What's in a name?
Updated: Oct 18, 2019
I have never understood couples who cannot come up with a name for their babies before the birth. I'm not judging, I am just comparing it with my own experience. The minute I know I'm pregnant I am thinking of names, testing how they sound, making sure the name cannot be mutated into something horrible on the third grade playground. And let's not forget the initials. One friend's daughter named her child and the initials were BMW - so they nicknamed her Beamer! Cute.
I actually love the thrill of finding the perfect name, one that sits in my brain and brings complete and utter satisfaction.
I am a traditionalist. I choose my names from the 'approved list'. That is the list I deem to be approved names. With the name chosen, the baby takes on an identity even before birth.
It is the same with new characters. I relish the search for the perfect name. Of course, in Regency England there was an approved list of names. Parents were expected to use traditional names, unlike today's parents where anything goes. So my choices for character's first names are more limited, but last names is another matter!
I troll web-sites of last names trying to find the ideal mate for my first name or find inspiration from my own family tree, such as Septimus Sladden, who became a character in The Secret of Haversham House. I felt an immediate emotional reaction to his name and just knew he had to be a vicar.
Once chosen, I roll the new name around in my mouth to make sure it is as satisfying when spoken as when read.
Charles Dickens had a gift for creating names that helped us understand his characters. I aspire to that kind of skill but for the time being I will be content with creating names that feel just right.