So much for mother’s intuition on this one. It’s a boy!
And of course one of the first things that came to mind was “What are we going to name him?” Not that it’s super crucial yet — we still have 4½ months — but it’s just one of those natural questions. And of course I think of all the girl names I’ve stored up and wonder longingly if I’ll ever be able to use them.
Everybody’s heard by now that Stephenie Meyer chose “Bella” for the main character’s name in Twilight because she had three boys and had been saving that name for if she ever had a girl. Maybe I’ll be in the same boat: I’ll get to spend girl names on characters instead of babies.
The thing that really fascinates me about naming, though, is the idea of a “right” name. With our first, we knew his name before we got pregnant. With our second, we chose the name in the delivery room and had no clue before hand, but he immediately looked and felt like that certain name. With this one, we had zippo boy names when we went into the ultrasound but already afterward quickly stumbled onto one we’re considering (sorry — won’t tell yet!).
I’ve had similarly varied experiences with character names. In my first novel, I changed every single name in there: Allison to Corrine, Susan to Hallie, Peter to Greg, etc. In my second, they’ve stayed so far, though there were small surprises, like nicknames I didn’t expect.
It’s like a name just has to “click” for you, like there isn’t a real way to describe what makes it perfect.
And yet, my mother-in-law gave me a printout of what my names — Jacquelyn and Nichole — mean, and my jaw dropped open at how perfect every description in there was. Hubby is skeptical, saying it’s like fortune cookies where it could fit anybody, but I disagree. I think names have significance, even if I can’t pinpoint how it works. I honestly think the right name for a person or a character “clicks” because it fits, because it says something about that person.
Call me crazy if you want, but tell me what you think! What experiences have you had with naming? Any insights into how it works? Does your name fit you? What do you think of character names in books? Any favorites — especially boy character names you’d recommend for a baby??
UPDATE: I’m blaming this omission on scattered prego brain, but I meant to include a link to an interview with Megan Whalen Turner where she was asked about her characters’ names, which all sound very Greek, and she confessed that she’d occasionally use placeholders like “Bob” until she could think of a real name, but once a “Bob” accidentally made it all the way to copy editing before she caught and changed it!