Reader Friday – What’s in a Name? Posted on September 23, 2016 by Jordan Dane Kurt Cobain Tattoo What is the best name you’ve ever seen for a fictional character in a book? Would you name your child after this character…or a pet…or wear a tattoo with the name?
Good question. Of course when I NEED to think of one I can’t–not one that the name in itself is unique or appealing. I can call to mind several characters names’–but for the reverse reason–their characters were so good that their name is stamped in my mind. Not that the names themselves were special.
I’ll have to think on it.
The name ODD THOMAS comes to mind for me. Dean Koontz, author. Odd’s name is legit. On his birth certificate, somehow the letter T had been dropped.
Atticus Finch in a little book about a mockingbird.
I laugh every time I see a blog post with this title — because even though I know it’s highly unlikely, I can always hope someone’s talking about my book with the same title.
I hate naming characters. I had 3 named Hank in one book (hiss boo to the editor who didn’t notice). I keep a spreadsheet now, to avoid that.
As far as memorable names/characters? I’m sure I have several, but my mind is blank, other than Roarke.
How about Uriah Heep for a slimy bad guy?
An author friend of mine must’ve really liked the name Jake because she used it in dozens of her books (long backlist). She keeps data too.
I love strong names for my stories & have a ritual where I marry sounds & how easily a name rolls off the tongue. I also think of nicknames. RYKER Townsend is my latest series character. Unusual first name but I loved the masculinity of how it sounds.
Yes, I’ve used Jake more than once too. It’s short, masculine, and hard to misspell.
Oops. Wrong reply. WordPress grrrr
Uriah Heep is outstanding.
Now I always start with Scrivener’s name generating tool, which you can tailor to your needs (e.g., male, female, nationality). You can also set the level of “obscurity” and use alliteration if you want to. Some of the names can be odd, but then you can mix and match from the list. I just ran one using alliteration, and here are a few that came up. I could use any one of these (so no purloining!)
Great tip. Good names too. Thanks, Jim.
I’ve always liked Ignatius J. Reilly
The mix of ethnicity is a story on its own. Thanks, John.
I actually did name one of my children after a book title that haunted me when I first read it: Rebecca. Also, my (married) last name in those days was Sharp, which gave us the option of calling her Becky Sharp. And my personal favorite nickname for little girls in general was Becca. So I HAD to name her that. 🙂
I love your personal story behind the name. Becca is a fav of mine that I’ve used too. Very strong. Thanks, Kathryn.
Kilgore Trout. He had an interesting physical attribute, too. I would not name a pet or human after him, but when I was a teenager there was someone with that name in the local phone book. He eventually changed his number and had it “unlisted”.
My favorite Kilgore Trout novel was “Venus on the Half Shell”. And thank you Jose Phillippe Farmer for ghost writing it.
I had a gang leader in South Texas named Doroteo Arango, which is Pancho Villa’s real name. And no, no tattoos, no children’s names but I am considering Betty Boop.
Your Arango name has great appeal to me. It rolls off the tongue. Would be fun to read aloud at a book signing. Thanks, Brian.
-My wife says, Cruella de Vil from “The Hundred and One Dalmations” by Dodie Smith.
-my pick is simple, Sherlock Holmes. Can anyone say the name Sherlock anymore without evoking the detective in all of us? And, yes, I would give that name to a pet, probably not a child.
-My sister-in-law, a big Big BIG Harry Potter fan, names her pets after Harry Potter characters. She calls her horse Bella, short for Bellatrix Lestrange.
I LOVE these, Phil. Thank you.
I’m always partial to Uriah Heep, as well.
And maybe because I just picked up my Kindle copy of Blind Sight, but I think Kathy Mallory has a perfect name.
Another Uriah Heep fan.
On Kathy Mallory, solid strong woman’s name. In crime fiction, I’m cautious about using two first names since last names are often used as a stand alone (ie Detective Mallory or simply ‘Mallory looked over the crime scene”) and readers might get confused on gender.
Back in my romance writing days, an editor told me you could never go wrong by naming the male love interest with a name using “x.”
So I obliged with Max. (How original!)
Otherwise, I remember being enchanted with Salinger’s names Franny and Zooey.
I read Franny & Zoey as a kid & loved it
Max is a great name. Sam is another one I like. These names say “solid, dependable, friend” to me. Adding an X is kinda sexy though. Yeah, I’m overthinking this.
Augustus Mellon – from Richard Brautigan’s A CONFEDERATE GENERAL FROM BIG SUR – discovered him (both author and character) in high school.
I have one from my first NaNo attempt that I would like to explore further ~ McAdam Rhodes
And speaking of Rebecca (which may be title in itself) I have Rebecca Ashburn in reserve – from an exit sign on I-75 in south Georgia.