She’s taking shape ever-so-slowly in my head and it’s time to name her.

This should be simple, but it might be worth mentioning that my husband and I took six weeks to name our daughter.  We actually received a letter from the council saying that if we didn’t register our baby, they’d assign her an official name.  An official name?  What on earth could that be? Armani? Jazelle? TreyC?

I’ve since heard that unnamed abandonned babies are traditionally named after the King (or Queen) — so perhaps she’d have ended up Elizabeth. Queen Elizabeth I was nicknamed Gloriana, however, which is not very far from Gloria.

For naming characters, I haunt the more eccentric end of the baby name website spectrum. There are websites for old English, Norse, and Shakespearean names, and I get a lot of use out of the most popular names of various decades from the last two centuries, courtesy of the US census. John and Mary topped the lists in 1900. Seraphina, Violet and Isla can all be found in the US top ten girls for 2010. Asher, Atticus and Finn make this year’s top ten for boys.  Weird.

I’m thinking of naming my fictional girl Mila. But the internet tells me it’s a (slightly skewed) acronym of My Life Is Average. And hers will be anything but. Guess I’ll just have to wait and see if it sticks.

P.s. Leon Uris’ Mila 18, is, as I’m sure you know, the reason that Heller’s Catch 22 got its title.  Heller’s book was originally Catch 18, but Uris got in first.


9 thoughts on “Naming fictional characters.

  1. Faith 8 years ago

    According to Behind the Name (fabulous name website!) Mila means: Originally a diminutive of Slavic names containing the element mil “gracious, dear”.
    That site will also give you the popularity in various years and the male/female form and other related names. A surefire way to “waste” an afternoon! 🙂

    1. Meg 8 years ago

      I don’t need any more ways to waste afternoons. Thank you for that, Faith. Which is a very nice name too.

  2. bookwitch 8 years ago

    I think Faith was on my shortlist, but vetoed by insensitive male. Although since the baby was a boy it was just as well.

    1. Meg 8 years ago

      Ours was going to be Moe if she’d turned out to be a boy. Or better yet, boy quintuplets.

  3. Kathryn Evans 8 years ago

    I thought I’d been original with Archie, alas no, there are 3 Archie’s in boys very small school year group of 12. I consistently deceive myself of my own originality *sigh*.

  4. jackie morris 8 years ago

    I signed books for a Heaven, an Angel and a few other odd ones last week. But then I wanted to call my daughter Berengaria but was stopped by husband. Ah well. Ex-husband now, but not because of his inability to agree with my naming skills!

    1. Meg 8 years ago

      Love the name Berengaria. That would stop the signing author short!

  5. Adam 8 years ago

    I would call her Rachel Brown 🙂

  6. Bazza 8 years ago

    The late Richard Condon had a different character in every one of his two dozen or so novels with the name of Frank Heller. He proposed creating a register with a pool of names that any author could use at will and also used his friends names, with their permission, for characters in his books.
    Bazza’s Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

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