Friday, July 23rd, 2010

Writing Prompt: What’s In a Name?

I chose the Dean Koontz novel, Intensity, for my beach reading today. I’m a big fan of Koontz, having been introduced to him by my mom when I was eleven or twelve. She’d picked up Whispers and we both fought over it one summer…one of us grabbing it to read a chapter if the other layed it down for even a minute.

Intensity was published in 1995, but for whatever reason, I never got around to reading it. It’s more violent than I would have given Koontz credit for, but still written in his same brilliant voice.

I’m nearly a hundred pages in, and the villian Edgler Foreman Vess is thinking about all the “powerful” words he can make out of the letters of his name. He comes up with God, fear, demon, save, rage, anger, dragon and a slew of others. According to Vess, these, along with some mystical words (dream, vessel, lore, forever) seem to embody the type of man he is.

Of course, the character, Vess, and his name are a creation of Koontz. I’d guess Koontz chose the mystical, powerful words first and then re-arranged them to find Vess’s name.

But what about your name? What kind of mystical, powerful — or other — words are in your name?

In just a few moments, I came up with several in mine:

harm hear more melon
hark lore roam harmony
key re loam rely
lye rye lemon mar
money yell kaon alarm
lay helm realm Rome
moan moral lone mare


(There’s nothing more powerful than a lone melon, eh?).

Here’s your prompt: Find a clean sheet of paper and write your name across the top. Use your middle initial, or your complete middle name for this exercise. Your choice. Set a timer for ten minutes and see what kind of words are hidden in your own name. Don’t worry if you come up with proper nouns…this isn’t one of those games that disqualifies them. All real words count…even two-letter ones, though I doubt you could come up with any powerful two letter words. (Go ahead, I dare you to prove me wrong.)

If you want, classify the words when you’re done. Do you “own” some power words, or some mystical ones? Maybe yours are funny or soulful. Choose five words from your list and write about yourself using those words.

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