Saturday, February 03, 2007

Naming Names

Wayne asked me once if I sought to apply character names with meanings, adding myth or mystery to enhance with a single word.

The answer was sometimes, but I've paid more attention to it ever since. Wayne is a genius after all.

I wish I could come up with a host of relevant Cassandras this morning, but Mr. Dark in Something Wicked This Way Comes leaps to mind and suffices. You know he's going to be a baaaaaad guy as soon as he presents his buisiness card.

I sometimes use baby name sites to research name meanings and to choose names for my fictional peeps.

And I ran across a rather handy one this a.m., alternativebabynames.com. It doesn't provide name definitions, but it's a clearing house for the offbeat and the exotic including Science fiction names and Goth and Vampire names. It strikes me that both of those are probably better put to use by fiction writers than parents.

If the kid happens to choose different interests and paths in life, a name like Mink or Nightshade might be a bit of a liability in, say, a Congressional campaign ad.

5 comments:

Kate S said...

Oh, thanks for posting another good resource. I do try to come up with meaningful names when I can--even if I'm the only one who might get the meaning, since sometimes have taken parts of names with a certain meaning and added them to another to make a complete fit.

Wouldn't do that to my kid, though. Although "Mink" might not be as great a liability as "Nightshade." :)

Charles Gramlich said...

I think about things like that when I see the names some of my African American students were given by their parents. Orangello and Sanguinette are good examples. I also had a female student whose first name was Doctor. Even names that sound more normal are often spelled in quite unusual ways. That's why I named my son Josh.

Stewart Sternberg said...

I tend to use the same names over and over again through the years. I was inspired by Vonnegut. I remember how he used to have recurring characters through short stories and novels. One that comes to mind is Kilgore Trout.

Sidney said...

Kate, I believe relevant matter that you put in is worthwhile even if everyone may not pick up a point at first. I believe it enriches. I've often been delighted to learn after reading a book that there was an extra depth like that that I missed.

Looks like we've opted out of parenting but Christine and I used to speculate on baby names - August was always a front runner if it was a boy. I don't know if that's good or bad.

Stewart, I had almost forgotten Kilgore Trout. That is a cool touch for books. Peter Straub does some interesting things sorta kinda like that in the "Blue Rose Trilogy," which is really interesting.

camobel said...

I believe everyone must look at this.

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