It’s All In A Name
When you’re writing a book (or short story, poem, screenplay, or even an obituary for heaven’s sake), one of the strongest thing that drives your story is a character. There might just be one or two like in Scott O’ Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins, or a whole codswallop like in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. (My favorite go-to book, as you probably all know.)
But what is a character without a name? Sure, there are probably lots of great, classic, books I haven’t read that mention no name at all, but a name defines a personality, and with it, a more diverse world. Like, when I see a Sarah, I imagine big-shot writers who novel stories about girls who have boyfriends than break up with boyfriends then have a boyfriend who is definitely not the boyfriend you thought he was going to be. (Phew.) This is true for all the Sarah Ocklers and Sarah Dessen’s in the world, but it might not be who you think a Sarah is going to be. And then when I see a Drew, I imagine a dark, tall, silent guy who rescues you by stabbing your kidnapper and then leaves without ever saying a word.
What if your whole life was dominated by the kind of name you had!?!?!? (Ding ding ding! Book idea!) Like in the series Monster Blood Tattoo, the main male character is named Rossamund. I would hate hate hate hate HATE to be named Rossamund if I were a guy. (Some other guys might not agree, but these are all opinions, right?) In the end, though, it grows on you. Like onions. Or TV shows (namely, Modern Family.)
So, to choose a name is like choosing the entire course of your book. You can change it but then it will change the whole dynamic of EVERYTHING!
Think about it. Sure, your character’s name may not be as important as the plot or the story, but it sure does influence. Right now, my favorite name is Emma. Charlotte’s right around the corner. And did anybody realize that N.E. Bode’s psuedonym sounds out like ‘anybody’ from her Anybodies series? No idea.
Try out the Random Name Generator. It’s easy to use: you can pick from a scale of 1-99 on the originality of the name, as well as female and male attributes. Using any baby name search engine can give you a name and its meaning. Behind the Name is cool too.
But whatever you choose, choose wisely; you don’t want to be one of those parents who name their child Evensong Sparkling Morningdew. (Or you do, depending on the material). Your story will bite you back in the butt. I’m not kidding.
(And a disclaimer: this is all coming from a seventh grade girl. Probably all material can be ignored because of hormone induced excitement/happiness/rage/hyperness and etc. etc. etc.)