I suppose it is probably fairly typical for females to keep a mental “List of Names I Like (For Future Reference).” My own list isn’t long. (And don’t tell my future kids, but they’re probably all getting names that had a test-run in one of my own short stories…) However, there are significantly more male names than female names on the list. In the interest of being fully prepared for all future eventualities, where am I to find a name for my female progeny? (Heaven forfend my future husband should have any thoughts on the matter. Of course he won’t. That’s not how the world works.) Thus, I have made it my aspiration to name a daughter after a Shakespearean heroine.
I’ve chosen Miranda.
Mostly I reached this decision because The Tempest is a delightful play; I love Shakespeare’s late romances and it contains one of my favorite lines from the Bard. But more importantly, it is Shakespeare’s one work that may be considered an addition to the fantasy genre. Miranda’s character is certainly young (she’s fifteen), but she has a gentle heart and a fresh, untainted view of the world, which fits well with the meaning of her name: “worthy of admiration or wonder.” Her father is a sorcerer, and she is associated with art and magic.
So, if I’m going to name a child after a character in a fantasy novel, Shakespeare seemed like the safest way to go. There won’t be any horrifying moment of discovery when my child realizes, “What? You named me after the hero in a pulp fiction sword and sorcery novel with tacky cover art?” * Miranda is literate and intellectual and only secretly geeky if you want it to be. And it’s beautiful, unusual, and may be shortened to a nickname without unfortunate effect.
*Not that some of my favorite books wouldn’t fit just such a description. But it may not be the most confidence-inspiring explanation for why your parents chose your name. Though I did discover recently that my favorite male name also happens to be the hero in a fantasy novel. La!