl might be given her mother’s maiden name, like Forsythe, Stone, Wilson, Green or Dreyer (which most times the daughters hate), and the Guy the same …. or the place of conception: Augusta, Savannah, Destin, Westin, Jackson …. or if sortof redneck place, something like Pearl or Monroe. I find that the ‘place of conception’ names can add an entirely different tangent to the storyline.

    December 27, 2012
    • I love research, too, Emma. Great idea about place of conception names… does add a layer of depth to the story. It’s only a short story, not a novel, so I don’t need “too much” back story. It’s going to be dramatic, not humorous. Some suspense involved. I’m liking Jackson for the guy, with Jack as his nickname. (I have a new Godson with that name.) Lots to think about… thanks!

      December 27, 2012
  • Stacy Jensen

    Stephanie, Shannon, Jennifer, Karen, Andrea. My mom had the two Southern names (Sally Ruth ), but my friends did not. I also knew a Fostina.

    December 27, 2012
    • Great ideas, Stacy. I especially like Shannon… my best friend in 4th grade was a Shannon. Thanks for reading and commenting!

      December 27, 2012
  • Susan

    Walker, Wade, Cissy, Susan (popular in the 50s for girls), Lynn, Margaret Ann, Portia (legacy name)

    December 28, 2012
    • Oh, I REALLY like “Walker” for the boy! Thanks, Susan!

      December 28, 2012
  • Bertie DeWane

    Girls’ names – Lynn, Patti, Judy, Beverly, Kathy, Ellen
    Boys’ names – Mike, Randy, Jay, Gary, Bobby

    January 3, 2013
    • Thanks, Bertie!

      January 3, 2013

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