Name Theory: What Character is This Name?

I try not to have judgment about the names people choose for their children, after all the name I chose for my son is unusual and I would not like people to judge me or my child or the name. However, I do tend to think about the character of the names they choose.

I think about whether or not the name is sticky enough: Is it memorable? Does it flow? Does it evoke an image?

I think about what the name feels like to me: Smart/dumb, beautiful/plain, ambitious/lazy, etc.

I think about what character that name is for me.

Sometimes a name is an instant character. Like a friend’s son whose name is similar to Jack George Taylor, and who I immediately pegged as having a junior congressman name that evokes the image of a young Jack Kennedy.

Sometimes a name is so strongly associated with someone I know that I cannot imagine the person being any different. Every girl I went to school with who shared a certain popular nickname was a witch with a capital B, and if I ever wrote a character with that name she would be too. (Think the Heathers in Heathers, only meaner.) That name is, thankfully, not much in use by parents now-a-days.

Sometimes a name is one thing to me—a la Sadie being a married lady to a certain Babs—but a person with that name could change it for me. So the spunky young Sadie I know has eliminated that image for me (though not the rhyme!).

Sometimes Names are Characters. Consider each name you hear and take 10 minutes to write a description of that “Character”. Let your imagination take from your subconscious the image of an Iris, or a Thackery, or a Jazz, and write the character into being.

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