The Social Security Administration released the baby name data for 2012 last week, and the name nerds blew up all over the Internet. I thought I’d play follow the leader, and post about baby naming character style.
The Writer Describes the Character
Ever tried to name a character that’s an infant for the entire story? It’s been bugging me for days. By the time story finishes, he’s only a year and a half old and he’s born during the story.
Male, under-2, Contemporary
He was born in Boston, Mass., to Jonathan Windsor, a half-werewolf slave trader who gets killed somewhere along the line, and Pagie Ortman, a human slave who is way too attracted to the bad-boy types.
He’s the first born but he’s likely to have younger half siblings, one of whom will be named either Becca or Buffy. (Won’t use bot names, I promise.)
Other characters in the story include: Eloise, Ashley, Reid, a ghost named Mrs. Green, and Mr. Walton.
He just so happens to have not inherited the werewolf gene, so he’s basically a human. He’s a happy little thing, very bouncy and chubby and looks more like his mom than his dad.
While I had never before named a character who never grew up, I had named characters who didn’t age. One thing I take into account when naming is if the name feels appropriate for a character that age. For an infant character, I thought the name I chose should sound baby-ish and lend itself to being cooed. I also limited myself to names that are in popular use in Massachusetts.
My Reply to the Writer
I’ve never had to name an infant character, but I also haven’t had to do a lot of the kind of naming I’ve been doing. Naming is one part research, one part knowledge, one part intuition, mixed well. An infant will want a short name, preferably with a cutesy ending sound (e.g. “eye” or “ee”). Naming an infant girl would be easier because there are many cutesy girl names. Naming a boy you have to find the right sweet spot of cute without sounding too girly, and there aren’t many choices. Remember to say these in a sing-song voice to try them out.
This writer never replied to me, so I don’t know if one of these names was chosen or if the writer used my advice to use a short and cutesy sounding name. I still like that naming convention for an infant character who will not grow up (literally and literarily).