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12 Wonderful Women Writers’ Names

slidelitgirlanais2

The name of a favorite female author can make a meaningful inspiration for your daughter’s name. And you’ll notice that a surprising number of these writers –five out of twelve–went by their more distinctive middle names—so that might inspire you to put special focus on her second name if you have literary aspirations for your baby girl.

ANAÏS

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The best known bearer of this name, French-Cuban writer Anais Nin, was born Angela Anaïs Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira and is most famous for her diaries, which spanned sixty years. In addition to being the name of a popular perfume, this lovely French Provencal version of Anne was used by rocker Noel Gallagher for his daughter.

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If you wrote a novel and decided to publish it under another name, what would your ideal pseudonym be?

Would you make a gender switch à la the Brontë sisters, when Anne, Charlotte and Emily used Acton, Currer and Ellis Bell?

Would you choose a more dramatic name such as Ayn Rand (born Alisa Rosenbaum) did?

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BabyReading

Best-selling, prize-winning mystery writer JEFF ABBOTT takes us inside his character-naming process in part one of a two-part guest blog.  Today he describes his methodology, tomorrow he reveals how he arrived at concrete examples–and, incidentally– of the part that’s been played by our very own books and website.

I think it is sometimes easier to name a child than a character in a book.

I have used Pam and Linda’s books to name characters in my novels now for the past several years. And they are perfectly geared to finding that ideal character name, given that the lists are organized by groupings such as style, energy, creativity, and so on. (My favorite all-time list as a resource: The Fitting In, Standing Out list).

I first used a baby naming book as a second-grader, when I was writing my first stories in pencil in a Big Chief tablet. I told my mom I was having trouble knowing what to name a certain character, and she gave me the baby name book she’d used. It listed names alphabetically, with ethnic origin and “variations and diminutives.” What I mostly learned from this book was that Teutonic meant German and I would have been named Caroline if I was a girl. (It was the only girls’ name circled in the entire book.) It offered a fairly slim list of choices, compared to today’s books, and I pretty much resorted to either trying to match a name to the feel of the character (like naming a pretty girl Melissa, which was the epitome of a pretty girl name at the time) or matching the name’s original meaning to the character. (I named a king in a very early short story Frederick because it meant ‘peaceful ruler’, and he was a nice king.)

I knew even then that picking a name because it meant ‘brave warrior’ in Old German had very little to do with how the name was viewed in our culture. And in the shorthand of fiction, you want a name that matches the character,that signals, however subtly, to the reader, a trait or feeling about this person.

When I started to write a new crime series about an ex-CIA agent who owns bars around the world, I wanted the characters to have names that matched their personalities. Now, the advantage of naming characters over kids is that you know the personality of the character, and you don’t know (yet) the personality of the beautiful little baby.

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Bardo (and other celebrity O names)

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Sandra Bullock’s choice of Bardo as her newly-adopted son’s middle name puts the spotlight back on the O names – names that begin, end, or otherwise emphasize the letter O.

We’ve always loved the O names and have taken an ever-expanding view of the category since publishing our first name book, Beyond Jennifer & Jason, in which we (shockingly, at the time) declared names that end in O such as Theo and Milo to be “So Far Out They’re In.”

Linda wrote a blog last year on popular O names, ranging from Leo to Inigo, Alessandro to Juno and including such newly-hot not-technically-ending-in-O girls’ choices as Harlow and Margot.

But Bardo wasn’t in there – though it was included on nameberry, as a German saint’s name (he was the 11th century bishop of Mainz) and also an Aboriginal name meaning water.

Bardo is also a Buddhist concept meaning “intermediate state” – significant, many say, because of Bullock’s marital woes and decision to divorce, announced at the same time as her baby’s adoption.

Wikipedia lists the Six Bardos for those who want more illumination on Bardo, as well as other people and places that have a relationship to the name.  In a more earthly realm, David Boreanz named his infant daughter Bardot, as in the surname of French star Brigitte.

Other obscure O names with celebrity connections (how’s that for a nameberry-only subgroup?) include:

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RussellCrowTennyson

Since April is National Poetry Month, this seems like a perfect time to revisit some of the most poetic of baby names. We’ve already seen starbabies named Poet (Soleil Moon Frye), Sonnet (Forest Whitaker), Auden (Noah Wyle), Tennyson (Russell Crowe), and of course any number of Dylans (traceable back to poet Thomas), not to mention a growing profusion of Emersons.

By some quirk of fate — or maybe it’s prophecy fulfillment – poets in general seem to have more poetic surnames than prose writers do.  Here are some poet-name possibilities:

ANGELOU
AUDEN
BARAKA
BLAKE
BLY
BOGAN
BRONTE

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