Monthly Archives: March 2012

What’s In A Name?

♣  Are names important?
♣  Does your name define you?
  Can a name influence the way you are perceived?

We have no control over who our parents will be.  And it is them, not us, who choose our name.  But we are the ones that have to carry this blessing or curse through school and work and dating and life . . .

There have been many studies, which claim that your name can

♣   influence what people think of you
  what job you will do
   and even how lucky you are

Who knows if this is true or not . . .

Some parents name their children after grand-parents or parents, although this seems to have died out a little over the years.

It seems that names generally become popular depending on who is in vogue at the time, ranging from movie stars like John Wayne to musicians, footballers and even to Popes.

In 1990, after Italia ’90 it was David and Jack.  Back in 1979, John Paul was one of the most popular names after the Pope’s visit to Ireland.  David McWilliam’s even named his book, “The Pope’s Children”, after them!

For the characters in my novel, which is set in the States, I spent days scouring lists of the top 100 girls’ names, boys’ names and surnames for different years.  Eventually, I cut out my favourites and had them set out in rows, for close to a week, while I mixed and matched to get the perfect names to suit my characters.

I still have clips of the names in each category – the names that didn’t make the cut – but I’ve found them so handy to be able to choose minor characters without going back to the drawing board.

A great tip I heard years ago was to visit a local graveyard in the area where your characters will live, so that you can choose names appropriate to that place and time.  It was especially good for a ghost story I wrote using Glasnevin Cemetary, both as a source of names and as a setting.

I have tried a couple of ‘name generators’ on-line, but for me, they never came back with anything I would like to use – maybe I’m just too fussy!  But I do feel, that especially in a story, the name alone already has your imagination conjuring up the characters job, social standing, origin etc . . .

I would be most interested in your views and comments, if you would care to share . . .

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