Monday, February 06, 2006

What's in a name?

Shakespeare claimed that a rose by any other name would still smell just as sweet. Despite my love of Shakespeare, I'm not sure I completely agree with him on this one.

True, in the actual logical/scientific sense, a rose will smell the same even if you call it stink weed. But on the more philosophical/emotional side, do you really want a dozen long stem stinkweeds for Valentine's Day? I don't care how good they smell, the name does not say 'romance'.

I think our personal names are much the same. Would Romeo and Juliette have been as piercingly romantic if it had been Chuck and Juliette? Or maybe Herbie and Juliette? Now, I'm not saying Chuck or Herbie are bad names, but they don't give you the same romantic image do they?

So, needless to say, when it comes to naming my characters, I take it seriously. Besides the obvious research of looking to see how popular the name was at the time my character was born and whether it's regionally acurate (american, Scottish, etc.) I also check the meanings behind the name. My collosal Baby name book is my best friend. I think it's important that the meaning of the characters name reflects who they are as a person. Are they daring? Sweet? Mean?

Usually I don't have too much trouble finding the perfect name. However, I'm hitting a brick wall today. I'm trying to name a character in my chick-lit. He's an important secondary character, one who will become the true love interest in the end. He's reliable and sweet and romantic and a great friend. The name that keeps coming to mind is 'Sam'. When I look up the meaning it says, 'God hears'. Which kind of works since the heroine realizes that he is the answer to all her prayers (so to speak), but when I hear 'Sam' I'm not sure I think romantic lead.

Am I nuts? Does this name ring romance to anyone else? I've tried dozens of other names, but Sam just keeps popping back up. Does Sam conjur up "best guy friend of no romantic interest' or 'best guy friend just waiting in the wings to sweep you off your feet'?

I'm gonna have to think a little longer on this one.


chubby-girl said...

I actually like Sam...I'm kind of partial to Kenny & Matthew too. ;o) Heeheheheheh....they say romance to me!

April Erwin said...

Good to know. I'll keep Kenny and Matthew in mind too. :) Now, I've just got to find the perfect person to 'face cast'.

Speaking of names, the main guy n the book I'm wrapping up now is named Aidan. I chose his name back in '03. Now I find out that Aidan is the most popular name in '05. It like came out of nowhere. It's frustrating, because now it's not unique. :( I hate that, I had it first! Okay, i'm done whining now.