Category: book character names

posted by: ClareB View all posts by this author

By Clare Bristow

Edith Wharton is known for her novels of American society in the Gilded Age (the late nineteenth century) and early twentieth century.

Wharton was one of the first authors to write about this period, and she knew it well, having grown up in it. Her books are about not only high society – the parties, the travel, the social deals – but also the private life that went on behind it. Love affairs, secret debts, scandalous behavior, it’s all there.

Her characters’ names evoke that world beautifully. It’s interesting that relatively few have timelessly popular names like John and Mary. Instead, many have names that were fashionable in their era.

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Naming Book Characters: 3 Easy Steps

By Ellen Smith

I’m a name nerd.

True story: In college, I spent hours compiling data for a study on the attractiveness of male and female names. Amanda? Very attractive. Mildred? Not so much. Ken was more attractive than Keith, while Liam was about as attractive as Levi. By the end of the study, I had an Iliad-length research paper and a major caramel-macchiato addiction.

Ah, youth.

Believe it or not, even after all of that research, I still get excited to dream up the perfect names for the characters in my books. Finding just the right character name actually helps a story start to take shape in my mind. Since I have a tendency to get stuck on finding the perfect name (Maura or Mara? Lila or Lily?), I try to break the process down into just three steps.

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By Mathieu Cailler

During my recent book tour travels, I would often read a short story titled “Zorba’s” from my collection, Loss Angeles. In it, a young couple contemplates names for their soon-to-be-born baby boy. They go back and forth: the husband likes a name, the wife does not, and vice-versa. What I noticed at the readings was that everyone has a name story. And it got me thinking about the names in my book, and how I came to select them.

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Literary Baby Names in the News

By Abby Sandel

Let’s talk literary baby names.

Jennifer Love Hewitt’s new son has a name borrowed from one of the hottest sources of baby name inspiration today: the 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird.

Noah Wyle’s new daughter has a Mockingbird middle. Her first is associated with a beloved children’s author, too, whose most famous works date to the early twentieth century, as well as with the heroine of J.D. Salinger’s famous story Franny and Zooey.

The current Number 1 name for girls comes from Jane Austen’s Emma, first published in 1815.

Even in our age of modern inventions like Jaxson and Skylar, plenty of parents stick to the classics – in baby names and literature, too.

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By Linda Rosenkrantz

If you’re looking for a really unusual name, you might not have to look any further than your nearest library.

What follows is a melange of quirky character names—a mix of word names, surname names, nickname names, invented names–found in modern literature.  To keep it from going on into infinity, I’ve limited the list to mainstream twentieth century novels and plays, avoiding for the most part the often bizarre nomenclature of sci-fi and other genre lit.

Alivina Houghton, The Lost Girl, D. H. Lawrence

Amaranta Ursula, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel García Marquez

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