Raven asks, what’s in a name in Raven’s ramblings and Thursday thoughts…
Hi all, yeah me again pondering on life’s little mysteries.
Of what you may ask.
Not what, though sometimes that is important, but more so of whom.
We all have that nasty kid who pinched us/bullied us/tried to kiss us behind the bike sheds/have a grope. The one who, if you see a hero with than name you squirm.
Well, sorry I can’t do anything about that, because the name of your nemesis is probably the moniker of the guy someone else fell in love with or called their child.
Yeah, not simple there. You just have to suck it up, or pretend you’re not really seeing Hugh, Billy or Geoffrey. Or Miranda, Pamela or Jane written on the page. It’s Alex, Zac, Jake or Eloise. Or whatever.
But one thing is vey simple. Names must be suitable to an era.
Seriously, think about it. I know for instance in the early 50’s and 60’s Susan was very popular. In the 60’s and 70’s Tracey. And so on, right up to Chardonnay and Shiraz.
It’s easy enough to look up registers of the most popular names in a certain year or era. How often would you see Krystal, or Debbie in 1818. Or Lauren, Petey and Bubba?
See what I mean? If you throw that sort of curve ball at your readers you might get a few bricks lobbed back in your direction. Obviously it’s a lot easier if you don’t have to think of the historical side of things, but even with contemporary stories you can sometimes get problems.
(And as an aside if you’re writing about a heroine in say 1816 or 2016, they weren’t born in that year. Yeah I can see you all rolling your eyes and going ‘Duh Raven, what do you think we are?’ But believe me it is easily done.)
I keep a list of names that might offend.
Serial killers, child molesters, dictators, you get the gist. You can use the first name more than the last name, after all how many Ted’s, Oliver’s, or Myra’s are there in the world? But often the last name is a no-no.
I guess, all I can say is think hard and do your research.
And then do it again.
Happy reading, researching, and writing,
Love Raven x