“Writing fiction is...about passion and endurance, a combination of desire and grunt work often at odds with each other.”
Maureen Howard

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

i am processing my junk folder, it's a thing i do
Thu 2014-05-15 23:54:39 (in context)
  • 1,234 words (if poetry, lines) long

Spam! What's it good for? Character name generation! In my Junk folder during tonight's ritual scanning for false positives before deletion:

Hedwig Sorenson (who wants to share some diabetes healing secrets)
Janice Bauer (who wants me to give my lungs a fighting chance and try e-cigs)
Jennifer Rodman (ditto--look, people, I don't even smoke)
Kurt Rambis (a cash offer? for me? darling, you shouldn't have)
Kyle St. John (who thinks my family might be disappointed when they find out... something)
Mike Ward (China is dumping their gold fast! You have to! See why!)

When I try to think up character names, if I don't have something already predisposing me in a particular direction (like, say, "Caroline" as an oblique phonetic nod to "Kore"), sometimes my brain just cycles through the same five or six suggestions. The contents of my junk folder are not subject to the limits of that cycle. Honestly, I would never have thought up the last names St. John or Rambis without external prompting. Maybe that's what I'll name the very nice lady at the wake who knew Caroline the last time she was day-care-attending age.

What I really miss is when Baysian filtering was kinda sorta the new big thing in anti-spam manuevers, and spammers were embedding their links in a wall of random, computer-generated text to try to avoid matching the filter's patterns. This resulted in surprisingly good freewriting prompts. I used to keep a file of the best ones, but then I deleted it under the assumption that the next day's email would infallibly bring more. Sadly, this no longer seems to be the case.

But we'll always have Hedwig Sorenson and her encyclopedia of diabetes healing secrets, I suppose. Someday it will be possible to name a character in an English-language short story "Hedwig" without putting everyone in mind of owls, right?

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