Name Theory: Characters’ Name Influence

Character names are inherently influenced by baby names. As the popularity of children being named Mason, Noah, Emma, and Olivia increase, so does the incidence of characters named Mason, Noah, Emma, and Olivia.

Whether the names are appropriate for the ages of the characters or not, many writers seem to prefer to give their characters names that are trending in the daycare set.

However, as name aficionados would be quick to point out, the influence works both ways.

Often the fastest rising names are those that were first given to characters in books, movies, and television shows (including “reality” shows).

In 2012, those names included Cataleya (character in Colombiana), Adley (singer on The Voice), Aria and Arya (characters in Pretty Little Liars and Game of Thrones, respectively), and on the boy’s side Gael (character in Abismo de Pasion).

As books are increasingly being made into movies and television shows, the influence of the names the writer gave his or her characters is also increasing.

This week I would challenge you to consider your writing’s influence on names, and on people. As writers, we don’t just do a job—we inspire readers to think, to learn, to grow, and apparently to name their babies!

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