What’s in a Name?

Sunday night, when I was in the middle of reading Fiona Buckley’s The Siren Queen, an Ursula Blanchard mystery, for the RIP Challenge, a question popped into mind:

What if I were a noble lady in medieval England, what could have been my name?

what's in a name

So off to google my fingers went, and badaboom, I came across this quiz:
What’s your noble British name?

After a few tries where I got at least 2 Curtises, 3 Hastings, 2 Irvins, 1 Melville, 4 Pumphreys, 1 Coryton, 1 Quartermaine, 2 Pearsons, 2 Nunneleys, 1 Tetley, 2 Wingfields, 1 Harmsworth, 3 Spencers, and 2 Ironsides, I stopped to admire the ones that had a nice ring to them (all the names start with the title *ahem* “Lady“):

  • Clemency Stella Hillgarth
  • Davina Montagu Drummond
  • Caroline Audrey Warburton
  • Lucy Ruby Lyttleton
  • Patricia Elvira Beresford
  • Isobel Celeste Teakle
  • Caitlin Hermione Fry
    And these could be twins in some story:

  • Patience Marcia Somerset
  • Phyllis Violet Somerset
  • or sisters:

  • Ethel Frances Wyndham
  • Helen Anne Wyndham

Hmmm…now this sparks another question:

How do writers come up with names for their characters? Do they also visit “What’s your X name?” quizzes like I did or mull over that for days or weeks or do they consult friends or family or do wonderful names visit them in their sleep?

Looks like I’m not the only one wondering about this. Here’s a few on the subject:

So my dear readers, I throw the question back at you:

If you’re writing a story, how would you come up with names for your characters?

Image created in Adobe Photoshop using brushes downloaded from the internet. Concept ยฉ Pachuvachuva 2009.


3 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?

  1. I tend to just think of names that SOUND like the character. I don’t consult name sites unless I’m stumped. My second book gave me a lot of trouble in that regard. The main character is a mermaid and I just couldn’t think of a name for her that sounded like her. I started out calling her Millea, and I told myself I could just change it later, because I knew it wasn’t right, but I only managed to write two or three pages without name before I gave up.

    Then one day the name Esmerine just popped into my head and I knew that was her name!

    That is also how I get characters with sort of dorky names like “Alfred”, who is one of my favorite characters, but I NEVER liked that name. Until I met him, anyway. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Oh, and for some reason I am way too much in love with the letters A, L, V and D, with R and S making a decent showing as well.

  2. I’m still pinching myself because I couldn’t believe a fab author just posted a comment! ๐Ÿ˜€ Hehehe

    Thanks, Jackie for dropping by. I really appreciate your taking time to read and comment on this since I know you’re quite engaged with your second book now, whose cover, by the way, am so excited to see as soon as it’s released! ๐Ÿ™‚

    And I have to agree with you on selecting names based on how right they sound for a particular character. I used to write short stories (I mean really short stories, not the complicated plot format) in grade school and I usually just spend time getting THAT name. I don’t have a particular feel for some letters though. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Ms. Jackie Dolamore is the author of Magic Under Glass that we have featured here some weeks ago.
    (Here’s the link to that post. Isn’t the UK ed. simply amazing? *sigh*).

    Good news to us since Jackie is giving away a copy of the gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous UK Edition of Magic Under Glass.
    To join, click here. ๐Ÿ˜€

    You can find the link to Ms. Dolamore’s site on my sidebar — Wit, Words and Joie de Vivre under La Book-aracha.

  3. Pingback: Twitter Trackbacks for Whatโ€™s in a Name? ยซ Pachuvachuva [pachuvachuva.wordpress.com] on Topsy.com

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