W is for…Winklewell

Okay, okay. Yet another crazy name to add to the A-Z blog post journey through my WIP ‘Prophecy of Innocence’. But wait. There is a slight twist on this one because Winklewell is not, I repeat not, named after any British place name or motorway service station.

And in that fact he and his wife, Clarentine, remain unique. He was the first elfling I named and in all likelihood he will need re-naming and this is why I chose him for today’s W blog post.

I have no idea where the name Winklewell came from or how it sprang into my subconscious onto the paper. If my memory serves correctly I think it was as simple as I typed it. His name were the first two words I typed for chapter one; I still remember the line now, though the line has long since been assigned to the recycle bin:  ‘Winklewell Snorsegrave smiled contentedly to himself.’ I believe I almost intended for him to be the main character out of all the elflings however if you’ve read my T post you’ll know how an why that changed as it did.

Anyhow. Winklewell’s name was where the three syllable thing started. I quickly noticed how the motorway service station names I’d chosen had three syllables too and then when creating new names I’d amalgamate place names I liked to keep to the three syllable rule. But Winklewell and Snorsegrave are both entirely made up, though not consciously. I didn’t spend ages thinking about it – more more like seconds.

And herein lies the problem. You’ll perhaps recall me mentioning in my V is for Villains post yesterday about myself and a friend laughing about Winklewell’s name? Well this was not so much the actual Winklewell part but more the abbreviation of it. It was not something I’d even thought about when writing the name a hundred times. Even speaking it out loud to myself when reading I didn’t think anything of it. However, it is often the case it takes another person to point out the bleedin’ obvious.

One convention or world ‘rule’ I have for the elflings is how they abbreviate each other’s names. That is, they shorten it to end in y and thus, a three syllable name becomes a two syllable name. Because let’s face it, if everyone you knew had a three syllable name, you’d shorten it. Besides, it doesn’t sound natural for them to refer to each other by their full names all of the time.

So for example Toddington becomes Toddy, Happendell becomes Happie, (conscious decision to not have y here) and  Edingworth becomes Eddy.

You can probably see far more clearly than I could where this is going with Winklewell.

Yes, I must have written Winky numerous times and never once made the link that winky is quite often used as a slang word for a little boy’s tinkler. (Despite my own little boy using the word frequently!)

So. Here’s the thing. Children will (hopefully) read this. But it is likely many children will make the Winky link straight away and won’t be able to stop sniggering to get to the point of enjoying the story. If Prophecy could be a book read only in the head I could possibly get away with it. But how many parents are going to want to snuggle down at story time with their children to have to read the word Winky over and over? (Not that it’s there every other page or anything, but still.)

Now, I have two options:

1) Change his name. Completely.

2) Don’t have anyone abbreviate it in the book EVER. (Middlewich and Shaftsbury as older and more serious elflings never have their names shortened so there is the possibility this could be a ‘rule’.)

But looking at option two I’m not entirely convinced I can get away with it. He has a wife and she is the principle character who refers to him as Winky (oh it just gets worse doesn’t it?) as does his best friend, Middlewich. But Winklewell is not an altogether serious character. he tells bad jokes and as the story progresses he acts on impulse so it suits him to have a nickname. However, now having just written this I think a name change might  be necessary.

I may well change him to Wetherby (although I had this name reserved for another minor character in book 2). Other than that I can feel another trawl through the AA road map coming on…

Thoughts? 🙂



Filed under Characters, General Rambliings, Writing

7 responses to “W is for…Winklewell

  1. Interesting… erm… problem to have! Now I’m paranoid about all the made up names in my own book. Gonna have to run each one of them through Urban Dictionary just to be sure. Anyway, Wetherby’s a good substitute if need be.

  2. Ooh now I want to know what names you have which require checking Urban Dictionary! 😀

  3. Actually a lot of them are based on characters and crewmembers from Barry Lyndon. Eg., the cinematographer John Alcott inspired a “Lord Falcott” and so on and so forth. But now I’m terrified that “Falcott” is a euphemism for saggy boobs or something.

  4. cedrixclarke

    In my WIP the antagonist gives all of the other characters nicknames, based upon personality types… One in particular isn’t so nice and has so many meanings, all intended. I’ve had a lot of fun with the names as I’ve been writing. I only mention this because reading your A to Z blog brought it to the forefront of my mind. Hearing the way you came up with names of your characters and the places has given me great joy. This isn’t part of the process writers talk about much. To my knowledge, Tolkien never explained where he came up with the name Lord Sauron. 🙂

    • Ah well Tolkien never had an a- z blog challenge to get through! 😉 Yours sounds like fun. I can’t wait to read it. I do like the process of naming things and creating something from scratch. Some names are totally made up, some are amalgamations and others well, they are just place names I think make good names! Maybe authors don’t talk about it as they like to keep a little mystery back, but as it’s something, especially when I read the Harry Potter books, I became fascinated with. guess I like to explain and show where my thoughts are coming from and that they aren’t just totally random. Oh and why it’s taken me so long to write and re-write!

  5. Pingback: Y is for… Youth | Writeaway

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