THE NAME GAME
Happy Tuesday everyone! The other day I was at the dentist with the kids, reading a magazine while my little kidlets were in the back getting their chompers scrubbed, and I happened to overhear a conversation at the receptionist’s desk. A man was telling the ladies all about his newborn baby girl, Genivive (JEN-ah-VEEV). Then he said, “So now we have Adriana, Isadora, and Genivive.”
Okay, that caught my attention. I looked up to see a guy dressed in a shirt, tie and sweater vest, looking to be about in his early to mid-thirties. Is it me, or do those seem like really fancy names? Don’t get me wrong, they’re beautiful, but they were different enough, especially hearing the three of them together, to grab my attention.
So I looked them up. According to www.MyBabyName.com, Genivive (with many spelling varieties) is the 25018th most popular baby name at the site, placing it in the top 35% of names by popularity. Isadora, is the 19748th most popular, placing it in the top 28%. Adriana, is the 61896th most popular, placing it in the top 86%. Yet, in 2006, Adriana was listed 287th (top 2%), in 2007 it was listed 99th (top 1%), and in 2008, it was listed 470th (also top 1%). I think Vince Gill even has a song called, “My Pretty Little Adriana.”
Side tangent: Names seem to ebb and flow like the popularity of certain romance genres.
Maybe it was the combination of the three together that really made them stand out to me. I’ve got a Cody, Morgan (F) and Ayden—all names I’d liked from when I was pregnant with Cody (now 16). If Cody had been a girl, Morgan was the one and only choice. She came along 8 yrs later. My main preference was names that couldn’t be shortened to nicknames. When Ayden was born, it would’ve been Amber for a girl, and Joel or Aiden for a boy, with me leaning toward Joel. However, after my first look, he didn’t look like a Joel, and I asked my husband, “So, Aiden?” He said, “I guess, it really doesn’t matter.” Nice, huh? It’s his name! Of course it matters. The nurse suggested the spelling with the Y and we both liked it.
But you know what I found out later? Each name we picked ended up being in the top ten baby names for either the year before, the year of, or the year after of our children’s birthdates. Real original, hey? LOL
Choosing character names in my books can sometimes be super easy, and sometimes it takes days of me looking at books and online lists before a name clicks when I say it out loud with a last name, and with the other main character’s name. Sometimes I look for an uncommon name, other times I’m okay with Rick, or Jenny. There’s not much rhyme or reason, it just has to sound good to me. Same as the names we picked for my kids had to sound good with our last name.
So, how do you choose your names; for a character or your kidlets? (be they two or four legged) When reading, do you mind a really different name, or does it distract you from the story? And how do you feel about shortened names/nicknames?
I came across a female’s name that in my mind was a man’s name (Fallon). I’d never heard it before, and I just couldn’t get past it, so I never finished the book. Another issue is, if I can’t pronounce a name, and have to stop and think about it each time I see it, that distracts me and takes away from my enjoyment of the story.
Give me your take on this subject to be entered into the regular and bonus give-a-ways at the end of the week.
Thanks for reading!!
Stacey Joy Netzel