Naming Names

Naming names

Writing Life

We have an endless number of choices in naming our characters and their animals. I have recently named a cow Brunhilda. I’ve always got a kick out of that name, and not long ago when we stayed in a convent/motel in Rome we met a nun by that name. It was a German convent.

Anyhow, Bill and I always enjoy different names. Remember Festus Strunk form, “Gunsmoke?” I like Moriarity for a villain in the Sherlock Holmes stories. I’ve named the villain in some of my novels Luskin because it sounded villainous to me. Charles Dickens used names to describe his characters. Wasn’t he the one who had a Uriah Heap as a villian?

Of course we keep the names in the correct era. Kings and Queens had names like Elizabeth and James. People love royal names and they are plain, easy to spell and elegant. They never seem to go out of style. Take my husband’s and son’s name: William. Of course both are called Bill. When naming heroes and heroines you can’t go wrong with that kind of name. Be ready with a nickname or diminutive, though. I’m reading a book where a person of Charleston “royalty” is called Foot because there were so many other men in his family with the name Hugh, which was his as well.

Essie, Bessie, Agnes. and Dora would be from another time. Babies have their own names for themselves and their siblings that often stick. I’m glad my brother’s name for me didn’t. All he could call me at first was Doo Doo.

Of course you can get ideas from baby name books and the phone book. Just looking at names on line will inspire you. You can look for names from different languages. For my present book, I named an Italian woman Orsina, then Lia, and now I’m thinking about going back to Orsina again. I’m not sure why I wavered.

I have children in my Sunday School named Zarriya, Traviayana, Ahshalyn, and Shyasia. When we have visitors I let the children tell someone else’s name and I write them on the board. Some with which I am not familiar are hard to learn to spell. I’m still not sure about Ahshalyn, but I know it has one h and then another. One time I wondered why people had to have made up names that I couldn’t spell. I quit wondering, however, as soon as I realized I had that kind of name myself. Now I enjoy learning to spell them.

Another made-up name I heard once was Lastus. A girl in my elementary school told me her baby brother’s name was Lastus cause her momma and daddy sure didn’t need any more children. So here’s the lastus of this story.

My parents made up my name from theirs. It was the nurse’s idea. Dad’s name was Ivan (which by the way, was a UK name as well as a Russian one.) Mother’s was Dora. They put in two capital letters so there would be one from each. Don’t forget, names have meanings. My mother’s and father’s names both meant gift of God, so looky there, I am doubly blessed. What does your name mean?


Now it's your turn. Tell us what you think.

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