I struggle choosing names for my characters; sometimes I hit on the perfect name as I begin to write, sometimes the name changes several times before I find the perfect one to fit the character – to fit in terms of how I see my ‘person’ but also their age, their background, their family… so many things to consider. Having done that quite often I find readers don’t like the name I’ve chosen… I do bear that in mind, what others might like, but at the end of the day it really is my choice… and as i said, I do choose very carefully.
How much more difficult it is, and what a responsibility it is to choose a real child’s name… or even a pet’s name! We have a new dog and we had to choose a new name… Rupert or Rocky seemed the favourite… he was fluffy like a bear but he looked a little toughie like a Rocky might. However many times we tried calling those names, he responded to neither. We started trying other names, with little interest from him until I called ‘Reggie!’ and he immediately looked up and bounded over to me. There was no particular reason for my choice, we were just randomly calling different names. Daughter called Reggie and he bounced back to her. We did try other names, but no, Reggie was what he liked and it has stuck. My goldfish were easier to name as they didn’t really care what they were called…
Children however do care what they are called! I was named after my great-grandma, and after going through a short phase of not particularly liking my name, now I very much do, and like it being unusual and yet short and easy to say (although you wouldn’t think so – I’ve had Louise, Lewis, Louis, Lucy, Loese, Loris, Loys, Loz, Loess and more) When our children were due we felt it such a responsibility. We didn’t want names beginning with B or L, our initials, no S or E, our surname initials, I liked unusual names, my husband liked traditional… we looked endlessly for inspiration, and then suddenly it struck us – Rory! Short, simple, unusual (apart from when we went to Ireland) and the name came from my favourite rugby player, Rory Underwood. Our son wasn’t named after him, but it was a name which came to our attention because we both liked rugby. We were totally stumped for our daughter, and then one evening as I watched TV and saw the credits roll past I saw Madeleine. I had only ever known one Madeleine, someone I was at college with; she was very attractive and very nice person, and it was such a pretty name, and again not that common – although there are more around now, some with different spellings.
The reason I’m thinking of names is that a list of the most popular baby names has been published:
I wonder what next year’s top names will be?!