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There is a good amount of research that goes into a story or novel. Some
of that is fairly serious stuff. But not all of it is. On my first novel, Dusk
Until Dawn,
I had some fun researching antique mantle clocks, which had
always interested me for some reason. And even in the fairly serious
Darkness Around Me Like a Cloak there is a section where Pat Maginess
buys an engagement ring, so I spent the better part of a day researching
gemstones, which I knew practically nothing about. All those bright and
shiny and colorful stones! It was quite mesmerizing — especially after
about two cups of coffee.

I'm now in the process of "making notes" (as I term it) for the new
novel, Years and Shadows. Making notes for me is primarily a mental
thing. I do write some things down on 4×6 index cards, which I use
extensively side by side with my computer and text editor. For this
book, though, the list of characters, which I normally would have put
down on index cards, is so large, and the interrelationships between
them is so complex, that instead of using my normal note cards I used
a big artist's sketch book and did a kind of flow-chart between them.

Which might be interesting, I don't know, but it is really off-topic.
What I really wanted to talk about is that in this new book Pat Maginess
is searching for a missing woman named Ann O'Gallagher. As Maginess
investigates he is drawn back through time, back through the years,
finding more information about the missing woman.

One of the things he discovers along the way is that for a brief period
many years before, Ann O'Gallagher worked as a stripper.

Now I don't know how many of you out there are familiar with strippers
and strip joints — I would assume (ahem) that none of you are. So let
me say just in case you don't know (and once again I'm sure you don't)
that strippers rarely use their own name at the clubs they work at.
Instead, they make up a name. I guess you could call it a stage name.
But I'll just call it a stripper name. Porn stars (which I am sure you
know nothing about at all) also use fake names.

Now, there's sort of a tradition with stripper and porn star names.
Namely, that they should sound sleazy as hell. That's part of "joining
the club" in those occupations, and most strippers and porn stars are
proud of their names. And, at least in the case of strippers, adopting
a fake name has a secondary purpose — it can better help protect you
from being stalked by some nut-job if they don't know your real name.

Even though my novel is set in 1953, this tradition of stripper names
goes back a ways and it is likely that Ann O'Gallagher would not have
used her real name in that occupation. They didn't exactly call them
"strippers" back then, of course. They were generally known as burlesque
dancers or simply as "show girls" — not only did they put on a show,
but they tended to show off a lot more skin than your average woman
would in public.

So what I needed to come up with was a stripper name for Ann
O'Gallagher.

But before I get to the list of names I have come up with, let's
digress a bit. Last night I decided to see what was out there on the
internet that might be of help. So I googled the string "stipper
names." And I got quite a good number of sites. Most of them weren't
too helpful really, at least not in terms of what I am trying to come
up with.

I did find one interesting site that let's you put your name (or
someone else's, like Ann O'Gallagher) in and it will automatically
generate a stripper name. For Ann, it came up with the stripper name
Satinne Jagger. I really don't like that one. And it doesn't really
seem to fit a flame redhead like Ann.

Just out of curiosity, I decided to try my own name. You know, just in
case I should ever want to become a porn star. My name generated the
stripper name Hunter Sizemore. But I think I would jazz that one up a
bit and make it Hunter S. Sizemore.

I guess I'm just an old-fashioned guy when it comes to stripper names.
(And I can't believe I just wrote that sentence.) To me, a stripper
name should consists of two parts — a first name and a last name. It
should be sleazy or suggestive sounding, or (in the way things work
sometimes in that industry) have this aura of romance. It should also
sound fake, definitely one that you wouldn't run into normally, but
nevertheless one that would sound kinda-sorta okay printed on a
driver's license.

So, here's the list I've got so far for Ann O'Gallagher:

  • Tawny Mellons
  • Tawny Apples
  • Busty Rogers
  • Fanny Lamb
  • Bunny Hopkins
  • Sandy Lake
  • Candy Kane
  • Ginger Bush
  • Cherry Poker
  • Mona Lotts

Tawny Mellons and Tawny Apples are very common stripper names. Neither
sounds like it would fit the redheaded Ann.

Busty, Fanny, and Bunny I haven't made up my mind on. I do sort of
like Fanny Lamb, though.

Sandy Lake is a very traditional stripper name. But that one sounds
like it would fit more with an ash blonde with a tan body who actually
spends a lot of time on the beach. And if you've ever dated a redhead,
you will know that they tend not to spend too much time out in the sun
on the beach or by the pool. It's like dating a damn vampire.

Now Candy Kane and Ginger Bush both would fit a redhead perfectly, of
course. The trouble with Candy Kane is that is has been used so often.
Ginger Bush is fairly rare, but it doesn't quite have the "pop" to it
that Candy Kane does.

As for Cherry Poker, that one might be a little too outrageous even for
me to use.

Right now I'm leaning heavily towards Mona Lotts. It doesn't suggest
a redhead, but it does have a nice memorable ring to it and, most
importantly, it makes me laugh.

So, care to throw any suggestions into the pool? You should know,
however, that if I like the stripper name you come up with, and if I
decide to use it, you will get no reimbursement whatsoever.

You will get my heartfelt thanks, though — or my name isn't Hunter S.
Sizemore.