Site Meter Vamps and Scamps: Names

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


I'm not a good name person. Other writers can come up with names for heroes and heroines. People even name their children after these fictitious characters.

Writers are creative, but yet I have the hardest time coming up with names. I think it's an inherited trait. My full name is Karen Sue. Is that not the dullest name? Even worse, my mother once wrote on my picture "Little" Karen Sue. It's her fault I'm overweight. She jinxed me.

My husband's name is Karl. For our firstborn we stuck an 'a' on the end of it and she became Karla. Whoa, that took a lot of thinking. My father's name is Bill so for our second child we stuck a 'y' on the end of his name and our son became Billy.

We had gotten pretty good at this but when we looked around at other names in our family we couldn't come up with anything we could live with. My mother was Laverne--Laverney? I don't think so. There was an Aunt Wilifred but Wilifredy nor Wilifreda held any appeal. Karl's father's name is Alonso. Alonsoy? Alonsa? Where the hell did Karl's grandmother even come up with a name like that? After a couple of hours of pushing our brains to the limit, Karl and I decided two children were plenty.

When I started my current work in progress I couldn't come up with the hero or heroines names so I took a break. Karl was getting ready for work and I can't get a thing accomplished when he's stomping around the house like a herd of elephants. So I'm watching the morning news when a car commercial came on for Kia. About that time Karl comes into the living room with a bit of toilet paper stuck on his face. I asked what happened and he said he nicked himself. Now, the way I figure it the less brain I have to use the more I'll have when I get older. Karl left for work and I went to my study to begin Kia and Nick's story.

Any of you have a good name story? Or were you named after anyone? Any story is fine.
Karen Kelley
09/06 Texas Bad Boys/Brava


Kelley said...

That is great! I love the story of how you got the two names for your book. Kia and Nick!

My hubby and I had a hard time thinking of a name for our daughter. My friends son was 5 at the time and he had a crush on a little girl in his class named Mckenzie. We were sitting around trying to think about names and he said, "What about Mckenzie?" I loved it! My hubby did too! So, a five year old named our daughter. I'm glad little Mckenzie ended up in his class in school :)

Cryna said...

Okay I was named after my Mother's Mother. It seems that all the children named one of the kids after their Mother - so hence there is a "Cryna Claziena" in everyone of the families. So whenever they are talking about one of us it is "Cryna from and then whatever brother or sister they are talking about".

I used to hate the name, but now as I am older it is okay. But going to school I really hated the name, because it was one that the teachers zeroed in on at the first of the year, because it was different and I got asked a lot of the class questions. I really, hated that part (probably because I didn't have an answer..........LOL).

Now my late husband's name was Annibile (now you know why he went by Bill), no middle name just a first. He was the first born in an Italian family and they figured that was good enough.

I have many funny stories about how when talking on the phone and being asked my husband's first name that when I said it and spelled it I was told "No we wanted your husband's name, not yours, at which my reply would be that is my husband's name and I will now spell mine for you!"

When naming our children we went with Juanita Teresa - a name we both liked........and Charles Kenneth after my Dad and Grandfather. So these were no brainers.

So that is my story............LOL

Judy F said...

My full name is Judith Ann. Add the old confirmation name its Judith Ann Marie. I swear my mom was hopeing for a nun in the family. NOT. Judith is so not me. I am not the proper. LOL I prefer Judy. Only super close friends can call me Jude though.
We are all J's in my family John, Jeffrey, Joanne and me.

Jamie said...

I was supposed to be Jason, but when I turned out to be a girl, they modified it to Jamie and my mom has no idea why. It also took her a while after I was born to remember how to spell my name correctly, according to the birth certificate, so most of my baby pics list me as Jammie. My boys are Matthew Joseph and Noah David. I was so thankful to have made it through a successful pregnancy afer a stillbirth and a miscarriage, that biblical names seemed appropriate, and the meaning of the names fit perfectly.

Michelle B said...

Karen, you crack me up! I love that story. I'm not very good with naming people or pets either! Friends always ask for pet name suggestions and I rarely come up with anything. Part of it is because I think a name should fit a pet or a person, so I want to SEE what I'm naming before choosing a name.

As for family names, we have many on my dad's side. I am always telling people I'm glad I wasn't a boy or I would be Inman Armogen Breaux, III. Yes, the third LOL. I can't imaging growing up with that name.

When I was born, my parents decided they wanted me to have the same initials as my mom (MJB) for whatever reason. They couldn't come up with a 'J' name they agreed on, so I ended up with a last name from my mom's side of the family, which she had taken as her middle name when she got married.

My sister got a much cooler middle name, Ellison (a last name from my dad's side of the family). Both of our first names were chosen to go with the French last name.

I didn't like my name much growing up, but I am actually pretty attached to it now. My advisee's once told me that it sounded like a good married name (though I'm not married) LOL.

Oh well...

Jennifer Y. said...

Love the story!!! I always am curious about how authors get author told me she got names from Soap Opera Digest...used combos of the character and actors/actresses real names.

