Monday, 11 June 2007

Matching a character's name to their age

Say you're writing a story and you've got three characters. One of them is 82 years old, another is 67 years old and the third is 16 years old. You need to choose names for these characters that match their personalities but you also need to make sure they're plausible names for the decade the character was born in. How can you check? Simple! Use this site:

NB: You need to have Java enabled in your browser for it to load.

Once the page has loaded just enter your chosen name and press return and the graph will shift to show you how popular that name was in the decade your character was born.

e.g. "Sandra" was a very popular name in 1940 (one of the top 6 names) but was very rare in the 1920s (rank 562) and has obviously fallen out of failure in recent years too (rank 364 in 2006). So - Sandra's a very plausible name for your 67 year old!


Jen said...

Wow, that's really fab! It's so much quicker than trawling through baby books to find characters' names isn't it? Sometimes, just seeing a name written down can spark off certain traits or whatever.

I also use this one:

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

Those are both really useful, thanks guys. Also interested in your response to 'wannabe a writer' - it's on my list of probable books to buy, but I've got three and a half 'how-to' books that I haven't read yet so it's going to have to wait a while.

CTaylor said...

Jen - fantastic link - thanks! I love that you can find foreign names so easily. There aren't any foreign names in my novel but there often are in my short stories. That site will make it loads easier for me to find a name quickly. Cheers!

Zinnia - I know what you mean. There are very few 'how to write' books that I've actually finished reading (the ones I have I've recommended in my side bar). Wannabe a Writer I finished in two sittings (I have to admit I skipped through it reading various sections first). I was telling Nichola earlier that I recently bought a 'how to edit your novel ' book and I haven't even finished the damned thing yet. I'm a book buying floozy!

SallyQ said...

Cally you've been tagged again. See my blog for details.

womagwriter said...

Really useful site, thanks. There's nothing worse than reading a story and getting the whole wrong idea of a character's age just because the author picked the wrong name.

liz fenwick said...

Great link Cally. Thanks :-)