Name Bank

Behind the Name: Casper

You know him as the Friendly Ghost, etymology knows Casper as “treasurer” in Persian.

Finding the perfect name for a character is a common plight for writers, and while we can’t end your search completely, Plan Your Muse can add this name and its history to the back of your mind for the next time. More importantly, we recommend that you use this as inspiration for writing prompt, make it a brief character study. Get into their head and show us who they really are.

MEANING & HISTORY

Casper is actually the Dutch and Scandinavian form of Jasper, which means “treasurer” in Persian. And while most people might associate Jasper with its more recent namesakes like the character from Steven’s Universe, a vampire from the Twilight series, or an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. called Jasper Sitwell, the name was assigned to one of the three wise men, who visited the baby Jesus. You won’t find names of the three kings/ wise men/ Magi in the bible, but you can find them within Judeo-Christian Legend. According to Western tradition, Caspar, also known as Gaspar, Gathaspa, or Jaspar, was an Indian scholar or sometimes a king of India. He is often portrayed as a young beardless man, who brought frankincense.

Variants of the name were commonly used in the English-speaking world during the Middle Ages and during the 1890s, Casper and Jasper saw a spike in popularity in the United States. Both, died off by the 1940s until Stephenie Meyer brought back the name Jasper in 2010. Although, I like to think that everyone was just super into naming their children after the gemstone instead of the vampire.

RELATED NAMES

Variant: Caspar; Gaspar; Gathaspa; Gazsi; Jasper; Jesper; Kasper;

Nickname: Cas – This is also a diminutive name for Castiel. Thanks, Supernatural!

Looking for another Behind the Name prompt? Check out Agatha.

Prompts

Prompt #4

Write at least 100 words of someone suddenly becoming blind. While it doesn’t have to be the person whose point of view you’re writing from, I would recommend it. It’s a good exercise in writing the other senses when so many people focus only on what they see. It’s also just fun. Good luck!

 

Prompts

Prompt #3

Pirate Ship!

Yeah, that’s a weird prompt, but they need to get a bit weird sometimes.

Write at least 100 words with a scene involving a pirate ship. Maybe someone got a toy pirate ship, or they were sent back in time and ended up on one. Or maybe someone dressed up as Jack Sparrow for Halloween. Whatever it is, I’m sure it’ll be great.

Good luck!

Prompts

Prompt #2

Suddenly Superpowers!

Try writing at least 100 words about either suddenly gaining or losing superpowers. It could be for your main character or maybe a side character who you just don’t have the best grasp on it yet. Go a little deeper if you can, who are they without the superpowers? Or with superpowers?

Good luck and have fun writing!

Not sure how to use Prompts? You can read our introduction to prompts here.

Prompts

Prompt #1

Drum roll please! The first prompt is…

Red eyes!

Try writing at least 100 words in a scene about red eyes. The easiest way to write a prompt is with pre-existing characters.

Remember, red eyes could be shown in a myriad of different ways. Someone could have allergies, they could be possessed, or they could have powers and their eyes glow red.

Whatever you write, try to go with it for as long as you can and remember that it’s just a writing exercise. You can do this!

Not sure how to use Prompts? You can read our introduction to prompts here.

Name Bank

Behind the Name: Agatha

Raise your hand if you’ve spent hours scouring baby name books and websites for the perfect name for your character. ::raises hand:: Yeah, I’m right there with you. It’s a common plight amongst writers. While I can’t end your search, I can add this name and its meaning to the back of your mind for next time. If you’re feeling intrepid, I recommend reading the history behind the name Agatha and then writing a quick scene with it as your prompt.

MEANING & HISTORY

Agatha is the Latinized form of the Greek name Agathe, which is derived from the Greek word “agathos,” meaning “good.” If you’re looking to name a character born in the USA between 1880 and 1930, Agatha is a reasonable choice as it ranked in the census for popularity between those years.

Saint Agatha of Sicily is the Christian saint of breast cancer patients, wet nurses, bell-founders, and rape victims. She chose to live a life of celibacy as a consecrated virgin until a high-ranking official, Quintianus, decided he wanted her. She spurned his advances and he responded by tearing off her breasts off with pincers. She managed to survive that, and eventually died after more torture involving hot coals. Now, she is celebrated in Italy every February 5th with a delicious pastry that looks like a breast.

Saint Agatha’s name has been used throughout Christian Europe with various spellings, but the most famous barer of her name was the mystery writer, Agatha Christie. She created such characters as Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. While she may have died at the age of 85 in 1976, she disappeared without a trace for ten days in 1926. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle even gave a spirit medium one of her gloves in the hopes of finding her. She turned up at a hospital with amnesia and her autobiography makes no reference to her disappearance.

Agatha is also the first name of Ms. Trunchbull, the primary antagonist of Ronald Dahl’s Matilda.

RELATED NAMES

Variant: Agathe – This feminine name has seen a resurgence of popularity in France over the past 20 years.

Nickname: Aggie – This is also a diminutive name for Agnes.

Masculine Form: Agathon

 

 

Prompts · Writing Life

An Introduction to Prompts

Prompts are something that’s supposed to give you an initial idea: write something focused on the color blue; your main character ages thirty years over night. Oh no! Crazy or mundane, it doesn’t matter, prompts will tell you what to do and it’s your job to find out how you can do it. The problem is, writers generally don’t view them this way. They look at a prompt and say it’s dumb, there’s no way they can write something from this. What are they, some kind of writer?

Well, yeah. That’s why you’re trying to write, dumb-butt.

Unfortunately, many people don’t look up prompts unless they’re in the middle of Writer’s Block. They’re so far into it that they’re looking for anything to tell them what to do, to wave a magic wand in front of their faces and say, “Right here! This is what you have to do!” When you look at prompts in this state of mind, suddenly they’re all the dumbest thing you’ve ever read. Because guess what? They aren’t there to hold your hand and tell you how to write. They’re just there to go, “Hey, what if unicorns, am I right?” And you give it a try, no strings attached.

So the next time you see a prompt, which will be once a week on this blog, remember that it’s here to give you an idea for a quick scene. It’s not going to fix your writer’s block. That’s your job.