Wednesday, August 27, 2008

So? Your Hero is a BABY BOY???

I remember when my husband and I came up with a name for our son. We, of course, wanted a great name because after all he would carry it for the rest of his life, be identified with it, yada yada. When we tossed names around, kicked them around like kicking the tires on a used car, we decided we wanted something short, masculine, easily spelled and we didn't want to give him a BABY name that would haunt him later. I'm sure there are plenty of new parents who look at their tiny, itty bitty boy and can come up with a million "cutesy" names that fit perfectly but that "cutesy pie" name is gonna stink to high heaven when he's a thirty year old man. If I were that guy, I'd be headed to see someone "legal-like" to apply for a name change.

I'm constantly thinking of that when coming up with names for my heroes. Female character names aren't as big of a problem, to me. I think of something and BAM, that's it. It's all rather organic. Characters will have certain traits that remind me of particular names so that's the name they'll get. As as rule, I avoid faddy names. A look at an elementary school yearbook can be a big clue as to the current fads. I avoid them like the plague and try like everything to choose more common names. Male characters pose a completely different set of problems. For me, my over the top Alpha male character will NOT have a baby name. That's the bottom line. My heroine doesn't want to yell out a baby name when in the throes of passion with this guy. I would mention some of those names but sure as I do, someone will write and tell me that's what she named HER itty bitty boy thirty years ago or maybe she gave that little boy name to the hulking alpha hero of her latest romantic suspense. I'm not in this gig to make enemies so, nope, no examples but if you are guilty of using littly boy names then you probably know who you are.

Wish I had a big, character naming secret to share but I really don't. Names come to me. I don't thumb through baby naming books either. I avoid weird names and tend to go toward more average sounding names. It's my preference. Nothing is more irritating that reading a book and you don't know how to pronounce the name and have to stop in the middle of things to dig out a dictionary. Irritating.


  1. I'm guilty of the unpronounceable thing, Reg, but I usually slip a phonetic spelling in somewhere. And I'm with you. No cutesy names for heroes. Nope.

  2. Great post, Regina. I totally agree about not using baby names. And yes it will haunt the bearer. I have a variation of my name that was given to me as a nickname when I was a wee one and is still used on occasion when I get together with family. It drives me nuts.

  3. See? My point of view validated by a real man. Thanks James. Older relatives never forget what you were called as a tyke, I know. My DH suffers through this too. He's good natured about it and just shakes his head.

  4. Yep, I'm stuck with one of the double names... hate it. Family, meh.

    I'm pretty sure that I don't use baby names. Pretty sure... And try not to use unpronounceable weird names. Most of them are pretty straight forward. Except for Johnson's lady, but we won't go there at this time...

  5. You have some interesting character names, Anny. Not a sissy-sounding name in the bunch.

  6. I've heard one great piece of advice on choose a name for a child (it would work for a charcater as well): Imagine yourself using it and its variations at every stage of life:
    cooing over your baby
    hollering for the kid out the back door
    being announced over the loudspeaker at high school
    in the office
    Introducing your adult child to your doctor

    As an author, you can add more scenarios a parent might not want to think about. ;-)

    If it works in all those situations, go for it.

  7. Elissa, too funny!! My older daughter gets called Jo-jo at home. She hates it in public but we've called her that since womb days. Of course we don't embarrass her with it and her name isn't cutesy. P's name is short and sweet though oddly, people wanna call her something shorter and well, not at all cute. Don't get it.

  8. Thank God i never got called anything but Mona. It was already short & sweet to be shortened further! I would hate to be called anything else!

    But I will tell you something interesting. In India they always teased me because of my name, as usually in every second movie, the vamp was called Mona & then, there was this oft come into movies villain who always had a secretary "Mona darling" & who was also a vamp! So people started calling me Mona darling for a while!

    Yes, I too like heavy masculine names for the beef cakes!

  9. & let me tell you something even more interesting about our culture! We have some names that are common to both males & females. names like rafat, rahat, nusrat , jaspreet jasmeet.These are identified as male or female by adding the next name for example if you add Kaur after Jasmeet, then Jasmeet is a female & if you add Singh after Jasmeet then Jasmeet is a male ! :D

  10. That's interesting Mona. I've always found it interesting the way Russian's do things. We are tennis fans and often watch Maria Sharapova yet her father is Sharapov. No A. The ova is the female version of the father's name. Marat Safin's sister is Safina.

  11. Great points and good ideas on naming, Elyssa! A name for every stage in life.

    Kelley..that's funny. I think we all have little nicknames that we don't say "outside the house".

  12. I love coming up with names.

    I do just the opposite of you with looking at what names are popular in a particular year. I use the baby name sites and they always have the most popular names for that year. I use that more for my secondary characters but sometimes for the heroines, not usually the heroes. If I'm writing a historical or nostalgia I'm more likely to use a name popular for the time.

    For my own kids, I also try to make sure the names aren't too common at the time and that they flow well with the middle names. At least we did that for the first 3 kids and then I said, what the hell and we used more popular names fore the last 2.

  13. My youngest son is Stephen Edward... I intended to call him Steve as he got older. Everybody else calls him "Stephen" or "Ed". His sisters call him "Ed" most of the time now (long story but their best friend is also Steven). I prefer to call him "Steve" or more and more "Eddie". Ed sounds too old to me. But also, my dad was always "Eddie" to the family and I like that better than Ed. Eddie/Stephen actually prefers "Ed" which sounds very old to me.


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