Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bill and Ted? Arthur and Stan? Or Marjorie and Delilah?

Whilst at Caerleon this year, I met Katey Nixon, who has put together a resource that will be useful to the short story writers amongst you.

Naming a character can be difficult, but you can add more credibility to your story if the name you select is one that was popular at the time of the character's birth. So, if you have a male character born around 1914, the most popular boy's name at that time was John. The sixth most popular name was Arthur. Fast forward to 2004 and the most popular boy's name was Jack, whereas the sixth most popular was Samuel.

Katey has placed all this information onto one Excel spreadsheet document, with one sheet dealing with boys names and another for girls. It lists the 100 most popular names (for boys and girls) for each DECADE of the 20th Century, and the same for each YEAR (up to and including 2008) of the 21st Century. It really is an amazing resource.

To obtain a copy of this spreadsheet, Katey is asking for a small £2 donation to a charity that she is keen to support. Her aim is to raise £400 for a charity called Hamlin Fistula UK, which aims to support women in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) who incur horrendous injuries during childbirth.

It's easy to do, simply visit Katey's page on the Just Giving website, which can be found at and click on the 'Donate Now' button. After donating, you'll be sent an email confirming your donation, and this will contain a link, enabling you to download the Excel Spreadsheet.

It's a worthwhile cause, and for the sake of a couple of pounds, you'll never be stuck for a first name ever again!