Hey fellow writers need a little help with a female character....

Two part question for you???

1.Wondering about a hyphenated last name to go with the last name Darling.

Darling - ______ or _______ - Darling 
 Looking for an uncomplicated, somewhat sophisticated sounding double barrel name.
[name_m]King[/name_m] - Darling? [name_f]Whitley[/name_f] - Darling ? [name_f]Star[/name_f]- Darling? Darling - Lady (,maybe that last one is a tad too much)  Would appreciate any advice &/or any ideas for a last name???Thanks 
  1. Thoughts on an elderly woman with a hyphenated last name? What does the reader assume about the character???

    [name_f]Do[/name_f] you think a hyphenated name would make people think married woman?
    If no , why not? And if yes, what % of readers would you guesstimate would think that? Thanks.

  1. Darling-Blackwell, Darling-Crowen, Linus-Darling

  2. I’m not sure whether I would guess it to be a married woman. A number of my friends’ parents hyphenated their children’s last names, so I wouldn’t be sure unless an age was specified or implied.


I would probably assume her to be a married woman, and I wouldn’t assume an age.


  1. Depends on what flavor you want!! Darling can be sweet and feminine and cute, especially when combined with names with a similar flavor. Yet Darling can also be dark and brooding and sinister when coupled with similar. Darling can also be simple and strong and somewhat neutral. So I think what I hyphenate it with would ultimately determine the “feel” I want the character to have. I will think of some examples and send some in another post.

  2. I think an elderly woman with a hyphenated last name is bold and independent and eccentric. She may or may not be married. I would assume no but I believe the majority of people (probably 80% or more) would assume yes or at least divorced. I know LOTS of women who are single/ never married and have a hyphenated last name taken from each of their parents. They are all sophisticated, intelligent, educated and independent. But like I said, I think most people would “assume” married.

Darker names:

Neutral names:

Sweet or cute names:


Yes, my first assumption would be that she is married


I’m not sure if I would assume she was married, to be honest. I guess I would say no, but I might think she once was. If it’s an old woman, I wouldn’t be shocked to hear she lived alone or something because I’d assume her husband was just dead. Although, it’s common in some cultures (like in Latin America) to give children two surnames, and that’s not a recent thing so that makes me less likely to assume married.
I also don’t know if it matters? Even if my first assumption is married, I wouldn’t be shocked to find out she wasn’t. A relationship status isn’t a personality trait so finding out she’s single wouldn’t change much for me imo.

I would choose [name_f]Whitley[/name_f]-[name_f]Darling[/name_f] since the other options sound too wordy to me.


In the UK, traditionally double-barrelled surnames were used by the upper classes (e.g. [name_m]Jacob[/name_m] [name_u]Rees[/name_u]-Mogg, [name_f]Camilla[/name_f] [name_u]Parker[/name_u]-Bowles, [name_f]Rosie[/name_f] [name_m]Huntington[/name_m]-Whiteley). So I would likely assume that she is meant to be wealthy. However, if your story isn’t set in [name_m]Britain[/name_m] then this probably doesn’t apply.

I wouldn’t necessarily think that she has to be married (though most elderly woman have been married at some point in their lives).