Name Theory: Names Revisited

In naming, as in life, sometimes you wish you could have a do-over. I don’t plan to re-contact the writer of this week’s character, but I want to show you my new thinking on naming Regency characters, even if they are Fantasy Regency characters.

If I were a Historical novelist, I would do a lot of research to find names that were in use at the time, and to avoid names that were too well-known. While I have read that Jane Austen used names that referenced real people, she was writing social commentary of her time. Modern writers should go for references that modern readers will connect to.

I have also read that Austen may have chosen names that sounded like the kind of character she was writing (Knightly as the Knight in shining armor). While I don’t usually recommend this type of naming, I admit that for a mixed genre story that seems somewhat referential to other works referential names may be in order.

While this character will need a Christian name (what they would have called a given name in the Regency period), I think her surname should be chosen first since she will mostly be called Miss Surname throughout the story. I also think that by keeping the Historical parts of the novel accurate, the Fantasy parts will seem even more fantastic.

My new recommended names for this character are:

  • Miss Hewie: Meaning Heart/Mind/Spirit
  • Miss Baines: Meaning Bone/Leg or Strait/Direct or Bath
  • Miss Godwin: Referencing Gothic writer Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley nee Godwin
  • Miss Hartwell: Meaning the place where deer drink, symbolically meaning full of love
  • Miss Ember: Meaning Spark, and a reference to Austen’s Emma (who this character reminds me of)

I am much happier with my new choices for this character, and I’m happy to be putting together my thoughts on Regency names. As I learn more about that era, I wonder if I will discover a Regency Historical novel in me.

Or maybe I’ll just put my thoughts on the Regency into a new blog.

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