Saturday, April 25, 2015

A to Z Challenge – V – Cult Classics: Videodrome, Van Halen, Venus, and More! Plus Tips for Generating Speculative Fiction Names

A to Z Challenge – Cult Classics – V
Movies-Music-Sci-fi Book-Bloggers-Dragon Term






Movies –

Videodrome
Directed by David Cronenberg, this mind-tripping science fiction/horror film received mixed reviews and did poorly at the theater. It found new life on video and received numerous awards.

V for Vendetta
This 2005 British film was release shortly after the 400th celebration of Guy Fawkes Night. Based on a graphic novel, the film won numerous awards.




Music –

Van Halen – 5150
The first album to feature Sammy Hagar as lead singer, 5150 debuted at number one and spawned many singles.

Science Fiction Book –

Venus series by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Begun in 1934, this four book and one novelette series is also known as the Amtor Series. The stories have made several comic book appearances.



Blogger –

Vanessa Morgan
Are you fascinated by film? Want to know more about foreign films and festivals? Want to see amazing travel photos from around the world? Then you need to visit filmmaker Vanessa!

Dragon of the Stars Term –

Vardy
Engineer Geld Vardy worked on several systems for the Dragon. Desperate to find the ship, the Hyrathian Council instructed him to develop a way to track it and accompany the team searching for the ship. He and Aden clash though…

Dragon of the Stars is out now!
Check out the site What Are the Kargrandes? for clues as to how they tie into the story.


Very Special Gatehaven Release

Melissa Maygrove announced a very special release yesterday – a study guide by her mother!

The Gatehaven Study Guide by Jeanette Pierce

The Gatehaven study guide is a pair of workbooks for students and teachers that is designed for use with Gatehaven, an award-winning novel by Molly Noble Bull. Gatehaven is a gothic novel with a strong Christian message, based on Ephesians 6:11. Set in a scary mansion in the north of England in 1794, Shannon Aimee and Ian Colquhoun battle an evil Frenchman with dark secrets.

Buy the workbooks here: Kindle Student guide, Kindle Teacher's guide, Nook Student guide, Nook Teacher’s guide, Amazon Paperback Student guide, and Amazon Paperback Teacher’s guide

Generating Names for Speculative Fiction

Yesterday, there were several questions regarding naming characters at my guest post with Susan Gourley. How did I come up with the names? I have several different means for generating speculative fiction names.

The simplest is to brainstorm. Write down every unusual word that comes to mind on a piece of paper. Don’t think about characters – just churn out names. Keep the alphabet handy and don’t duplicate a first letter. That will guarantee that all the names are unique.

Apply a characteristic to the names if they need to be uniform. For CassaFire, all the Tgren names needed to begin with a vowel. That was my jumping off point. Maybe all the names need to be two syllables or end with a certain letter.

Look around and pick random words. Now mutate them. The word ‘world’ becomes Wireld. ‘Stars’ becomes Sturess. ‘Rock’ becomes Fock. Anything is possible!

Choose a cultural group of names and alter them. For Dragon of the Stars, I chose a variety of first and last names that were old British. Then I changed one or two letters to come up with names for the Hyrathians. This could be done with any language or culture.

The key is to keep them simple and easy to pronounce. Some of the names I’ve selected were a challenge, but overall I’ve picked simple names that wouldn’t trip up the reader. This is really important for speculative fiction, as readers are already contending with new words in the form of people, places, and things. If those words are complex or difficult to pronounce, the reader might give up.

Have fun with it though. Let those creative juices flow and come up with names that are epic!

Remember Videodrome? Which version of Van Halen do you like best? Want to know why Geld Vardy clashes with Aden? Have you read Gatehaven? And how do you go about generating names for your characters…?

If you missed it, I visited Susan Gourley on Friday and discussed a race called the Utothiaz.

108 comments:

nashvillecats2 said...

Great "V" post Alex, enjoyed reading the reviews of films and books.

Have a most enjoyable week-end.
Yvonne.

Li said...

I have a notebook with names and variations culled from police reports, obituaries, and historical texts, as well as local place names, hotel/restaurants/tavern names, etc. from places I've traveled.
Two of my favorites are the Hog Penny Pub and the Hungry Parrot.

kaykuala said...

Remembered Van Halen very well! Btw Alex,Hank has replied to your email. Thanks a lot once again. Extremely obliged,sir!

Hank

Rhonda Albom said...

