Monday, November 23, 2015

Name Crush Monday: Sparrow

Hey everybody! It's time for another name crush!

My name crush this Monday is the lovely nature name Sparrow. While Joel Madden and Nicole Richie used this name for their son several years ago for their son (matching in sound to sister Harlow), I prefer Sparrow as a girl's name. Sparrow has a different but appealing sound. I just love girls names that end in the "oh" sound! Jesus used a Sparrow as an illustration of Gods love in Matthew 10:29-31, and the gospel hymn "His Eye is on the Sparrow" is based on this passage. I find this to be a positive association but some see it as negative because Jesus's point in the passage was that God cares for the Sparrow even though they are common and insignificant birds so we know he will care for us because we mean so much more than a little bird. I see where they're coming from on that but I still find it to be a positive association (he makes a similar point about lilies but no one considers Lily a negative name). Sparrow is also a great name if you're looking for something that's under the radar. Sparrow doesn't rank in the top 1000 for either gender. I would use this name in a heartbeat if it didn't clash with my last name!

What names are you crushing on lately? Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Names of the Week: Louisa and Clive

Hey everyone! It's still National Novel Writer's Month so I'm featuring more author names this week! These two authors are some of my favorites!

"renowned warrior"
Ranked #973 in 2014

Lousia, chosen for this post because of one of my favorite authors Louisa May Alcott, is a charming yet spunky, old-fashioned name. After some time off the top 1000 list, Louisa has reappeared as of 2014! It's by no means popular right now but people are using it. I think Louisa with the nickname Isa would be so lovely! In addition to having a beautiful name, Louisa May Alcott chose beautiful names for some of her most iconic characters. Josephine (as in Jo March of Little Women) is often a namer favorite, as is Theodore (as in Theodore "Laurie" Laurence").

"lives near a high cliff"
Not ranked in the top 1000 in 2014

Clive, chosen for this list for the much beloved Clive Staples (C.S.) Lewis, is a spunky and obscure name that tends to get most of its attention from name enthusiasts. Clive has a very interesting sound. It's more distinguished than the dated-sounding Clyde. It's one syllable and that's a popular trend. However, Clive has such a different sound that I don't see it making a comeback anytime soon. Fun fact: C.S. Lewis went by the nickname Jack. I wonder if he liked having the name Clive... He chose some interesting names for his characters in the Narnia series, though. While his 1940's earth human names are pretty plain for their era (though Lucy is making quite the comeback), the names he chose for his Narnia characters make a striking impression: Caspian, Aslan, Shasta, Corin, etc. I even think Jadis has a really cool sound (but she's a terrible villian so I wouldn't recommend it...). I think my favorite name that C.S. Lewis chose for his Narnia series is the name of "the magician's nephew" who becomes the professor in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. His name is Digory (DIG-er-ee) and while it's a unique name with a very unique sound, I'd say it's definitely a guilty pleasure name of mine. 

I featured both Clive and Louisa in past articles. You can check them out by clicking below!

Like I said before, these are some of my favorite authors and their works are much beloved around the world! The Chronicles of Narnia series and Little Women are particularly great for pre-teens and I think they both make wonderful read-aloud books for family time!

Also, if audio books are something you enjoy, you can sign up for a free trial of Audible  below and get two free audio books! It's free for you and it helps support this blog!

Tell me what you think of Clive and Louisa and what some of your favorite author names are! 

God bless and thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Names of the Week: Lucy and Reuel

Hi everyone! It's time for names of the week again and in honor of National Novel Writers Month, I'm featuring the names of the authors of some of my favorite books! This week we have Lucy and Reuel.

Ranked #62 in 2014

Lucy is a lovely classic that has become fashionable again. With an endearing sound and positive meaning, it's no wonder Lucy has made a comeback. Lucy Maud Montgomery (sometimes known as L.M. Montgomery) is the author of the enchanting Anne of Green Gables series. I recently finished reading Anne of Green Gables for the first time and I was completely taken with it. It deals with hard things (death of loved ones, being passed from family to family, searching for a family and for love) and a lot of typical girl things (friendships, school rivalry, boys, clothes, looks) but it blends them all together in such a charming way that I don't know another way to describe it except for just a treat to 

The leather edition (which I have) is really beautiful and on sale currently!

