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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Naming Characters

I wanted to read this story a few days back, right.

Loved the author, was intrigued by the blurb, sucked in by the excerpt, but I just couldn't do it. The hero's name was the same as one of my brothers (I have four brothers and four brothers-in-law, so I knew this was bound to happen eventually). This was an erotic romance. I just couldn't read the story because I knew I'd picture his face, and when one of those steamy, yummy sex scenes cropped up, I just knew I'd picture...well, you know.

Couldn't do it.

Am I strange or does anyone else have problems with the names of some characters?

When my sister was about to have a baby girl and was thinking up names for her, she loved the name Megan, but knew a Megan from school that she really didn't care for, so she had to name the child something else.

When I write a story, I usually come up with the oddest names because I don't know anyone by that name and can't be biased by it. I have heroes with names like Boston, Braxton, Cameron, Grady, Raith, Reed, or Cooper.

Do character names help or hurt the stories you read and write?


Marie Rose Dufour said...

I have to agree. I have not bought a book because of a character name. When I am writing, I do the same thing. I think of names that have no association with people I know in real life. Sometimes, it's really hard.

Amber Skyze said...

I agree, Linda. I tend to lean toward different names like you stated.
I recently heard on a talk show that if you are having a baby you should keep the names to yourself until the child is born. They said, as you did, that everyone knows someone by a name and has something to say about it. Once the baby is born and you've named it, they won't criticize the name you've chosen, so not to offend you. I thought this was great advice. :)

Linda Kage said...

Hi Marie Rose. Marie is my daughter's middle name, so of course I know you're a wonderful person. Nope, no name association there!! Honestly though, I'm glad I'm not the only one with the same issue.

Linda Kage said...

Amber, I needed that baby advice about a year ago! When I was pregnant, I wanted to name my girl after my grandma. Turns out my husband has a cousin with the same name. A few people on his side turned up their nose when they heard it. My side was delighted. But now that she's hear, no one seems to care what her name is. She's just that adorable little girl they all can't help but love!!

Tina Donahue said...

The only times characters' names bother me are when they are impossible to pronounce (in my head or otherwise) or worse, when everyone is named in a similar fashion. For example: the guy's are named: Mike, Matt, Mark, Max and the ladies are named: Tracy, Trixie, Toni, Tessie.

With books like that, I almost have to get a scorecard to remember which character belongs to which name.

Marie Rose Dufour said...

Thanks, Linda. Of course, no name association! LOL!

Paris said...

Names as a rule don't bother me unless there are too many character's whose names are similar. I actually ran into that problem with my current WIP. I loved my hero/heroine names so much that I didn't realize they rhymed until about three chapters in. The hero got renamed:-)

Katalina Leon said...

This is a tough question because In a world of seven billion people we are all bound to associate any name with someone else.
A name can trigger a snap judgment about a person or a book that is completely incorrect. I do it all the time and I've decided to confront it. We all owe it to ourselves and others to let a few of those old associations go and allow the person or the character to speak for themselves.

Kenzie Michaels said...

I'm with Tina: Characters with unpronouncible names drive me crazy! Sometimes I can 'rename' them, and other times it takes me out of the story.

And LOL Amber...I did that to my BFF...she announced she was naming her 1st child either Fawn or Drake. I gagged at the thought of the girl's name and asked when the child grew up, would her name be changed to 'Deer'? Then I apologized and hoped she was having a boy!

Two months later, this adorable baby girl arrived....and her name is Faunia. My BFF said they added the 'ia' after my reaction to it!

jean hart stewart said...

Interesting blog. I think we all have certain names we don't wnat our heroes to have. What really bugs me though is when main charactersqu in a book begin with the same initial. I try to never, ever do that since an editor called me on it.

Linda Kage said...

Unpronounceable names get to me too. I usually spend so much time trying to figure out what the name is that I miss out on half the story.

And close names can mix me up as well, even when I'm writing the story.

In one of my stories, my hero and his best friend didn't have names that started with the same letter or even had the same letters in them, but they were both 4-letters long. I ended up changing the friend's name because it confused me.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Well, people begged me to change the name of my hero in my Avalon book. (Walt)
Definitely different. :)
But I do spend a lot of time in naming my characters. Their personality has to fit.

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