I use Scriviner for writing and it has a built in name generator. I can set the parameters, and it gives me options. I was wondering if you planned them all around the AtoZ, as it all fits so nicely with you latest book.

mail4rosey said...

I love travel pictures from around the world. Headed over to see Vanessa.

I liked 5150, but the older records were my fave.

Hubby saw Hagar in concert (solo) and said he did a great job.

Michael Abayomi said...

V for Vendetta is one of my favorite graphic novel adaptations, surpassed only by Watchmen, both of whom were written by Alan Moore.

Spacerguy said...

V for Vendetta is a great movie with depth and interesting characters. I enjoyed watching it. The force is strong with Susan Gourley, I must find out more.

Spacerguy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennifer Hawes said...

I love the fact that you mutate names! I enjoy picking names for my characters (& nicknames:)

Bob R Milne said...

Van Hagar, Alex? Really? And here I thought you had such good taste in music. :)

If we can stretch the definition of movie to include a miniseries, I'd have to add the original (forget the crappy reboot) V miniseries. That absolutely blew my mind as a kid, especially the first time we saw a lizard peel off its face.

Sandra Almazan said...

Sometimes typos can inspire names and SF terms as well.

Lisa said...

v for vendetta yes, my son's most favorite movie, interesting to learn how you name the characters, I think characters grow into their names or their names grow into them, the most prominent character in my head now is House

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Lisa, that was a good idea. You'll always have a list.

Hank, excellent!

Rosey, I've seen Van Halen with both leads and Hagar solo.

Michael, they were both excellent.

Bob, I watched the series. And hey, what can I say? I liked Van Halen with Hagar better.

Sandra, that they can!

Cindy said...

I agree with your method of naming characters. If names are too unusual, they get harder to remember. Keeping it simple can be genius.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Tons of interest about how you come up with names. Glad you answered them today on your blog. I haven't read Gatehaven. I do remember Videodrome but I haven't watched it for a long time.

Melissa said...

Thank you so much for the shout-out for Mom! :)

Chrys Fey said...

I saw most of V for Vendetta. I thought it was pretty strange.

Christine Rains said...

Great ways of playing around to get names. I always have fun in various ways too. Have a wonderful Saturday!

Jo said...

Vardy was a pain in the butt. I am interested in the way you generate names for your books. I never realised there was so much to it before. I do know what you mean about making them easy to read or say though. I have read some books where the names were impossible.

The Happy Whisk said...

Enjoy your weekend with your Honey Bunny, Alex.

Cheers and boogie boogie.

Manzanita said...

Tricks of the trade
Names that won't fade
Enjoy your weekend

Pat Hatt said...

I enjoyed v for vendetta. That is a good way to come up with names. Beats my, close my eyes, hit a bunch of buttons and then make a name out of the letters I hit lol

Jay Noel said...

I didn't watch V for Vendetta until much later, after all the hype. I enjoyed it.

5150 was a surprisingly good album. Many of us had our doubts, but Sammy seemed to click with the VH brothers.

Looking forward to hosting you on Monday!

Patricia Stoltey said...

You have an interesting method of working out names, Alex. Even though your work is sci fi and mine is crime fiction, contemporary or historical, I still got some new ideas for naming characters.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

You and Li have great ideas on how to generate names. Oops! A hospital just called for rare blood. Gotta jet!

Mary Aalgaard said...

Excellent tips on naming your characters. Before I read that, I thought, Vardy, that's a great name. My son (the one who likes reading your books) was talking about coming up with new worlds and names. We used some of those tactics, and I'll share the rest with him! Thanks.

jaybird said...

I remember thinking Sammy Hagar would just kill Van Halen. And then really liking the album and having to eat my words.

Stephen Hayes said...

I listened to a lot of Van Halen back in the day--isn't that how old people say it?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Cindy, very true.

Melissa, you're welcome!

Jo, I didn't want to do that to my readers, so I tried to keep them simple. For the most part anyway.

Pat, that sounds like a fun way to make names!

Jay, Monday will be fun! Thanks again.

Patricia, that's good.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Loved your name post at Susan's blog, Alex! And I'm a fan of the "original" Van Halen a little more than the Hagar experience. I'll have to check out Gatehaven. :)

J.L. Campbell said...

That's the second time I've seen Vendetta featured today and thanks for the intro to Vanessa.

Great tips for coming up with suitable names.

S. L. Hennessy said...

I love V for Vendetta (though I'm partial to the graphic novel). And Van Halen is definitely some of my favorite road trip music! And I finished Dragon of the Stars! LOVED it.

Arlee Bird said...

