Whats in a Name?

This morning I read this excellent post about naming book characters. It really made me think a lot as this is a major struggle I’m having with the characters in my own fledgling novel. Some names just aren’t quite right, I wonder if this is because they have too modern connotation’s or for some other subconscious reason.

The same goes with children, I must admit there are a range of names which I would never have considered for my own children because despite everything they do have their own ‘image’. You have to imagine yourself calling out the name across the playground and frankly, if that name doesn’t match with how you might see yourself and your aspirations for your child then you aren’t going to call them that.

The naming thing caused me terrible anxiety with all my children, I just couldn’t decide. I wanted nice hippyish type names for them initially, then I thought that a silly name probably wouldn’t cut the mustard should they happen to want to have a particular type of job. Just think of all those celebrity kids who have changed their names! In the end we changed the name of our eldest child after a week as it wasn’t quite right for him.

Names are so important, not only do they instantly give others an impression of who you are, they can say something about social status and they do seem to influence who a person might become. Naming is to my mind a life changing decision. No pressure or anything, there then.

When I got married I steadfastly refused to change my name for a long time and only did so when we had children because I wanted people to know that they belonged to me. My name change marked a new phase in my life and I sort of became a different person in lots of ways.

If your parents do get it wrong its not the end of the world though, you can change your name using the Deed Poll service. However, if you name your book character incorrectly then you cant. That individual goes forth into the world, saddled with the wrong name. Just think how different things would be: Wellington Bear, Posy Pig, Sophie Karenina, Fred Wayne. Not that i’m putting myself under any pressure to get everything in my book just right, or anything…


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