It may have caused havoc for the star crossed lovers, but as Shakespeare's Juliet famously said -
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."
What does your name say about you? Does the person become the name or does the name mould the person?
In the Johnny Cash hit song 'A boy Named Sue' the main character's father named him 'Sue' to make him tough...
"I tell ya, life ain't easy for a boy named "Sue."
"Well, I grew up quick and I grew up mean,..'
but it wasn't something he was going to repeat himself..
And if I ever have a son, I think I'm gonna name him
Bill or George! Anything but Sue!
How often have you heard a name that conjures up an image even before you meet the person? Is there a Sandra or a Melanie, a Kevin or a Jack who comes to mind when you hear the name, reminding you of a positive, or much worse, a negative experience?
Very occasionally I meet someone whose name just doesn't seem to fit them.
I know someone whose name is Bill, but every time I see him the name Paul comes into my head. I have no idea why, he just looks as if he should be called Paul.
It's not something that has happened often, but again recently I met a teacher in a school whose name didn't seem to suit her, either. The name just didn't fit the person I saw, and I had a bit of a problem remembering her name because of it.
Perhaps it is just me, but has this ever happened to you?
How important is the name you choose for your child?
It is a badge they will likely wear for most of their lives but have little choice in themselves.
Baby names often vary with the times, with children named after popular TV series characters who are long forgotten, or celebrities who are no longer famous by the time the child is entering high school.
Then there are those bizarre spellings, a real pitfall for any author at a book signing!
Choosing a name for your characters involves thinking about lots of different things and it throws up a few possible plot ideas, too.
- Is it a name that reflects their age, their background, their personality?
- Does their name matter to them? Is it a positive or negative force in their lives?
- Is it something another character might make a fool of, or turn into a nickname?
- Is theirs a family name?
- Perhaps they have a their surname that might have complicated problems attached to it?
In a recent post on Picturebookden Blog Paeony Lewis explored how some picturebook authors go about choosing their characters' names. Some people use names of people they know, others need to know the names of their characters before they start to write because it is such an important part of the character.
Do you have a problem with names? Do you need to choose your characters' names before you start to write about them or does the name come along later?
Is there a character in a book you have read whose name seemed particularly right, or just plain wrong?
What's in a name?
Linda Strachan writes books for all ages, from tots to teens and writing handbook Writing for Children A & C Black