Don't know which version of Van Halen I like best but 5150 is my favorite VH album. Actually it's probably the only one I've heard in its entirety.

Arlee Bird
A to Z Challenge Co-host
Wrote By Rote

Kathryn McKendry said...

I really enjoyed Vendetta, and of course Van Halen is awesome.
I can see I really need to go back and look into a lot of the old sifi-books, cause I haven't read most of the ones you've posted.

I love coming up with new character names. I like using Hindi words and changing them up. But you've shared some great ideas!

Robin said...

Sounds like Names might be one more thing for the ole writing notebook where ideas either breathe or die.

Van Halen. I preferred David Lee Roth as the lead singer. But I know plenty of people liked Sammy better. At least they didn't look for a Roth knock-off. That alone makes him a better choice than anyone else as a replacement.

Trisha F said...

I haven't seen any of those movies!

Love Van Halen.

Aaand I love coming up with names whenever I wrote speculative fiction, too. :)

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Enjoyed your message about generating names. What fun to create all new ones to use in stories!

Annalisa Crawford said...

A friend introduced me to Van Halen when I was about 14. She also gave me copies of WASP and The Waterboys albums. I credit her with my eclectic tastes!

Annalisa, writing A-Z vignettes, at Wake Up, Eat, Write, Sleep

J.H. Moncrieff said...

Interesting post, Alex! I usually use online baby name sites for my characters' names. Sometimes I use the last name of a person I know as a tribute.

As for Van Halen, I liked the David Lee Roth version. Sammy was great, but they lost a lot of the showmanship.

Hart Johnson said...

Van Halen was my first foray into metal music. Loved them, particularly in the Roth years. I saw them in concern in 1980 and MAN the gymnastic piece of his show (plus his humor--Hagar didn't have Roths yen to laugh, I don't think)

Holy Ghost Writer said...

Van Halen is the perfect choice

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

Vanessa is such a nice lady too. Her reviews are spot-on and her photos give me a bad travel itch.
Happy weekend, Alex.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Mary, glad it helped!

Jaybird, were they tasty?

Stephen, I'm afraid so...

Lauren, awesome! Glad you enjoyed it.

Lee, the only one?

Kathryn, thanks!

Robin, good point.

Annalisa, that's quite the variety.

Hart, Hagar had his own style.

L.G. Keltner said...

Coming up with names is a fun process, and I like your method for doing it. I could imagine turning something like that into a party game. Whoever invents the coolest name wins a prize. Hmmm. I'm now seeing why I don't get invited to that many parties. :)

Stephen Tremp said...

Last night I had a Van Halen concert (YouTube) that was on the Las vegas Strip. David Lee Roth sounded the same but looks like such a dorkus malorkus I had to laugh. Eddie looked and sounded good. Not sure who the bass player was. Someone new.

cleemckenzie said...

You're the second blog with Vendetta featured, and I've never heard of it before.

Marie Moody said...

Hey, wait a second you had Dragon of the Stars for U... what's up wit dat??? hehehe Okay what else do you have here Videodrome... oh boy that one was truly wild... and you have oh my gosh, I should've thought of that Vendetta. Being Sicilian I definitely should've thought of that. hahahaha Well these are all great my new friend... Thanks again for stopping by :) At least one person likes me here. hehehe

Michelle Wallace said...

Great ideas for generating words/names/places!
I must try some of those. I love anything to do with words and playing around with words...

ediFanoB said...

V for Vendetta is for me the second best graphic novel adataption after Watchmen.

It is interesting that both were written by Alan Moore.



Shah Wharton said...

I usually know the name of my hero before the idea for the story comes to me. I see them, kind of know them, and the story comes around that image of them. They already know their names. :) I do struggle with he rest of the cast though sometimes, but I just search through Google for inspiration and something soon pops up.

Love Vanessa Morgan already - she gets to go to amazing places, and V for Vendetta is a fave movie!

PS: My comment box is fixed :)

shahwharton.com

Jeffrey Scott said...

Good selections today. Love Van Halen.
Every November 5th, I watch Back to the Future and V for Vendetta.

Nilanjana Bose said...

Really enjoyed the explanations of name generation...haven't seen any of the films though have heard of them..

Shell Flower said...

That is a really helpful explanation of name generating. I could tell you had a system and it seems to work. The Game of Thrones books drive me nuts with the too similar names. I was confused for a long time. And my fave Van Halen is with Sammy Hagar.

J E Oneil said...

