Wednesday, December 13, 2006

What's in a Name?

How do mothers come up with names for their little munchkins? Having no children (yet) I’ve heard from friends and family that sometimes the names just hit you and they attach to your child. Other times you are grabbing at anything but nothing is sticking. Being childless, unless you count my two cats and one goldfish, I’m pushing hard to give birth to characters. Although they already have their own personalities, moods and, at times, their own language, their names are escaping me.

What about last names? Where do they come from? What about foreign names? How do you make them up? Have you ever been at a lost for a name?

Please share your ultimate wisdom.


JoAnn said...

Last names seem to come easier to me than first. In one of my WIPs, the hero's last name -- Solomon -- just appeared on my computer screen as I typed. Later, as I did more research on alchemy (an integral part of the plot), I discovered a legend that King Solomon was an alchemist. I was very pleased.

However, for the longest time, he had no first name. And my heroines especially seem to change names often.

Thanks for blogging, Barb!

Deborah Matthews said...

There are numerous name books and web sites. Some are divided up by nationalty. I usually use those.

For last names, I have grabbed the phone book to glance through. Sherrilyn Kenyon did a name book for Writers Digest, which I love. Unfortunately, I haven't seen it since I've moved. But I like to use it, especially when I'm trying to come up with a hero's title. Now, if I could just find it.

Carla Swafford said...

Names for my characters usually come easy. I use Sherrilyn's name book, too. Since there are certain personalities that are attached to certain ethic groups, that helps.

Only a couple times have I changed the name of a character. Once because I was using my maiden name for the guy (Reese) and the name of my husband's favorite female singer (Stevie Nicks) for the girl. Then I realized the guy would have my name and the girl my husband's (Steve). Too weird.