I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Thursday, March 14, 2013

What's in a name?


© Nds_cgy Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images
 I’ve always thought one of the most fun jobs in the world would be to be a Professional Namer. When I was little, I pictured a person sitting at a desk with a basket of “Things to be named.” They included color crayons that hadn’t been dubbed Carnation pink, Granny Smith Apple or Fuzzy Wuzzy. Paint swatches waiting to be designated Townhouse, Gray Morning or Mosaic Tile.

Yogurt flavors.

Cartoon characters.

Car models.

Made for TV products. (I mean, really, who got to name the Snuggie?)

I’ve even tried to hone this skill. If I got to name a new SUV, what would I call it? Try it. It’s hard to make up a model name without it sounding ridiculous. The Ruby? The Panther?

Recently I saw a contest for “Name an Ice Cream Flavor.” Now, this isn’t practice, it’s the real deal, people. This company will develop the winning name into an actual flavor. So now I’m stressing about my imaginary ice cream flavor, too. Raspberry Coco Diamond Drizzle? Drizzle Berry Turtle Mocha?

And then I found out I was pregnant. Now my husband and I had to choose, and agree upon, a name for our little human that she’ll have for the rest of her life. It’s our first gift (or curse) for her. The pressure! We went in circles. Should it just sound nice, have a good meaning, have family significance, be spelled traditionally or uniquely? So, we finally get something nailed down, and go back to double check the initials.

SNL.

Well, back to the drawing board on that one.

I think this is something I love, love, love, about writing. You get to make up characters and give them names. Good thing, because otherwise I’m going to need to have 16 more kids to give away all my favorite names.

So, how do you decide on a fictional name? How did you name your kids? And, do you have a name to enter in the ice cream flavor contest? (I’ll share the prize, although don’t get your hopes up, it’s not ice cream for life!)

Blessings,

Amy

14 comments:

  1. Oh, can I hire you, Amy? Naming my characters is right up there with writing a synopsis for me. Shoot, I've had a kitten for a week and can't decide whether to call her Miss Priss or Suzy Q. And you come up with the bestest names. Haley perfectly fits that precious baby that's now over a year old!

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    1. Yes, you can totally hire me, Pat! That would fulfill my dream, if you are willing to put your characters in a basket on my desk!

      Thanks!

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  2. Ames, I absolutely love, love, love naming my characters. In fact, before I settle on their names, I check out the meanings to make sure the name fits with their characteristics. I keep a baby names book on my shelf of writing resources.

    When we named our boys, Hubby and I went back and forth. If they were to be boys, I wanted them to have part of his name, but he did not want a Junior. If they were girls, he wanted them to have my middle name, which I'm not crazy about. We settled on two names, and I can't imagine them as any other.

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    1. LJ, I love those baby name books too. My hubby gets a little nervous when he sees me looking at one and usually says, "For your characters, right?"
      Hee hee.
      I think you chose perfect names for your boys. It's amazing how quickly our kids names seem to fit them. I can't imagine my kiddo as anyone else, either!

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  3. Driving to work when I was in the corporate world I did actually make a list of car names I thought would be a big improvement on those going. Ice cream flavors? Point me to that contest. I didn't like the meaning of my own name (after my dad's neat cousin) so I/we were careful naming our sons to make sure the names had good meaning and "substance"--thankfully both sons like their names. Fun post, Ames. Yes, naming and ascribing meaning is a fun thing God started and passed on to us.

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    1. That's too funny, Dee! I do that in my head while I'm driving too. I love that naming and ascribing meaning is something that God started and passed on to us, you're right, and that's totally cool!

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  4. HI Ames!
    Names...hmm. I'm writing a contemporary romance in Texas so I ran through some names that sounded "Texan". I settled on J.P. but I'm still open to change....like maybe Clayton. I normally try to find something that fits with the genre, the time and the setting not by somebody who I know..hehe that would be too obvious!

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    1. Good point about the names fitting and sounding good in the location, and genre.

      Too funny that you avoid people you know! It's definitely safer!

      I always wanted to see a book with characters with the same name since it happens in real life. My friend's sister's name was Katie, and her best friend's name was Katie, too. I know it never would though, too confusing!

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  5. Amy, I loved this post. :) Names--I struggle with these some, but apparently, not as much as Pat (winking at you, Pat!). In my first book, the heroine's name was given to me. Really. God told me what her name needed to be. In my second book my heroine has the name I would have given a daughter, if God had given us one. It means "Gift of God," and it's what she needs to be reminded of. :)

    I don't believe I have "the gift of naming" but I love hearing about those who do. :)

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    1. Oh Jeanne, that's so neat that the name you had in mind for your daughter falls in line with what she needs to be reminded of in your novel.

      I love it!

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  6. Amy, what a fun post! I labored long over my kids names and put some special names for their middle name. I love naming characters and give it a lot of thought. I avoid giving characters similar names (Tim & Tom, for instance) or several characters beginning with the same letter. I also give a lot of thought to nicknames they might get called, both cute ones and ones worth fighting over. There's also ethnicity to consider and historical accuracy.

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    1. Good thoughts on keeping the names different, that seems to work best in fiction, although I admit, secretly, I've always wanted to buck the system and have an Amy Beth and Amy Lynn or something (although it would never happen!)

      Yes, I love that you consider nicknames and ethnicity and historical accuracy. Thanks for sharing!

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  7. I remember trying to come up with a second name when we discovered I was having twins--which was when I delivered them! We had Jesse picked out, so my husband and I went through all the other names beginning with "J". It took us awhile, but we came up with Jacob. So to keep things simple and to not have to go through the process again, we gave them the same middle name!

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  8. Fun, fun post, Ames!

    I love, love choosing names. And I did have a bunch of kids, though not 17, but I had to share that decision with a man who didn't see my way about names. With my characters, the names are mine, all mine!

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