Some of my friends wanted to watch Videodrome once but I passed. Maybe I shouldn't have, though.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

A fun way to come up with character names. Will have to try it because I use the same old names everybody else uses.
Have a great weekend.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Alex - Vanessa Morgan has some amazing posts and some brilliant information on films on her blog ..

I enjoyed your post yesterday at Susan's .. and guessed you'd worked through the names ..

Cheers Hilary

Tony Laplume said...

Vardy is an awesome name.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

LG, I would play that game!

Stephen, he is new - Anthony left a while ago. And I've always thought Roth looked like a dorkus.

Lee, now you have!

Marie, you should've thought of it!

Edi, agreed!

Shah, I usually know the main character, so it's the secondary ones who I brainstorm for.

Shell, you rock!

JE, prepare for weird.

Thanks, Tony!

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Van Halen--Yay!

I like the name Geld Vardy. Rolls off the tongue. I pull names in from everywhere.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I liked Van Halen with Sammy so much better.

Neat ways to generate names. Most of mine have come from the Bible.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

It doesn't surprise me that you have such an excellent system for names. You will not be surprised to know that I often use the...next name I hear on TV will be the name...method.

Sarah Foster said...

Hooray for naming characters! ;)
I love the mutating of random words to create names.

Birgit said...

I have not seen this film but I know his films are on the other side of weird. I have an amazing respect for you in creating names:) Now I am off to check out that blogger

David Macaulay said...

Very useful - reminds me I still need to see V is for Vendetta

Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar! said...

Greetings human, Alex,

A Vardy good article, my illustrious human friend.

Noted that your "brainstorm". My alleged human's closest experience to a brainstorm was a light drizzle.

Alphabet detox, coming soon to a blog near you.

Pawsitive wishes,

Penny

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Elizabeth, that's funny.

Birgit, that's one way to describe Cronenberg!

Hey Penny and Gary! Yes, detox in just a few days...

Susan Kane said...

I am weak on this letter, V. Saw Videodrome, and Vendetta.

Are you noticing a "falling off" of bloggers now?

Patricia Lynne said...

I lvoe V for Vendetta. It's a great movie.
Thanks for the tips on names. They were very helpful.

Empty Nest Insider said...

I think that Eddie Van Halen's son with Valerie Bertinelli now performs with the group. Thanks for the great tips on naming characters!

Julie

Liz A. said...

I hate coming up with names. I found this Victorian name list online once upon a time, and sometimes I pull from there. Some of those names have fallen completely out of use.

Stephanie Faris said...

My husband is annoyed I didn't really include Van Halen as part of my 80s recap--to him, Van Halen IS the 80s! I never really was a fan of their music, although I did like Love Walks In and Dreams.

Elizabeth Mueller said...

I am mistress of word inventing and world building. I love creating stuff like this!

Elizabeth Mueller
AtoZ 2015
My Little Pony

Joanne said...

V for Vendetta was awesome. Van Halen - David Lee Roth only - puhleaze.......running with the devil..........oh yeah....

Carrie-Anne said...

As a name nerd, I have an overflowing supply of names, from numerous languages. I use Behind the Name a lot, as well as some awesome Russian-language names sites, and a Belarusian-language names site. I used to use Kabalarians a lot, but they switched to a mostly pay site, and some of the names weren't listed in accurate language categories. I'm hoping to issue an e-book of all my names posts, with expanded commentary, once I've finished my "A Primer on ___________ Names" series.

Tamara Narayan said...

That's some interesting advice on coming up with names, but I wouldn't dare call a rock a fock. Knowing my fingers, some other word would get typed. It could get ugly.

lorilmaclaughlin.com said...

I like Van Halen 5150. Sammy Hagar is way better than David Lee Roth. I come up with names by brainstorming and/or altering names from a baby-naming book. This is the second time I've run across V for Vendetta. I really have to go look that up.

Clarabelle Rant said...

'V' must not be my sci-fi letter - I haven't seen either movie or read the books. I do want to THANK YOU for the name generator guide!!! Keeping them simple, but unique is so hard for me.

You can find me here:
ClarabelleRant

farawayeyes said...

I'm not doing A to Z, but I try to stop by your place on Mondays (your normal posting day), I think I missed you this week, well, I know I 'missed' you. Anyway...today is my catch up day and I'm glad I stopped by, your bit about choosing names is fantastic.So many things I never thought of. I don't mind old names but I agree that they should be kept somewhat simple. Often I get bogged down trying to pronounce difficult names and I get lost in the story. If I'm lost in the story, I'm done.

