Tuesday, April 17, 2012

N is for Naming

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Names are powerful.

What's in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.

- William Shakespeare
In a way, Shakespeare's right. Roses could be called "ferns" but they would still smell like roses. But we don't define roses by how they smell. We define them by what they are.

To name something means to own it. When you name pets or cars or electronics, in a way they become uniquely yours.

Remember that scene in Annie when the cop says "if he's your dog, call him"?

Once Annie calls Sandy by his name, Sandy becomes her dog. She owns him.

In a similar way, when writers name their characters the characters stop being nameless, faceless creatures and become more fully realized, living, breathing people.

I think naming characters is one of the most time consuming and the most fun parts of writing. I sometimes spend hours agonizing over a character's name, looking at meanings, at rhythms, at sounds.

Something I find helpful to use is the random namer. Even if it doesn't show me the name I want, it gives me ideas for what I don't want.

I recently used the random namer while I was looking for a name for a girl in my WIP. It brought up the name "Austine."

I don't know why, but that name really struck me. It's a little out of the ordinary, and I like names that are a little out of the ordinary. So Austine is my new favorite name.

Sometimes the characters walk into my head already named, but often the meanings surprise me.

My MC of my WIP is named Simon. One of his flaws is that he's afraid to speak up; people don't listen to him. He came already named, and I'd never bothered to look up the meaning until recently.

I discovered that Simon means to hear, to be heard.
Coincidence? I think not.

My name has connotations of honor and victory of wisdom. I like to think that has relevance for my life.

My middle name (Marie) means "sea of bitterness." Perhaps I will triumph over bitterness to achieve the victory of wisdom? I don't know what God has in store for my life.

But I do know the one name I have that has eternal significance. I am a Christian, endowed with the name of Christ, that name that is above all names.

And of all the names there are, His is the only one that really matters.

What does your name mean? Do you believe your name has any special significance to your life?

Are there any names you especially like? Why is that?


  1. I've never used the random namer before - thanks. My name's meaning is an obvious one, but I'm a kind of obvious person, so that works for me!

    1. It's obvious, but pretty. I love how you incorporated your name into your blog name. :)

  2. I don't know that naming = owning - I look at it more as recognition; this is how I speak about or to that which I know. All words are names for a concept or sound...

    1. Agreed. Names are words, but I think that the act of naming something denotes having some sort of ownership over it. I.E. by naming something, you are deciding what it will be called by.

      Sorry you had trouble commenting! I deleted the duplicate. :)

  3. Simon -- afraid to speak up. Sounds like another Simon who was renamed Peter.

    1. Yes, I've decided to allude to that a few times in the story. :)

  4. LOVE the name Austine-- it's unique and beautiful!

    I actually don't know what my name means, but my mom got it from a book, which seems perfect since I've been addicted to books in all forms almost since birth. :)

    I'm very careful and picking names for my characters. Names have a lot of power, like you said!

    1. I had to go look up your name. ;)

      The closest I found was "Shalee" which is a variant form of "Shalai" meaning "river."

      Regardless of the meaning, it's lovely that it's from a book. :)

  5. I'm visiting from the A to Z challenge.
    Pleased to meet you, Lauren. And yes, names are powerful...
    I have to say, I love your header - it's a beautiful image.

    1. Nice to meet you, too, Michelle!

      Thanks, my sister designed the header. :)

  6. My name literally means "little lamb" or more figuratively, "follower of God".
    Knowing my calling as a Christian, it does have significance to me as I want to live up to what my name actually is.

    I've always loved the name Philip - it means lover of horses...go figure :)

    1. That's a really nice meaning. It definitely has significance.

      Philip... lol. Maybe you could have been named "Phillipa." ;)

  7. I can't give my characters random names. I like to decide what their name means and, then, look up what names go with that meaning.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...