Monday, August 2, 2010

The Name Game

I love naming things--pets, children, characters, you name it (grin)! It was a common complaint by my brother that as children, I was the one to name all the family pets. My son has noticed my hankering over the years for doing the same with our pets. Have you ever given thought to what's in a name? I am often amazed and intrigued by the way some people's names just fit either their profession or expertise or something about them. It took four days to name our son. We gave him a name that has a spiritual sound to it and quite interestingly, he has interesting spiritual views which I think belie his name. Consider what your name says about you.

When writing, what names do you give your characters or your stories? Do they just seem to fit? When I write, sometimes a character's name eludes me. Then all of a sudden, it comes of its own accord with no forcing. Even titling my writing, at times daunting, eventually just comes.

Here's a little game: become aware of names. Next time you're reading something written by an expert, pay attention to their name. Consider the not so coincidental coincidence of the conservation officer named James Phish, for example. Did his parents think he would end up patrolling lakes and hanging around fishing outposts to ensure legal fishing practices?

We like to name things and need to reassure ourselves that everything has a name and meaning. It helps us feel secure in our world. Do you like your own given name? What might your family name say about you?

4 comments:

  1. Yes, names are certainly interesting. The way they sound or who they remind us can have a big impact on how we choose them. As a child I loved reading Laura Ingalls Wilder books and because of her loved my own name!

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  2. That's lovely Laura! How inspiring for a child to find their name in a beloved childhood book character and then feel that connection. Thank you for sharing something for writers to consider.

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  3. This "Kelly" can't help but like your name too :) This reminds me of playing Charlie's Angels with my friends as a kid. Guess who always got to be Kelly?

    I will start looking at character's names more closely in my reading. You have me curious now.

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  4. Yes, it's a great name indeed! I had looked it up and it says war maiden, whatever that is for I am so peace-loving! How creative that you played Charlie's Angel, Kelly!

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