Finding a name

What’s in a name? A hell of a lot these days.

This post will document the story of how I finally arrived at a name for the podcast, and for this website.

Believe it or not I very rarely give a title to the stories I write. They’re usually saved in a folder with the main character’s name. When you’re trying to make a podcast that will compete with hundreds of others, that doesn’t give you much information, does it?

I began my research into what a podcast should be called, the “how to” guides that are rampant on the internet for just about everything these days. The general impression I got was that if you’re a newbie starting out, make it as descriptive as possible.

I can’t tell you how many potential titles I came up with for the podcast, and that was just the podcast! I also had to procure a company name, but had an easier time with that. Hence, Ghostly Thistle. I won’t go into etymology, but the name of this “company” was hardly important when compared to the title of the podcast.

Here’s what the McIlwraith statements were almost called:

  • IPP (I know, sounds like a disease)
  • The Spirit confessions
  • The Supernatural confessions
  • The exposure of ghosts
  • Too late to tell the truth
  • The truth about the dark
  • The truth you didn’t read

You can probably see my imagination isn’t so great when it comes to titles. Some of them are bloody awful. To be honest, I’m not sure if the McIlwraith statements is any better, but I’m not going down the title rabbit hole again, my mind can’t take another journey.

My issue with names persisted. The main character, and narrator, of the podcast is Sarah McIlwraith, but that wasn’t always her name. I’m actually too embarrassed to reveal what her original name was. I first wrote these stories when it was cool to give your main character a really unusual name, but after 5/6 years it just sounded pretentious AF. The only hint I’ll give you was that it was a Japanese name, and I kept the first letter.

I even changed her surname from McElrath to McIlwraith because I wasn’t sure if they had the same pronounciation (I’ve never met a McElrath, but I have met a McIlwraith).

The next to be culled was Ken, or Dr Kenneth Douglas. He was originally an English psychologist by the name of Robert Howlett, shortened to “Bob”. I changed the story a little bit and so wanted to make “Bob” Scottish instead. I also didn’t like that Dr Robin Strother was often called “Rob” in the original story. Not confusing, but it annoyed me anyway. Hence Bob became Ken.

Strother himself did a brief stint as Dr Spencer, but I liked that even less.

Then it came time to name individual episodes. Thankfully, it turns out I’m quite good at doing that. Chapter names have never been an issue with me, hell, I usually have a running theme, so I was all sorted when it came to that.

And that was it. Ghostly Thistle began creating and producing The McIlwraith Statements.

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