Names are more than just names in A Road Trip to Save the World.
Names was one of the things I spent a lot of time on during the early development of this project. Every character needed to have the perfect name and the names needed to mean the perfect thing. As a fiction and poetry writer, having the perfect name meant a lot of me. I have several computer documents and paper lists of potential character names, some complete with meanings and origin.
Of course, I love jokes, so when I decided that the story would focus on a trio of siblings rather than any other group of characters, I knew right away what I had to do. I had to give them perfect names. And not just any names, pun names. That’s right, I named them all after WATER.
When I started writing A Road Trip to Save the World, I knew right away what the elder sister’s name would be. I had messed around with the name Tallulah in earlier fiction playgrounds and I knew it would be a perfect name for her character. It’s unique but orderly with the use of multiple L’s and a lyrical sound to it. The name Tallulah means “leaping water” and it fits her character very well. Tallulah is a proactive character who will do whatever it takes to do what she thinks is right. She’s active in her siblings’ lives and cares very deeply for them.
Initially, the name of the middle child brother was going to be Calder. It was a water-related name, but I ended up being opposed to it. In the pilot script and pilot production, the brother’s name is Parker. At this time, I had resigned myself to finding an appropriate water related name for the brother character. Parker had a nice ring to it and a generically nice name meaning that I didn’t have to think too hard about.
When I went in for the script re-write, I knew for certain that I had to find Parker a new, water-related name. I had worked hard to make this joke work and I was going to see it through. An internet session later and I found the perfect name: Newlin. Meaning “dwells near the new pool”. I felt this was fitting for Newlin, as he comes to have a new perspective of his relationship with his father and becomes a new person over the course of the road trip.
Spring -admittedly- was the easiest to name. As soon as I saw the name Spring come up in my search for water related names, I knew this was the one for the spunky, lovable, and perceptive little sister. It sounded sweet and had an obvious meaning that hopefully would help others discover my greatest joke to date. During my creation of the character sheets I created a separate story that might end up on this website someday. The LaPointe family is full of wacky adventures. I thought it would be funny if Spring found out the origin behind her name -Spring is short for something whacky and much longer. I toyed with the idea of her full name being Springmantha, but I eventually settled on her first name being Springtide. She, however, much prefers to go by Spring.
For the other characters, I honestly did not put as much thought into their names. Digby Coldwell was one I did consider for a while before finalizing. In first drafts of the production, Digby was an un-redeemed villain. I wanted him to have a cold, villainous sounding name for our protagonists to go up against. I wanted his name to sound like big money, indifference, and bad parenting. I hope I succeeded.
Receptionist Della Upkins did not have a name until the final versions of the re-written script. My goal with Della was to have a name that suggested a bright personality as well as dignity. With Theresa, the childrens’ mother, I picked a name that I felt went well with the protagonists’ surname, LaPointe.
Names have always meant something more to me, ever since I began to research name origin and meaning in my fictional pursuits. In my own character naming practices, I try to hint about the characters themselves, foreshadow any upcoming events, and name my characters in ways that are unique and outstanding.