What’s in a name?

ShuShu Fontana.

That was Karen’s drag name on the sit-com Will and Grace. Jack’s friends gave her the formula for a perfect “stage” name. Combine your first pet’s name with the first street you lived on.

Voila! I’m now Brandy Sherwood. Not to shabby.

When I was trying to find a name for my children I used a book, googled, and searched through dusty volumes of family history to find a selection of monikers.

Then my husband and I went through a detailed elimination process to determine the top two finalists. The areas of competition included:
  1. The number of people we knew with that name (the goal was zero).
  2. The commonality of the name on the Social Security Registry.
  3. The number of horrible ways you could change or rhyme the name (i.e. My mom’s name is Ardy. She’s been Ardy Farty for decades….children are evil and creative creatures).

I didn’t go to nearly this much effort naming the characters for my book. The main male character in my Urban Fantasy is named after a super hot guy I knew in college. (Shh!! My husband doesn’t read this blog, so don’t spill the beans. And the character doesn’t look anything like the real person). The guy in my Fantasy Fiction is named Chisholm because, well, it’s the coolest name ever.

What about your characters? Did you do any special research or invent a name? Do the names have special meaning to you? Do you name characters after people with similar characteristics? What’s your formula?


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