"friend of God"
Not ranked in the top 1000 in 2014

I absolutely adore the name Reuel! With it's biblical ties, literary ties, and fantastic meaning, I don't know why more people haven't caught on to this name. For me it's one of those names that's not popular at all when you look at the numbers but I still somehow know more people with this name than is statistically probable. I happen to know two Reuels. They both pronounce it "ROO-el". John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (better known as J.R.R. Tolkien) is the much acclaimed author of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and many other works. I highly recommend The Hobbit as a read aloud bedtime story to share with your kids! It's an exciting fantasy adventure. When I read it many years ago I remember thinking what a fun bedtime story it would be (probably best for kids 8+). I was a huge Lord of the Rings fan when I was younger (still am) and my husband and I attended the midnight premeires of all three Hobbit movies. How's that for a nerd confession?

What do you think of Lucy and Reuel? What are some of your favorite names with literary ties? Let me know in the comments!

You can also enjoy these wonderful works of literature as audio books through Click the link below for a free trial and you'll receive two audio books for free!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Naming Tips for Novel Writers

Hello everyone! November is National Novel Writers Month better known as NaNoWriMo. I think I'm going to be a little too busy to write a novel this November but I do love to write fiction. One of my favorite things about writing is choosing awesome character names. Today I want to share some character naming tips for all you novel writers out there!

*Please note that these are guidelines, more than actual rules. Any of these "guidelines" can be broken, especially if you have a particular reason for choosing a particular name. The point of these tips is to help you choose a name that's believable for your character.

*Also note that if you are writing a futuristic novel or a novel set in another world, most of this won't apply.

1. Keep in mind the era your story is set in.

Stories exist in the context of time and so do names and naming trends. If you're setting your story in the 1940s, you probably shouldn't name your main character Zayden. It seems like kind of a no-brainer but you'd be surprised how many times this is overlooked. You can find out what names were popular for babies born in every year from 1880 onward on the social security database.

Also remember that name spelling trends tend to change over time. Younique spellings like Xzavier, Aleckzander, Madilynn, and Lynnzie are trendy today but less believable for characters born in the last couple of decades.  Some names do have alternate spellings that have been popular for quite some time, though. Another thing to remember is that, in the past, certain names were more popular for a different gender. Not only is a Lynnzie born in 1900 likely to be spelled Lindsay, it's also likely that Lindsay is a man.

2. Keep in mind the age of your characters.

This tip goes along with the last one. You may set your story in 2015 but unless your main character is an infant, they weren't born in 2015. You have to keep in mind what year your characters would have been born in and choose a believable name from that time period. If you're going to set your story in 1940 and your main character is 20, you should choose a name off the SSA list from 1920. If you need to choose a name for this character's mom, you're going to search for names from maybe 1900 or 1895. 

3. Keep in mind your character's cultural background.

This one is usually something people think to consider with last names but it can apply to first names as well. Some names are pretty universally popular but some names are more popular in certain cultures or subcultures. James could fit almost any guy, but you might assume that Hezekiah is either Christian or Jewish. Patrick may or may not have an Irish heritage but it's more likely Padraig does. 

4. Keep in mind your character's nationality.

Again, this is related to the point above. Certain names are more popular in certain countries at different times. Did you know that Jessica is in the top 10 in the UK right now, even though it hasn't been that popular in the States for decades? Many countries also keep lists of popular names so if you're character is from another country, you might want to take a look at those 

5. Remember, the most important people to consider when choosing your character's name are their parents.

This is another thing that should be simple but it can be overlooked. Most people don't pick their own names, at least no picks their birth names. Don't just pick a name that fits your character's personality, choose something that their parents might have chosen. If your character's parents were nature lovers, you might consider a name like Meadow or River. If their parents were into literature, you might think about naming your character after their favorite author. If your character's parents are free spirits who love doing things differently, you might choose a more unique name. If their parents are more straight laced, you might pick a more traditional name.

6. If your character's name breaks any of these rules, you might consider giving a little backstory.

Like I said, these are more guidelines than rules. If you choose a unique name for your character, or just one that doesn't make the most sense considering their background, think about including some exposition to help the name make sense. Have a relative mention to your character the great aunt they were named after, or have your character explain to someone that their name is Everest because their dad is an avid mountain climber. It'll make name lovers like me feel better.

7. If your character's name is unfamiliar and hard to pronounce, you might include a scene where their character explains how to pronounce it or corrects someone else.

Do you remember the part in Harry Potter and Goblet of Fire where Hermione has to corrects how Viktor Krum pronounces her name? That settled a lot of debates between my friends in the pre-movie days. Persephone, Caoimhe, and Olivier might confuse a few readers so just a quick conversation can clear things up.

