Friday, February 23, 2007

What's in a Name?

As an author, I take great pains to choose the right name for all my characters. Even the animals in my stories get the same careful deliberation, as do the names of my ficticious towns and streets.

The name must have a nice beat to it when I say it out loud. It has to flow off my tongue and not cause a jarring sensation. For example, "Samantha Jones." I have to also consider the variations of the name that other characters in the novels can use to show their relationship. "Allegra" becomes "Allie" to close friends and family.

The name has to create a true picture to the reader and reveal the personality and purpose of the characters. "C.J. Tremaine" gives the impression of the powerful boss that he is, while "Petra" tells the reader she values and demonstrates truth, and "Hudson Taylor" sounds like a tower of strength.

To get the perfect name for the characters in my books, I can turn to Baby Name Books or websites which list the meaning behind the name and its origin. Some authors pay close attention to the credits of movies or spy out the phone book for interesting-sounding names.

But what about the ones we're born with? What does our name mean? What traits should it reveal to those we come into contact with? And would it make a good epitaph on our tomestones? An accurate summary of our life?

I looked up my name in the Baby Name Book. "Anna" means "full of grace, mercy and prayer" and "graceful one." I'm sure my Italian parents gave no thought at all to the meaning of my name in relationship to what my character would be, or should be. In fact, I know I was named after my father's sister.

So what do I want my name to say about me? I gave it some thought. Here's what I came up with.

A -rdent
N -eat
N -ice
A -ffectionate

D -evoted
Y -ahweh-believer
N -on-pretentious
O -verjoyed
W -orshipful
S -upportive
K -kind
I -nspiring

I pray I live up to my name. I hope my characters live up to theirs.

How about you? What do you want people to see when they hear your name?

God Bless!

1 comment:

Belinda said...

Hi Anna,
My mother always used to say, when I was preoccupied with appearance,"Real beauty comes from within," which I always interpreted as meaning I had won that as a consolation prize! :) Later I learned that one of the meanings of my name is "inner beauty," and now that I'm older, I cherish that meaning!

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