Thursday, September 20, 2012

10 Steps to Create Your Steampunk Character Name

     When it comes to my creative process, whether making jewelry, writing a story or designing a new costume piece, I am always most comfortable pulling from personal experience, and I recommend you do the same.  So, rather than casting advice about how you can find a Steampunk name, this post is about how we (Multifarious Jim and I) chose our own names.  Hopefully our experience as neophyte Neo-Victorians will be helpful in your own excursion into Steampunk appellations.  First, remember the ancient Greeks certainly had it right:  Know Thyself!
     Second, consider why you need a Steampunk name in the first place.  To impress?  To fill a certain cosplay role?  In our case, the need for a Steampunk name stemmed from our impending attendance at SteamCon II in Seattle.  It somehow seemed just wrong to go as our normal, mundane selves.  Fortuitously, Jim actually already had a Steampunk name - we just hadn't really realized it yet.  So we fooled around with a "steampunk name generator," but found it frustratingly impersonal.  Then, poking around on Ebay one day, and it dawned on me - it was his Ebay username!
     I had been selling on Ebay under my original username (wisteriablue) for years, but needed to open a separate account to sell Steampunk stuff.  Somehow "wisteriablue" just didn't seem to fit Jim <grin>!  So we thought long and hard about who Jim is, what he loves doing, and his manner of doing it.  He is a person of diverse talents and an unassuming manner; and I swear he can fix anything!  Combine those personal qualities with my own love of $10 words, and voila!  "Multifarious Jim" was his new Ebay username and then, later, his Steampunk identity.  Easy!
      My own name was a bit more problematic.  I was completely stumped.  So, again, I went to the name generator, but it wasn't much help.  I wanted my persona to really characterize me, so I could be completely comfortable introducing myself to other Steampunks.  That level of comfort was very important to me, as I have always been quite uncomfortable "acting" as anyone other than myself.
     For my first name I went with family history.  I had been told when young that my first name, Brenda, means "little raven" in Welsh, which nationality is a part of my ancestry.  I really liked that - felt a good connection with it.  So Raven it was.
     My Steampunk surname took a bit more searching.  I wanted my name to describe what I do.  And what is that?  Basically, when I'm "in the zone" up in my Steampunk Workshop, I cobble odds and ends together to make a completely new and useful construct.  Historically, what kind of person does that?  A mechanic?  A builder?  A Tinkerer!!  That was it.  I had captured the concept for my name.  However, I couldn't just use the word "tinker".
     So I thought about language, ethnicity.  My life experience has included quite a bit of French, starting, surprisingly, with my love of Louis XV furniture as a teenager, and, later, 6 years of French lessons in school.  For me, French was just a given!  So I messed around with French-sounding words, and came up with "Assemble'" (pronounced "ahh-sahm-BLAY").   There it was - Raven Assemble', Steampunk Tinker - a name I can carry proudly through my Steampunk lifetime!
     Although my own process was a bit laborious (as are, unfortunately, MOST of my creative endeavors), the result was definitely worth the brain strain.  To get you started on creating your own Steampunk character, don't just google "steampunk name generator;" try "fantasy name generator" to broaden the scope of your character.  Click HERE to go to Pace J Miller's blog page that contains a great list of fun name generators (the list is about 1/2 way down the page).
     So, to re-cap, this is the process I went through:  1. Know thyself;  2. Figure out the reason you need this name;  3. Try out some name generators to get the clockwork ticking;  4. Think about your personality;  5. Give some thought to family history;  6. What is the meaning of  your real name?  7.  What do you (or your character) like to do?  What is that job usually called?  8. What national (or international) flair might come into play?  9.  Keep up with our blog for future character ideas;  10. Have FUN with the process!

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