What’s a Good Name for A Serial Killer?

nameI wonder if all writers have such a hard time naming their serial killers.

Can’t use the real name, can you? I’d really rather do that, because my novel is based on a particular one (my babysitter, actually, which is a pretty freaking weird feeling), but there are rules against that, I think.

I start thinking of names close to that original, but they all turn out sounding like church pastors or second grade teachers. I run down the list of people I don’t like that much, but that seems risky. I try to intuit it, but this is one area my intuition just goes, “Got nothin’.”

Next tactic: I ask other people in my immediate circle. My husband and I get a good laugh about last names like Killmore and Youngblood, but this is obviously too distracting and only really works for our own entertainment on our morning walk with the dog. I check with my mom who is a voracious reader and thoroughly excited by her discovery that she can buy 4 “pocket” books for a dollar down at the senior book club. She’s not sure either.

I start alliterating: Derek Durtz. Um…no. Nobody wants a serial killer with an alliterated name.

I pull up a list of ten serial killers and settle on one until I remember someone else who I really like with that name and don’t want to make their name into a serial killer name (even though the real live serial killer already did that if that makes any sense.)

I try to channel the writers of “24” because they’re AWESOME with names. Think about bars they might hang at in LA where I could go lurk and listen into their conversations over a porter and maybe they’d just bring it up. It could happen.

Sigh. Am I alone out here? Anybody got a great name for my real life babysitter serial killer?


5 thoughts on “What’s a Good Name for A Serial Killer?

  1. I have wondered the process an author uses to name his/her characters, they always seem so fitting. I think one needs to consider the time of the novel,character’s background. I know that is not much help.

    • Thanks for those tips and for not pointing out that blog should never have been released to the general public. That’s an example of a shitty first draft that I forgot to fix before it went out on its preprogrammed date! Appreciate your thoughts and the fact you did not send me a redlined copy (which would have been completely justified.)

    • Well, somebody typed her blog late at night and forgot to go back and read it again. (Note the elementary teacher, third person thing. You may recognize that.) Thanks for not pointing out I was asleep when I wrote that blog:). LOVE your ideas on names. And the link! Here’s hoping that there is a “serial killer” section in contemporary baby name books. (Now I’m humming “Slim Shady.” Got me back. Hey, maybe I can name him…nahhh.)

  2. Any ex-boyfriends you’re no longer in touch with, but ended badly? 🙂 Or get a baby name book & start searching. Or pick a generic name that’s really common & chances are you know five or six people with that name.
    When I saw the “Hello My Name Is” image on this post, “Slim Shady” popped into my mind, so you could always go that route…and now that Eminem song is stuck in my head, so thanks for that. 😉

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