I wasn't named after my aunt, but we have the same middle name. Not sure where the Jennifer came from. My dad jokes (at least I think it is a joke) that if I had been a boy I would have been named Cletus...he even called me Cleet when I was a kid...LOL. Of course everyone in my immediate family calls me Buddy (another nickname from daddy) my nieces and nephews I am Aunt Buddy....they have never called me Jennifer. My bro and sis are named Mike (Michael) and Michelle...names that go very well together. We all have pretty common names. I have never been a big fan of my name...way too common. I once had a college class with 6 Jennifers in it (there were only 20 people in the class!!!)

We tend to share names in our that I mean that many of us have at least one name in common with someone else in the family. It is mostly middle names. Many of my cousins also have the same middle names as others in the family.

Even my nieces and nephews are named after family members (except for one of the twins...Colby Reed). My new niece was named Megan Rae after my granddaddy Raymond (called Ray) who was killed in a car accident and my daddy (Ray).

Of course there are a few family names that are pretty of my aunts is named Jeanette Laquita (we call her Aunt Quita)...none us are quite sure where my grandparents got the name.

My grandma (mother's mom) once told me that she named her children names that she knew they would be able to spell without difficulty in school (all have simple names that are one or two syllables).

Erin McCarthy said...

LOL, Karen! When my mother was pregnant with me, she went through the baby book and circled all the names she liked (including Dawn and Stacy). She then handed the book to my father, who read until Erin, then refused to look any further. That was the name he wanted. My mom still has that book with all the names circled and my father's big black decisive circle around Erin. :-)

As for my characters, I choose names that reflect what I want to say about them. It usually takes me a day or two to settle on the right name. I'll think to myself, I want him to be solid, reliable, loyal... I'll toss a few names around and then settle on one like Caleb. To me, that fits. Then once I have a name, I can't change it. And I never transfer names from one story to another. The character and their name being intertwined in my mind. I'm stubborn that way. ;-)

Lucy Monroe said...

LOL just totally crack me up!!!! I loved your name stories. I've got nothing that can even sort of compete. When we named our kids we prayed...a lot...and felt like God "gave" us the names for them. When I name characters, I pore through three really thick, really cool naming books that give histories, meanings and other background info on names. I guess that makes me the AR namer. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Karen,

well, I guess I should mention that I have an ex sister in law whose name is Karen Sue... I never thought of it as boring. Not really sure what she thinks it.

I was named after... Loretta Lynn
I hated my name as a child. I wanted something cute or fun. My mother wouldn't allow my friends to shorten it to Lori. But when my nieces and nephews started talking... they shortened it :-) I was Auntie Retta.
Now that they are older and can speak clearly (most of the time) I'm Aunt Loretta.

back to my name... I guess I could have been named Dolly (as in Parton) so looking back, I'm ok with my name.

I won't get into what my grandparents names were, just know that I'm very grateful not to be named after them. ok... I'll tell you... Ezalee Louise & Edna Georgia. My grandfather's names were Horace Buford and William Darcy.

my mom was named Edna Christine and went by Christine. My Dad was William Don Lee, (four names if you add the last name) which they named my brother William Sherman Lee...

My brother ended up naming his 2nd daughter after me. Her middle name is Marie, while mine is Ann.


ilona said...

Love the story of how you came by the names. Picking names can be very hard, especially when trying to please others in the family too.
I was named after a character in a romance as my mother (being german) couldn't spell the name my father had picked for me, so she just gave the one in the book she was reading at the time LOL. I was born in a german hospital and they insisted on my being named within 24 hours and as my father was away with the army she couldn't ask him how to spell Myrna (afer his sister) :D
As for all 5 of my kids they all ended up with names beginning with the letter A. It started with the first born being named Adam Charles (middle name after grandparents)and then the second one was going to be Mark Anthony (middle name after his Dad) but at the last minute hubby said it was better to call him Alan Anthony (less bullying over that name!)- by the time the othrer three came along the A theme was set :)

EA Monroe said...

When I'm writing and a character pops onto the page, I do what the Native Americans used to do to name a child -- the first thing they see. That's how a character of mine ended up being named after a loaf of bread. He popped onto the page, I looked up and on top of the refrigerator was a loaf of bread. Poor guy has been stuck with the name ever since. No matter how many times I attempt to change his name, the loaf of bread sticks.

susanna in alabama said...

I was named for a character played by Elizabeth Taylor; the character went crazy in the movie, which amuses me. I like my name, though. My sister was named for Laurie in Little Women; her name is Laurel.

For the main female character in my current story, I chose a gaelic name because she's of Irish ancestry; the last name belongs to a country music star who comes from the same part of the country as my character. The man I wanted to sound strong and distant, so he's Sam Winter. Right now, anyway; I don't have the same intense feeling of rightness for his name.

Another thing I've done is gone through a phone book in the area the story is set, to see what surnames are common. I even wrote to the current head of an Irish clan to get the proper pronunciation of a surname, which is different from how it is pronounced in alabama. Of course!