Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What's in a Name?--A Website for Writers

Okay, this is about my novel. Really. I'm researching names for my third major male character and I found this website which lists the most popular names by year. I own a copy of Beyond Jennifer and Jason as a professional resource (somehow using both Jennifer and Jason a lot in my stories), but this site really is more useful in terms of placing names historically, whether it's Edna in the 1880s or Michael throughout the twentieth century. The real reason I'm here, though, is that I discovered the name Donna was the seventh most popular girl's name of 1961, my birth year. I don't think of it being especially popular (and never really loved the name to be honest), but there you go--I'm popular!

And I have settled on a name for the guy, which is way better than calling him "young guy." Mission accomplished and back to work!


Emerald said...

Huh, how interesting. First, I appreciate that resource — I have sometimes wanted name suggestions in somewhat (historical, for example) context like that too. Thanks.

And I was thinking as I read the post about how my first name was the most popular baby name for girls for something like five years running starting in about 2000 on the "AOL baby names" survey. I have been known to chastise my parents for this in the past, lol, and my mother has said, "It wasn't popular when you were born!" I checked, and it does appear that the year I was born, Emily was not in the top 25. Interesting. Perhaps I'll share with them that I have discovered evidence that supports their claim. :)

Thanks again!

Donna said...

Oh, how funny, Em! The same is true of the name "Owen," which seemed reasonably exotic and BBC when I chose it and is now on the most popular names list. Ah, the perils of being in the vanguard :-).

Craig Sorensen said...

Thank you for this. I have a number of sites bookmarked for names in different countries, and this is a valuable addition to those resources.

Danielle said...

hm..i like donna a lot..both you and the name as well..:-)

actually in my childhood there were a lot 80ies and 90ies movies whith hot teenager girls named donnas who allways were like ten years older then me and totally breathtaking..yep yep

Donna said...

Yes, Craig, isn't the internet wonderful--definitely takes us Beyond Jennifer and Jason.

And thank you, Danielle. I send you a great big smooch :-). Donna is kind of a girlie name. My mother once said, "I think of 'Donna' as a name for a pretty girl, so it doesn't fit you." I was insulted until she clarified, "You're so much more." Not that I totally believed her...but hey, I didn't mean to get complex and poignant here, lol!