Visible thinking and visual brainstorming are great activities for literary onomastics, the study of names and naming in literature. I've done a bit of this before, specifically for Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: Have a look at what can be done with Pip Pirrip's name in Charles Dickens' Great Expectations.
And as I mention at the bottom of the visible thinking exercise above, this is really just getting things started. Indeed, using visible thinking in connection with the study of onomastics can yield some really special insights. All you really need is pen, paper, and a dictionary!
If you want a good one to tackle using visible thinking and visual brainstorming to look at names, try F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. Make sure you have a couple of pieces of paper, though. That one is a doozy!
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Dr. Glen Downey is an award-winning children's author, educator, and academic from Oakville, Ontario. He works as a children's writer for Rubicon Publishing, a reviewer for PW Comics World, an editor for the Sequart Organization, and serves as the Chair of English and Drama at The York School in Toronto.
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