8. Have a nice mix of unique and popular names

I remember one story that I wrote in junior high where I was determined that everyone would have a unique name even though I set my story in (then) present day junior high. I just wanted to pick out cool names but when I had a friend read over it for me, her main criticism (besides adding a lot commas and correcting my spelling) was that I chose weird names. Having a nice balance of uncommon and common names can give you a chance to include some different and interesting names without it becoming a distraction to the reader. (I would like to point out though, that many of my "weird" names happen to currently be popular. I wasn't weird, I was ahead of the trend.)

Those are the top tips that I can think of for novel writers! I hope you found them to be helpful. If you did, pin it and share it with your other novel writing friends! Stick around and check out some other articles to help you pick the perfect name. If you want some more resources, check out some of the best baby name websites.

Just for fun, if you're currently writing a story, leave a comment with the place and time it's set in along with the names of some of your characters! I'd love to hear them! 

Also, feel free to leave any questions or name help requests in the comments!

Thanks so much for reading and God bless!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Name Crush Monday: Calla

Not ranked in the top 1000 in 2014

I've said before that if I had to describe my naming style, I'd describe it as biblical or Greek names and Calla fits in to the Greek catagory. Calla is simple and oh so sweet. It's familiar yet uncommon. The meaning positive meaning "beautiful" is another plus as is the flower reference. Calla is a flower name (calla lilies) but not one that will automatically be associated with a flower like Rose or Daisy would be. I think Calla really has everything going for it. It's a name that's on my own list with the combo Calla Evangeline ("beautiful gospel" or "beautiful good news").

Check out this post for more flower names:

What names are you crushing on lately? Let me know in comments!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Best Baby Name Websites

Hello everyone! Today I wanted to bring you a list of some of my favorite baby name websites. These are sites that I enjoy and refer to often. I hope you enjoy checking them out too!

Ren's Baby Name Blog

I love Ren's taste in names and her graphics are so cute! She's one of my favorite namers on instagram, too. Her list of favorite combos is amazing! She's also one of the Name Sisters (see below). 

The Name Sisters

The Name Sisters are so much fun and they're all wonderful women! If you're looking for lovely, stunning, and sophisticated names, these ladies will hook you up! Be sure to look for them on youtube as well. Their videos are full of laughs and great names! They're also on facebook so check them out there as well. 

Baby Names from the Bible

I love Baby Names from the Bible because it primarily focuses on my favorite category of baby names, among many other reasons. Alexia Mae, who runs Baby Names from the Bible, really does a great job researching her names and designing her site. She's another Name Sister and another wonderful instagrammer. I highly recommend following Names Daily on instagram!

Abby at Appellation Mountain features such awesome names! I love her graphics and the lists she puts together! She's another great person to follow on instagram. Abby even does private name consultations! Talk about a dream job for a name lover! 

I love Meagan's website and her videos too! She loves the classics but she always features a wide variety of names. She comes up with the most interesting name lists! She's another great person to follow on instagram!

If you are looking for more research than you could possibly want on biblical  names, Abarim Publications is the place to go! They offer such depth in their explanations and have such a masterful understanding of the biblical languages. 

Oh, Nameberry! It's the name site I go to most often and it's tagline is certainly correct, "baby names, only cooler.". Namberry is a blog, database, and forum all at once! If you're a name lover or someone looking to make an impeccable name choice for their child, you need to join Nameberry!

Well, those are some of my very favorite sites when it comes to baby names! Be sure to check them out and follow them on social media!

If you'd prefer to have a book in your hands to make this big decision, check out Beyond Ava and Aiden by Pamela Satran, one of the authors on Nameberry.

God bless and thanks for reading!

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Name Crush Monday: Brave

Not ranked in the top 1000 in 2014

My name crush this Monday is the wonderful yet-to-be discovered word name Brave. I prefer it on a boy but I could see it being used on a girl as well. Brave makes for a bold (pun semi-intended) choice but I love it! It's familiar because it's a word yet not often heard as a name. Using Brave as a name is somewhat along the lines of using Legend or Marvel as a name (however, Brave is classier in my opinion). Virtue names for boys are few and far between and I think Brave is one of the best. I also think Brave makes a great middle name.  Similar Bravery would make a great choice as well. It rhymes with the very popular Avery.

So what do you think about Brave? First name, middle name only, or just a guilty pleasure? Let me know in the comments!