Monday, October 1, 2007

A Rose by any other Name

Recently I was sitting with a group of writers and we started talking about names. My name is Pamela (no surprise if you looked at my picture), and I love my name. I think if my parents had named me something else, I'd have always longed for Pamela. In the "Writers' World" Pamela is not overused. The good news is that it is also not stereo-typed.

My good friend Stacy Cornell just sold to Special Edition. Congrats!!!! Stacy and I had this conversation years ago. She says, "There are no Grandma Stacys." She thinks her name does not age well.

There are names that are stereo-typed. For example, Grandpas are named Walter, Henry, Arnold, etc. Grandmas might be Pearl, Opal, etc.

Then, there are the vogue names. I recently sold two books at the same time, and received this advice from my editor: Change one of the names. Both sons should not be named Justin.

Yup, that's right. Two different books and both had young boys named Justin.

Right now, in the Writers' World, heroines are named Jessica, Natalie, etc. Heroes are Sam, Joshua, Matt. Children are Justin, Courtney, and Britney.

Years ago, I sat next to a writer and she was telling me her great story idea, set in Ireland, and I - being young and stupid - said, "Well, don't name your hero Ian. The last five romances I read that were set in Ireland had Ians as heroes." You guessed it. She'd named her hero Ian, and she wasn't about to change it.

Face it, names changes as the world changes. My mother was Rosemary; my father was Albert. Grandma was Rose; Grandpa was Robert. None of those names are 'really' popular right now. My husband's mother was Irene; his father is Robert.

Now, Bob is a bit longer lasting. There are still plenty of Roberts out there (I should know I teach college freshman). By the way, in the land of the early twenties, the most common names are Christopher, Amanda, Ashley (which can be spelled five different ways!), Josh, and Sarah.

So, what makes a name long lasting? Dunno, you tell me.

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