A song called “Wang Dang Doodle” off the definitive Howlin’ Wolf collection got me to thinking about atime in college when we were coming up with our hobo names. In the song are several Blues names.
There are a ton of name generators out there. They can tell you your porn star name, your Jedi name, or your hobo name I suppose. There are others that will help to realistically–if such a word can be applied–invent names for characters in your speculative fiction. They amuse me, but I’ve never used one for the names I come up with her or the names I’ve used elsewhere.
My process is likely to generate same sounding names, but I’ve not really worked it over too hard for a comfortable balance between familiar and different nor have a significantly stressed the volumes needed for epic fantasy. I ain’t worried.
The sound of the word is important to me. The other night I wanted an X. So I riffed from there. For me a word has to look the way it sounds and sound the way it looks. I’m not likely to pull anything Celtic-like out of my book of tricks.
Sometimes I pick a letter or a word form and mouth it over and over. Other times I might take existing words and invert the order. If I do that I normally tweak it so that it isn’t a recognizably backward word. Replace a phoneme or a same sound letter. I like taking the front an back letters off recognizable words too. I think it helps a reader feel at home with the word without knowing why: Ailchas and Iffan are my best examples.
Anyhow, “Tryptophan Dan” popped into my head tonight. Maybe that’s a post-genetic apocalypse name. I can’t imagine tryptophan becoming all that recognizable without some sort of genetic upheaval.
I don’t recall what my hobo name was. I think I know someone that would recall. His name was “Cat-eating Dave”
Word count: 323