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Monday, May 10, 2010

Parents and Naming

Well, how do you pick character names? I pick character names by thinking about the parents. Because I'm a parent myself, in fact I would have 7 or 10 more kids if all I had to do was name them and I didn't have to take them places, care for them, or buy them shoes.

I also still have lists of names from when I was choosing my kids' names.

Ezra sort of came out of nowhere. We found it in the baby name book and were like, kind of cool, but no way, and by the time he was born, there was Ezra Jude. Noel was the girl possibility when I was pregnant with Ezra, so when I found out I was pregnant with a baby girl who was due in December, well, what other choice was there? So we have Noel Jillian and Ezra Jude. Both two syllable four letter names with middle initial J. A little symmetry there, I think.

For both names we wanted unusual but not made up, classic, not frilly, with some sense of history. I think we achieved that.

In Handcuffs the characters are Paige, Parker and Preston. I named them because I felt like the parents were (before Parker's father lost his job) upwardly mobile and aware of being upwardly mobile. Those p names struck me as upwardly mobile names, and they had a sort of symmetry. The neighbors were Kyle and Marion, both fairly popular names.

I like names that sound like the same parents would pick them. What kind of names would the parents want, because the names the parents want somehow reflect the child the parents want, and while the child they get isn't always what they wanted, their desire for that kind of offspring is bound to have some impact on the kid.

So, unlike some authors, when I'm picking a name I think first of the parents, because I know how hard it is to pick a name. There are freaking checklists involved. And flowcharts, and opinions you will hear from all of your family and friends. All of which are long past by the time a YA character shows up in a story, but still part of their history.

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