Name Theory: These Names be Cray

Articles about celebrities and their “crazy” or “branded” babies’ names are once again abounding. Not only do I dislike these articles for their negativity, but I disagree with their premise.

I don’t think celebrities are much more likely to give their children interesting names than the general public. In fact, I’ve seen names worse than Apple (which I don’t hate) and North West (which I happen to think is only slightly silly) on regular people’s kids. In fact, all of those football players with interesting names that I referred to on Monday were named by regular people.

I think the real and on-going story is that many people want to give their children interesting and rare choices, just as many writers want to give their characters interesting and rare choices. It is a natural extension of our independent spirit.

There are plusses and minuses to this way of thinking, to this way of naming. My purpose here is not to review those arguments.

My purpose here is to reiterate that writers can find inspiration in character naming from the way in which parents name their children.

Just as I considered how the father of the characters in this week’s naming would have chosen their names, writers can consider how their character’s parents would choose their names.

Would these character parents:

  • Want strong sounding names?
  • Want nature names?
  • Want names with a certain meaning?
  • Want names with family connection?
  • Want names that “fit in” or “stand out”?
  • Want names that are funny?
  • Want names that are tease-proof?
  • Want names that start with a certain letter?

There are many characteristics that parents consider when naming their children now-a-days, and these characteristics could well serve writers looking to name their literary babies.


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