Bird Face Wendy

Things relevant to reading, writing, publishing or marketing teen fiction.

Character Names

on December 5, 2011

Wendy Thibodeaux likes her name. I’m relieved, because I chose it for a few different reasons.

“Thibodeaux” is difficult to read by most–just like Wendy. Wendy is a complex character and often misunderstood by her classmates.

I didn’t want her name to be common or traditional, because she is anything but. “Wendy” has a lighthearted air that suits Wendy’s desire and ability to escape the rut she’s in. “Thibodeaux” reminds us of her Cajun ancestry. It affects her sense of humor and may lead to adventures in the future.

The other characters in BIRD FACE have names with special significance too.

Wendy’s best friend, Jennifer Sampson, is pretty and a bit pampered, as her given name implies. But she is strong (think of the Biblical character Samson).

Did you receive your given name because of a special quality, event, or historical or cultural figure? What does your family name mean, or does it have an unusual story behind it? Does your name affect how you behave or treat others?

5 responses to “Character Names

  1. Gretchen Engel says:

    Gretchen was chosen to go with my Dutch maiden name (which is actually American, as I understand it, the Dutch didn’t use surnames in 1600s/1700s; Van_ [man’s name] was used) & reflect my German heritage (I’m a typical Midwestern WASPy mutt with Scottish, English, & Irish thrown in the mix).

    Can’t say I always thought this, but I LOVE my name – unique – people remember it!

    I understand Wendy’s plight – my maiden name was long & difficult to spell & pronounce. No one except some non-native Engish speakers have trouble pronouncing Engel (soft G with non-native speakers) but it’s about 10 to 1 Engle to Engel [plus all of the “I” versions], so I automatically spell my last name, something I’ve done all of my life.


  2. Alma says:

    I chose my pseudonym, Alma, because it means “soul”. One thing I thought about Sampson (Samson reference), is that even though Samson in the Bible is strong, he has a vulnerable spot (his hair).

    So maybe Jennifer Sampson’s weak point are her good looks — in the sense that attractiveness can sometimes bring create. Also, people can sometimes not take you seriously when you’re cute, which can create obstacles in your goals…


  3. Alma says:

    Apologies; part of my comment got mangled in my hasty typing/editing. What I intended in the second paragraph:

    “…in the sense that attractiveness can sometimes create vanity…”



  4. A lovely pseudonym, Alma. Thank you for mentioning it and its meaning.

    You’ve made good points about Jennifer. She does have a weakness regarding her looks, although it is not her hair.

    I’m so glad you commented today for another reason also. I am way overdue to write another post!


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