I can’t claim originality on this topic. I replied to Joanne Guidoccios’ blog on this.
This caught my attention immediately. It is difficult to be completely original. One’s character name is really important. Part of the joy of writing fiction is that you can make things up …. that’s right, lies out of whole cloth…. and includes names of characters. At some time in the far past it was all right to use common names if your character was written to represent “everyman” or “everywoman.” So in English that would be John, French is Jaques, Spanish Jose, Irish Shaun, Scottish Sean, Russian Ivan or Ioann, Johannes or Hans in German, etc. the most common names in each culture. For our era, my protagonists need to be original and totally made up. My one exception is that I still like Biblical names that were not as commonly used. I could go on. Read Joanne Guidoccio at: http://joanneguidoccio.com/2012/07/31/selecting-the-right-character...
In my first novel I used a family friend’s nick name as one major character’s name. Prior to publication I thought it was NOT right to use it. I changed it to another nick name for a fellow from California, “Cal.” It was only later on re-reading John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, that one of his character’s names is also “Cal.” I’ll bet that happens a lot. Names we might like and do not remember why - pop up in our minds.
Fascinating topic. What is your take on the names of your characters?
Timothy J. Desmond
THE DOC, ebook conspiracy thriller novel at
SWIM THE RED RIVER short story at
Tim’s Amazon author page at: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00694KQQO
Great post. I always struggle with this too. I like to use names of those I know or have met and relate a certain trait with...but it's fun to make up things as well, but I think certain names will always have a certain meaning (I could not name a mean character Grace for example, that was/is my grandmother's name, and I think it would hinder my development of the character).
I like unique names, maybe combining names to make up one, although these days not too many unique names out there! I really like that you posted this, I have been assigning names to some characters and this was a good reminder that it's my world...yet the names need to fit the character. Thanks again!
Dana, thank you. Yes using family names is tough. Strange this seems to be or can be a hangup of an issue in the writing.