Need Help with Names!

OK, blog community. Soliciting your opinions on character names today.

Names are VERY important in projecting the persona of your characters. Despite what Shakespeare said (he was pulling your leg).

roseTHE PROTAGONIST: 34, grew up outside Texarcana. Modestly bookish type, editor of HS yearbook, etc. Brunette, slender, sharp features, not pretty but OK-attractive. Went to SF Austin for a couple of years before money problems. Moved away from home and to Houston. Worked, started putting herself through school. Got engaged. Doing OK until she had a bad auto accident, leg muscle damage and facial scarring. Broke up, lived with her hippie aunt for a while, then in a commune in Oregon. Back in Houston, back in school. Working as waitress, taking English and creative writing, writing fiction at night.

TOP NAME CHOICES (all names have a Welsh feel; that’s intentional):
Lis (Alison)
Caitlyn, Kaitlyn
Cat (Catrin)

THE HIPPIE AUNT: born in 1950, dropped out of college in 1970 and moved to San Francisco. Named herself. Totally into the drug and free love counterculture. Went back to college well after Vietnam, got a degree and a husband who lasted only a couple of years. Became a witch, discovered she more attracted to women than men, worked various New Age jobs. She and her older (and wealthier) partner opened a Wicca retreat center in the East Texas woods. Lis stayed with her for 3 years after her auto accident, and they are very close.


Leave you comments in the next few days if you want to weigh in. I’ll be choosing shortly.



11 thoughts on “Need Help with Names!

  1. For the protagonist I vote for Nia. [Caitlyn and all variations thereof has been overused, IMHO] For the Hippie Aunt I vote for Harmony or Windsong or Melody.

  2. For the protagonist, I vote for Lis. (Could also be a nickname for Melissa–a Top 5 name in 1980, so it’s unexceptional, and it’s sweet as opposed to the stronger Lis. I confess: love the name Alison.)

    For the aunt, Windsong. Second place is a tie between Harmony and Melody.

  3. The protagonist was born & named by her parents ~1980 in deep East Texas; her name should reflect that. Lis — short for Melissa — would work, I think more than C/Kaitlyn, Lis/Alison, Cat/Catrin. Nobody in East Texas in 1980 would name their child Nia. . . Husband votes for Carlene – not so Welsh.
    For the hippie aunt, I vote for Windsong – Harmony & Melody too ordinary (some people’s parents actually name them Melody). Never heard of anyone naming themselves Ashbury — the neighborhood in SF is generally called ‘the Haight’ by locals.

  4. Ginny and Susan are spot on with the Lis rationale. For the aunt – I really like Ashbury. If I’m naming myself, I want to choose a simple, shorthand that will allow me to introduce more about myself with one word. Ashbury sums up where she was when she named herself… not just a hippie but a proponent of the culture in that neighborhood.

  5. Ok, describing the aunt who named herself makes sense (Windsong) but for the protagonist we need to know her parents who named her! Sure some names fit the person or does the person grow up to fit the name? Alison

  6. Wow! All the passion over character names. Thanks for being excited about this–I am.

    I agree that Caitlyn/Kaitlyn is “too popular”. The only reason I included it is because Dylan Thomas’ wife was named Caitlin, and what could be more Welsh than Dylan Thomas? But, OK. I’ll take Caitlyn/Kaitlyn out of the running (Carlene is out too, sad to say).

    Although statistically, wouldn’t most characters have names that were “too popular.” But heroes of books are the 1%, the ones that don’t fit on the bell-shaped curve.

    That’s why Nia is possible, even though nobody in East Texas in the 1980’s would have named their daughter that. But . . . maybe her mom read a story about a nymph named Nia when she was 9 and fell in love with the name and determined that if she ever had a daughter, she would name her Nia.

    Nobody likes Kukka? OK, out she goes. Everything else still has at least one proponent, and some good arguments.

  7. I think the aunt would name herself Harmony based on the history above, though I don’t know anything about her character traits, so not 100% sure.

    As to the protag, Lis is where I’d put my money. For several reasons, all of them too boring for your consumption. 🙂

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