I'm gonna have to check out Gatehaven. It sounds like something I might be interested in. Thanks.

D.G. Hudson said...

Loved that movie, V is for Vendetta! And as for names, I like making them up for my scifi. Naming characters in my novel about Paris required a French naming list and a French dictionary.

Cathrina Constantine said...

We Both had V for Vendetta!!! Good One!!!

Dixie@dcrelief said...

saw you at Susan's; love the way you generate names. Really cool.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Wow, I only know Van Halen today! Maybe I need to rent some films.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Susan, a little bit. Happens every year.

Patricia, excellent!

Julie, yes he does!

Liz, that would be a useful list.

Stephanie, they were icon 80's.

Carrie-Anne, you should do that! You know so many foreign names and where to find them.

Tamara, that made me chuckle.

Lori, you rock.

Clarabelle, you're welcome!

Faraway, I'm glad it helped.

Cathrina, great minds!

Al Diaz said...

I really liked V for Vendetta. It is a movie I would see many times!

Susanne Matthews said...

I had no idea there were so many V movies! Great post.

Al Penwasser said...

Many times I come up with the names for my characters by just flipping through the phone book. I flip through a few pages and poke my finger at the first entry I come to. Voila! A new character. It's how that serial killer chose Navin Johnson in 'The Jerk.' If you haven't seen that movie and don't know what I'm talking about, I apologize.
Anyway, it's the only use the phone book has in our house anymore.

teresa dosado said...

I haven't seen V for Vendetta, and I will start downloading now to catch up. ;)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Al, I do know what you are talking about. And yeah, why are they still printing phone books? I guess for writers, huh?

Jo said...

No not for writers but for people like my hubby who cannot use a computer to save his life

Nicola said...

Lots of excellent 'V's circulating! I'm in awe of all participants of the A-Z challenge. Great work!!

I think memorable names that the reader can actually pronounce is rather important. I like the idea that Scrivener generates names. I must look into that programme.

Have a great week, Alex!!

Nick Wilford said...

I don't have any method for coming up with names - they just come to me, but usually after the first draft is done! So the names might get suggested by what I then know about them. I suppose that's a method of a sort.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I see the name Van Halen and I automatically think of the movie Rush. Wonder if he ever did any other movies. Great V post, Alex.

Leovi - La Fotografía Efectista Abstracta said...

Yes I like Edgar Rice Burroughs, a classic!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Jo, that's funny.

Nicola, being able to pronounce them is so important!

Nick, most of mine don't get named until after the fact.

Truedessa said...

Happy Sunday - I found that interesting about how you derived at names. I agree if words are too complex readers may not come back to read the rest of the story. Reading is a means of entertainment and if they have to put too much energy into it then it loses the entertainment factor. This is just my humble opinion.

Ray Rousell said...

V for Vendetta?? What a strange film???

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Truedessa, that's why I keep it simple.

Ella said...

Clever V and I prefer the beginning years of Van Halen. David Lee Roth was a great front man~

Your book sounds like a victory!

indah nuria Savitri said...

interesting list indeed...Love Van Halen and get intrigued by Videodrome :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Ella, hope so!

Debra McKellan said...

V for Vendetta was a very interesting movie.

I love twisting names and words for my speculative stories. It's challenging in a different way. :)

Leovi - La Fotografía Efectista Abstracta said...

Yes, I remember Whitesnake because there were ex-members of Deep Purple !!

Rachna Chhabria said...

Like the name Geld Vardy. Its unique. Infact I am seriously thinking of taking your help when I am stuck for a nice name for a character in my book.

Intangible Hearts said...

I've never been too clear about speculative fiction but I'm learning to understand more of it through your blog. Thanks. Fock for rock sounds like it could get you into trouble. LOL

Elizabeth said...

I enjoyed V for Vendetta, it was very intriguing. And those are great ideas for generating names.

Dixie@dcrelief said...

You blew me away!! Such kind words, Alex. Loved Xanadu soundtrack. Will check out Trudessa this afternoon! Maggie and Fury Road are going to awesome!

You do the best interviews.

Heather M. Gardner said...

Fock!
Fock & Roll!
Stuck between a Fock and a hard place.
We're going to Fock this town!
You Fock!

Yeah. It works.
:)

ALEX!

Love both versions of Van Halen. Truly.

I've seen parts of Vendetta, but not the whole thing.

Heather

Deniz Bevan said...

Woo, Van Halen! I always have fun thinking of character names and all their history and meaning.