What's Your Name?
Updated: Mar 2, 2022
I've been thinking about names lately. Character names, pet names, weird names, last names, famous names...
When a character in a story has a very unusual name, it sticks with me. However, that character probably starts at a disadvantage socially. They'd have to defend their name to young peers, repeatedly correct teachers throughout their schooling, explain the spelling and perhaps the origin in job interviews, all of which gives the author an opportunity to show character traits. Depending on your character, you could show fortitude or embarrassment, pride or humiliation, seriousness or a fun side.
Lately, I've noticed that people are giving pets names that I associate with humans. For example, Simon, Molly, Otis, Barney, etc. The dogs who have live at my house are Odie (like Garfield's buddy) and Pharrah. The last one is derived from a character in the online game Overwatch. I'm not sure what I think of think of these names versus names like Bear, Lucky, Princess, Shadow, Gizmo, Bandit, Boomer, etc. I like pet names that are like Band names - weird, clever, and/or intellectual. According to the pet site Rover, some current popular names are Covi, Rona, Fauci, Zoom, Delta, and Mars. I could live with a Zoom and a Rona. My spouse's litmus test for any pet name is how embarrassed he'd be if he had to shout out the name on a beach. That explains why we've never had a pet named Fluffy or Pookums.
Band names, now there's another whole blog post... :)
People names aren't a issue for me. I've had my kids so I don't have to go there. But I do recall testing each name out, to see what connotations came to mind - like, a kid with that name tormented me in grade school; or my third cousin once removed has that name; or I loved a character with that name (you know who you are, Harriet!). The odd spelling trend is I could live without, although I understand the desire to make your kid's name unique. However, I pity teachers who have to get spelling lessons from kids on the first day of class.
These days, the names I dwell on are names that I want to use for characters. I think I might start a list of interesting names for my next story.
What about you? Got any favourites? Any ones you hate for a weird reason? Let me know in the comments! Meanwhile, here are some dog-family-members whom I've named...