Who Was Sydney Porter?

Ever since Sydney Porter: Dog Girl came out people have asked me where the name came from. I started with my love of the name Sydney. Some names just resonate with us. As a writer I read the obituaries (I know, weird uh?) looking for unusual names. The name of the character can communicate thematic elements, foreshadow the story plot or just be fun to say.

In this case, I started with the name Sydney and researched famous people in history. Of course every internet search turns up lots of extras. In this case, there are a number of living people who sport the moniker Sydney Porter.

The Sydney Porter that sealed the deal for me though, was William Sydney Porter. While that name might not ring any bells, the name O. Henry might. The American short story writer was born William Sydney Porter (September 11, 1862 – June 5, 1910). His stories often had twists and surprise endings. In addition he was known for his witty narration. Who better to aspire to? Given that the story Dog Girl is about a girl that turned into a dog and part of the story is written from the perspective of a dog, witty narration seemed appropriate.

So that’s the story. I hope O. Henry’s ghost would approve.

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