N Is for Name

Have you ever considered what your name says about you? How does it fit with who you are? Do you have a unique name? Are you a one-of-a-kind person? Maybe your name doesn’t define you at all. Maybe you are shy and have a name that better fits the most gregarious, outgoing girl?

Names can hold a lot of weight, and in storytelling they can give us plenty of fodder for storytelling. They can foreshadow some of our character’s personality traits.

Take, for instance, a girl with the name Charlie or a boy named Sue. While these names were once upon a time used for both sexes, recent trends have made them gender specific with Sue being primarily a girl’s name and Charlie one for boys.

But what if our hero or heroine had a name that was identified with the opposite gender? How would they react? Is there a way to use that to show something about their character? Their tenacity?

Then there are names like Amber or Daniel, names that conjure up certain images in one’s mind, like a popular, outgoing cheerleader for the former or a strong warrior for the latter. How can these stereotypes play into your narrative? For instance, what if Amber and/or Daniel were shy bookworms?

BTW: According to a study released earlier this year, my own name, (via the spelling “Faigy”) is New York’s favorite quirkest girl’s name thanks to the large concentration of Orthodox Jews in the state. (Also on the list are: Shimon, Yaakov and Nechama.) You can check out the rest of the list: http://www.today.com/parents/quirkiest-baby-names-state-t108836

Your Assignment: Research some names for potential story characters. Is there a name that perfectly fits your character? Or, perhaps, one that totally doesn’t fit? How can you use that to make your story and, more importantly, your character stronger and more vivid in the mind of your readers?

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