Day 19: Beyond a name

Day nineteen, what does it mean?

In today’s super quick edition of plucking writing ideas right out of thin air, we’re gonna work with something you should be intimitely familiar with: your own dang name.

It may be the name you were born with. It may be one you married into. It may be one you chose for yourself. It may be double-barrelled (fancy!). You may have a middle name, or two, or none. Whatever, we’re not fussy.

The point is, we’re pretty sure you have some sort of name and you can use some kind of search engine or baby name book to look up its meaning, right?

Right. So go do that now. In fact, do it for ALL of your names, just for variety and so you have a few to choose from.

And now we let you into one of the deepest, darkest WHQ secrets of all. Our REAL names…

A gif of a woman looking surprised and saying "what?"

Oh, wait, you know them already. Well, here they are anyway, along with their meanings:

Joanna gift from god (you’re WELCOME) Mary drop in the ocean / bitter Gatford gate by the ford


Sarah princess (damn right) no-middle-name Lewis glory / battle

A lot to work with right there!

Characters, locations, emotions, action!

An oceanic messiah!

A bitter argument by a fence!

A princess leading an army to glory!

I want to write all of those stories immediately!

Your turn:

Gif of a man using sign language to say "what's your name?"

Look up the meaning/s of your name/s, or steal someone else’s name because these rules are entirely made up and all that matters is that you get a spark of an idea to write something in the next 20 minutes.

Then GO! Write like the wind! Until your name has magically turned into a weird and wonderful narrative and you’ll never look at it the same again!

There are so many exclamation points in this exercise!

Let’s have another one!

Put one in your story!


Then have a nice quiet sit down because that was all quite intense. Oh, and let us know how you got on in the forums of course. We’ll see you tomorrow.


Useful Stuff & Things

Blog: Want an extra ingredient to add to your story soup? Pick an emotion, any emotion…

Course: Or try this exercise from Writing Short Fiction: In which identity theft is a completely valid method of characterisation (content warning: dementia)

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