What’s In a Name

As we begin our new topic for May on our favorite books we use as writers, I couldn’t help but think of a little thin paperback that I have found indispensible when writing middle grade stories. The book is entitled What’s Your Name? A Guide to First Names and What They Mean. It was compiled by Beth Goodman and Nancy E. Krulik, and it was published by Scholastic.

In certain stories I write I give careful thought when looking for a character’s name. I like to have the name represent who this person is or who she/he will become. Most people won’t give the name a second thought, but I want the curious reader to see that there was some planning behind my stories. I sometimes use this technique when looking for surnames, too.

There are many other books that you can use to look for great names, but this is my favorite because it is compact and it was cheap. I bought it at a thrift store for under 50 cents.

Contributed by Catherine L. Osornio

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4 responses to “What’s In a Name

  1. Catherine, so true. Do you think Rhett Butler in Gone With The Wind would have been as compelling if his name was Horace Hemmings? I don’t think so!

    Gloria

  2. Wow! What a find.

    I have several great books on writing that I bought from my local second-hand book store.

    Thanks for the tip.

    Jean

  3. Shirley Shibley

    You pointed out a flaw in my writing, Catherine. I give a lot of thought to names but haven’t checked the meaning. Good idea.

    Shirley

  4. I’ve not heard of this before, so I’m eager to check it out. Thanks! -Nancy

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