Today I am delighted to welcome the hilarious Matt Brown to the blog for a special guest post to celebrate his latest book, ‘Aliens Invaded My Talent Show,’ illustrated by Paco Sordo. Eric Doomsday loves doing magic tricks. But even though his best friend, Vinnie, thinks they’re great, they always seem to go a bit…..wrong. When some very important school inspectors threaten to close down Eric’s school, his headmistress decided to put on a talent show. A talent show with Eric in it. And Eric’s magic tricks. Thank goodness the Earth isn’t been inspected by aliens at the same time! Because magic, aliens and talent shows are sure to be a horrible mix…..Aren’t they? This madcap adventures sounds absolutely brilliant and Paco’s illustrations are just bursting with comic moments, this looks like a really winning combination.
Creating Awesome Character Names – Matt Brown
Sir Ziggy Silverdale
Is that a great name for a character, or what? I see Sir Ziggy as a brilliant detective, brought in by the baffled police to help crack a case. Or perhaps Sir Ziggy is a secret jewel thief, or super-villian. Well, anyway, the name Sir Ziggy Silverdale was really easy to come up with. Keep reading and I’ll let you in on some of my character naming secrets.
You see, creating strong character names is really important to me. When I’m writing a book, I can’t properly begin to work out who a character is, or what they sound like, until I am one hundred percent completely happy with their name. And in a book there are usually a LOT of characters.
In my new book, Aliens Invaded My Talent Show!, I created over thirty new characters. That means that I had to come up with thirty new character names and in order to do this I used a few different methods.
Naming Method Number 1: Place Names
Quite a few characters in Aliens Invaded My Talent Show! were named after places that are familiar to me. For example, Vinnie Mumbles is named after a beautiful part of the south Wales coastline near where I grew up. And Betty Goonhaven is named after a village in Cornwall, which is near where I went on holiday last year. If you’re stuck for a juicy surname then look on a map.
Naming Method Number 2: Collective Nouns
All the teachers in Aliens Invaded My Talent Show! have surnames that are collective nouns for different animals. The headteacher is Mrs Tittering, a tittering is a group of magpies. There is a Ms Fesnying (ferrets). And a Mrs Mustering (storks).
Naming Method Number 3: Asking My Son
My son, Sam, contributed three different character names to Aliens Invaded My Talent Show! They were all invented characters that he created for other things that he then said I could use because I loved them so much. So, he had a teddy that he called Steve Enjoy, which became the hamster in my book. We used to play a game on car journeys that he created Jonny Smuthers for (the game is very complicated so I shan’t go into that here). And he has always loved the name Cheeseballs and so Barry Cheeseballs became a YouTuber in my book. If you have access to a nine-year-old and you need character names then just ask them.
Naming Method Number 4: The Pet/Street Equation
And so we return to Sir Ziggy Silverdale. He is a product of the most effective character name generator that I’ve ever come across. You simply take the name of your pet (or a pet of a friend) and combine it with your street/village/town name. Ziggy is the name of my dog and ‘Silverdale’ is the name of a road we used to live on. Then I simply added the ‘Sir’ for a bit of extra pizzazz. Go on, have a go, I’m sure there’s a brilliant character name just waiting to be created.
You can check out all the names I created for Aliens Invaded My Talent Show! from 28th June, 2018, when the book comes to all good bookstores. I really hope you like it.
Why not join in with the rest of the blog tour for my guest posts and giveaways.
Thank you to Matt for this really inspiring blog post I always find naming characters tricky so this is really useful. Thanks to Liz Scott and Usborne for sending me a copy of this funny book and for inviting me to join in with the blog tour. ‘Aliens Invaded My Talent Show,’ is available to buy now online or from any good bookshop.