Keith is a special kind of guy, and he needed a special name. I wanted something punk, but gross, but a little bit silly. For inspiration, I looked up lists of words that people think are the grossest in the English language. I also looked up lists of real, actual last names that nobody in their right mind would want to have. Names like:
Cocks, Willies, Bottoms. Nutters, Dafts, Jellys, Piggs, Baggot, Goggin, Gaggin, Gag, Grave, Stranger, Slow, Crankshaw, Onion, Willy, Poor, Hustler, Glasscock, Shufflebottom, Dungworth, Clutterbuck, Hardmeat, Bonefat, Turtle, Cornfoot, Hole, Drain.
I mean, come on. Clutterbuck? Say that three times fast. I dare you not to snigger like a seventh-grader drawing penises in his algebra book.
I had a great time coming up with Keith’s name. For once, I didn’t have to rein myself in: I could go all Dickens with my godlike powers** of writerly naming.
What do you think: are character names important to the story you want to tell? Sometimes? All of the time?
Is it fun coming up with character names? Or a pain in the neck?***