Nancy Drew, Harry Potter, and Scarlett O’Hara: The Name Game -
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Nancy Drew, Harry Potter, and Scarlett O’Hara: The Name Game

Nancy Drew, Harry Potter, and Scarlett O’Hara: The Name Game

Recently on AOL News, there was an article about names and their original meanings. The writer of the article cautioned parents about selecting “cringe-worthy” names for their children.

For instance, the name Kennedy is Gaelic for “ugly head.”
Mallory is French for “unlucky.”
Portia is the Latin word for “pig.”
Cameron is the Scottish for “crooked nose.”

Writers need to keep the “cringe factor” in mind when selecting names for their characters. Of course, not all of our readers will know the origins of characters’ names, but if they do, it will be hard to dismiss those origins from their minds as they read. In the WEEK 2 section of our workbook, Jennifer and I explain at length how to develop characters that young readers will bond with. Part of that development should include careful consideration of an appropriate name.

The name should suit the character’s personality or circumstances. Would the name Pansy or Daisy or Sue O’Hara been as memorable as Scarlett? Of course not!

When Edward Stratemeyer first created Nancy Drew, he considered the names Stella Strong and Helen Hale first. They just don’t have the same ring of success, do they? One of the best aspects of the name Harry Potter is the ease in which young readers can say and remember the main character’s name—unlike the often difficult and whimsical names given to characters in fantasy or science fiction novels. Bella Swan is another great name for the heroine of the Twilight series. Bella means “beautiful.” A swan is a graceful water bird. The name is easy to pronounce and easy to remember.

What’s in a name? A lot! So consider your name choices carefully.
Are there some names that stick in your memory–for better or worse? If so, we’d love to hear from you.