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January 20th, 2011
Thirteen Variations of James

Thursday Thirteen

Character names have been on my mind this week since I’m starting to percolate a new story in my head. It struck me when I was searching through my baby naming book how many variations there were of some names. Take James, for example. James is a nice strong name. In fact I’ve used it once already in Fancy Free. Here are some variations.

Thirteen Variations of James

1. Diego (Spanish)

2. Giacomo (Italian)

3. Hamish (Scottish)

4. Hemi (Maori)

5. Iago (Spanish)

6. Jacques (French)

7. Jago (Cornish)

8. Jaime (Spanish)

9. Seamus (Irish)

10. Shamus (Irish)

11. Jay – a diminutive

12. Jem – a diminutive

13. Jim/Jimmy – a diminutive

An extra – Jamieson – the son of James

Writers – how do you choose names for your characters? What are your favorite sources for names? What is your favorite variation for James?

21 comments to “Thirteen Variations of James”

  1. Jay and Jacques make sense to me, but Diego?

  2. I love coming up with character names. That’s my favorite part. :grin: Happy Thursday, Shelley!

  3. Your post hits my sweet spot. I like the name James and I love researching names. Happy TT!

  4. Wow, never knew there were so many. Happy Thursday.

  5. My baby name book is one of my favorite references for just that reason of inspiration. Now I just have to get Giacomo out of my head before I write next. :)

    Thanks for sharing!

    Happy TT,

    13 Comforts

  6. My first (and so far only) published book was based on a story I wrote for a friend who was having marital problems. It was supposed to make her laugh and be able to deal with real life in a better way. So my character names are “real”. However, I’m continuing the series and I want to have names that aren’t too far out there, that people can pronounce, yet not so common that everyone knows 10 of them.

  7. I tend to turn to the phone book LOL. I just never use a last and first name from the same listing. And I have phone books for several cities and states. :)

  8. Didn’t know about a few of those.

    Have a great Thursday!

  9. Lots of variations! Very cool!


    My TT is at

  10. I like finding random ‘fantasy name’ generators online and smooshing names together ;) Of course, I’m not an author and I use this strictly for finding new character names for AD&D. Hehe.

  11. I like Giacomo best (wonder why?). ;)

    Here’s a bonus for you: the diminutive of Giacomo is Giacomino. Cute, eh?

    Happy TT!

  12. Nice bunch of Jameses! Character names are tough sometimes but I try to match the feel of the story to the name I choose. I do have a James in one of my stories too.

  13. That’s interesting that your book has “Jacques” listed as a variation of James when years of French studies have it ingrained in me that it is a variation of “Jack,” which is a diminutive of “John.”

    Phone books and obituary columns can be good name sources (as well as story ides in the case of the latter).

  14. Wow :eek:I had no idea some of these were variations of James!!! What an awesome post.

    I get stumped for LAST names all the time. LOL!

  15. Virginia – I like the phone book too, especially for surnames with a local NZ flavor.

    I’ll also check out the credits on TV shows and movies plus sometimes those SPAM emails everyone receive are from “people” with interesting names.

  16. Coming up with character names is both a pleasure and a pain, and I too rely heavily on baby name books and websites. I also jot down names that strike my fancy while I’m watching movies or if I meet / hear of someone new. Sometimes I also make up names by meshing other names together or changing a letter or two.

  17. I like the Italian version same as Ms. Menozzi. :) I’ve had an entire plot that stemmed from the name of my main character. Fun times, looking for names. I have a lot of Asian characters of late and use the internet for a resource. Happy writing!

  18. huh, didn’t know a few of those. Hamish, eh? Jock is one too.

  19. Wow those are some neat names…I have not heard of a lot of the variations…

  20. Is Iakobos Jim in Japanese? I like the Behind the Name site, and also Wikipedia for ethnic surnames. Also, baby lists of names can be good. Depending…. most are pretty tame. Also, there are a few good sci-fi name generators around if you look.

  21. What an interesting list of variations! I have heard many of these names but had no idea, for instance, that Hamish was a Scottish variation!