The Clasp by Sloane Crosley These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik

Oh-Na-Nawrimo - What's Your Name?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I want to talk about names again and I want to help YOU. National Novel Writing Month is racing toward us at a rather frightening pace and I'm sure many of you are deep in the throes of planning your great work. Sometimes our characters seemingly name themselves and it all works out marvellously but other times a name just won't stick. So, if you're in possession of a troublesome, nameless character, drop me a line. In the meantime, let's take inspiration from our most beautiful people: the modern supermodels.

Our current crop of supers have some highly usable names. See, if you're writing a contemporary novel, you have to think about how old your character is and what kinds of names were fairly common during their formative years. For example, if you're writing an NA novel set today, chances are your main female character isn't going to be a North or a Wyatt. Obviously, it's entirely up to you and many parents are ahead of the curve (Sophia wasn't that popular when I was born) and original in their naming but I think authenticity is important. 

Now, for our female top models, we have:

Joan - Classic and timeless. Can apply to the more studious type or your wild child. 
Cara - A sophisticated but not inaccessible name. Not for your cutesty, bubbly character. 
Karlie - This one is for your bubbly, girl-next-door character. 
Miranda - Not just for older ladies or nightmare bosses. Miranda means 'marvellous' and again is quite sophisticated. Struggling for nicknames? Not a fan of Mimi? Mil or Millie is often used over here. 
Rosie - Rosie is really popular but don't be put off. Often used for go-getters with hearts of gold.
Jac - Want some edge? Not keen on Jackie? How about just Jac. For your outlier or Queen Bee. 
Malaika - Perhaps you're writing a diverse novel and you quite fancy an 'ethnic sounding' name that isn't Maya (I love the name but it seems to crop up everywhere). Try Malaika (pronounced Ma-lie-ka). 
Candice - Another strong name but I'd avoid the nickname Candi...
Jourdan - There are a couple of Jordan's floating around out there in the world of fiction but how about a fresh spin? 
Suvi + Suki - For your cosmopolitan character. 

And now, let's hear it for the boys:

Arthur - To be paired with your Joan. Classic, strong, and witty. 
Noah - This name has been popular for a long time. No, I have not seen The Notebook but I know the guy is called Noah. So, why not use it for your love interest too? I don't see this name on the antagonist but it's entirely up to you.
Tyson - This one on the other hand can work for the love interest or the villain. Soften it down to Ty or keep full on Tyson for your cocky know-it-all. 
Cory/Corey - The best friend. 
Tobias - Yes, we all know Four's real name is Tobias but it's still an underused name. Give it a whirl, see what you think.
Felix - Not just for your housecat. Felix has a European edge to it. 
Jourdan - Not just for the girls. There's a male Jourdan too! 
Tarun - For those of you who fancy giving Raj a break. 
Sean - A name that will fit all age groups. 
Harvey - I think Suits has helped up the cool factor a lot. 

So, there's a few to help you out but if you're still having problems, let me know - I do like a challenge...! Surnames can be a pest too, so throw those in whilst your at it.

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