Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I've started a new story so I'm going through my usual name quandary. Some characters seem to come along with their own names. I knew, for instance, that Sadie Novak was Sadie pretty much the minute I wrote the first line of The Remains of the Dead. However, the secondary characters often have me searching through the random name generator, or perusing my worn baby name books.

Of course the problem isn't whether or not I can find a great name but whether that name has family/friend connections or just too many negative memories associated with it. There is one male name that I'd never, ever use because my negative associations with that name are far too great. I don't even like to think it but I will say it stars with a 'B' and ends with an 'N' he he.

Are there any names you'd never, ever name a character because you just dislike the person so strongly?


jenifer said...

I'm a name junkie and love thinking about names, and have thought about this topic plenty.

I've named an antagonist Les (short for Leslie, and he's a guy) because a boy named Les was mean to me when I was about 6, and I've never gotten over that. He pushed me into a brick wall, which scraped my face!

I also have a hard time with the name Justin for a boy, because there was a boy named Justin in my elementary school who used to pick his nose and eat the, uh, products of his labors. I've since known a couple Justins I really like, so that helps, but I'm still not sure I'd name a character that.

It's funny how these things tend to stem from long, long ago (at least for me). I don't hold onto adult name associations nearly as much.

Oh, and I love that name image you've got at the top of the post. Very cool!

stephhale said...

Jenifer's comment is so funny because the name I would never use is Leslie. I take that back, maybe I would use it, but only if I could kill her off in a really horrible way. ;)

B.E. Sanderson said...

I don't have any names I think of as 'off-limits'. Sometimes, I take the name of someone I despised as a child, and turn them into a villain. In those cases, I change the name slightly - but I always know who they are :evil laugh:. Most other times, though, I just make something up and hope it works.

Zed-Aitch said...

Yes! Steph is absolutely right! I would name a character Heather (the bubbley bleached-blonde bimbo) if I could kill her quick 'n horrid.

wend said...

I have one girl's name that I would either not use or kill off in a brutal way just because the person was such a *!%$#. I can't even bring myself to say the name out loud - funny how just a name can have that effect...!
The other WR