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Home » Archives » September 2007 » Check out the "Sunshine Bulge" of the late 60s
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09/06/2007: Check out the "Sunshine Bulge" of the late 60s

I've got two fun sites for you today, Gentle Readers! There is this one, and then there is this other one.

These are both useful sites for coming up with character names. What I like about these sites as opposed to other sites or books I've seen is that they can help you find the right name for a character that reflects the character's age. This can be really useful for giving a script authenticity and for helping readers remember and visualize the characters.

The first site allows you to enter a birth year and it gives the most popular (U.S.) boy and girl given names for that year. Got characters born in 1975? Hmm… looks like Michael and Jennifer are good choices that will, consciously or subconsciously, evoke the right age for your reader. 1999? Jake and Emily. 1901? Good ol' John and Mary are leading the pack.

The second site is more visually exciting, and I recommend you play with it for fun if nothing else. And check out the blog, too -- was Placenta really once a common girl's name? Find out in the blog. Perfectly fascinating. This site graphically displays given names charted against years and allows a user to display, say, all boys given names starting with "An" over all the years. (Watch "Angel" surge in 2003.) This site is a good one for finding names that never were in the top ten, but which enjoyed prior and interesting popularity, or for exploring other subtleties. Want to make sure no one forgets your "Molly" is old? Spell it "Mollie." She just aged in front of your eyes.

Want to name a whole pack of old biddies? Try "Jane," "Mary," and "Lillian". No wait, that was me and my friends in the late seventies -- we were anachronistic, another interesting trait you can play with when you name a character. Our names suggest we might've been out of step with our era. Us? Heaven forfend.

Lunch: spaghetti with marina and artichoke hearts


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