So one of the things I’m excited to catch up on now is doing some blogging with some of my writer friends. This month’s post is on favorite character names. (I’ll be posting some of the previous posts I’ve missed as well and backdating them – stay tuned!)
Anyway, for favorite names, we decided we could talk about names we’ve created for our own characters or names we’ve loved in others’ books. And at the end of this, I’d really love to hear names you’ve all loved as readers!
Of my own character names, I think the one I’ve loved the most is secondary character “Rabbit” from The Red Bikini.
Rabbit is a compilation of real surfers — I drew from one’s looks, one’s surf style, one’s age, and another’s personality. But the one who I modeled his easygoing, funny attitude on is Robert “Wingnut” Weaver. Wingnut is in the documentary movie Endless Summer II, but I’ve also seen him in other television programs, and he always has the funny-but-sweet personality I wanted for that character. Wingnut is also a leader and teacher, which was perfect for Rabbit. So I had my model. But a lot of Wingnut’s big persona is in his crazy name! And I wanted a great nickname like that. So I set out to think of a crazy nickname to capture my character’s zany, sweet, funny and big personality.
First I named him “Turtle.” In fact, I wrote half the book with him named that. But my husband and good friend Grace both warned me that “Turtle” was too cliché a name for a surfer sidekick. (It’s nice to have people talk straight to you like that!) So I reluctantly agreed and tried to think of something else. Eventually “Rabbit” leaped to mind. There is a real Australian surfer named Rabbit Bartholomew who is considered one of the best 50 surfers of all time and could have served as a model for my Rabbit, but I honestly wasn’t thinking of him. I was just thinking Nickname — Turtle — Funny — Animal. And “Rabbit” came to mind. (In fact, I thought more of John Updike’s “Rabbit” series, which I read and loved in high school, more than Rabbit Bartholomew.)
So that’s how that name was born. And now I can’t imagine him named anything else. I get nearly as much fan mail for Rabbit as I do for the main hero Fin!
A second character name I really love is secondary character “Renece” in Ten Good Reasons. Renece (pronounced to rhyme with “Denise”) was the name of a girl I knew in high school who I always thought was really pretty. And I always thought, for some reason, that if I had a daughter with my then-boyfriend/eventually-husband, she would look just like her, with the same coloring and same hair. So when I got pregnant eventually with a little girl, I knew I wanted that name. But my hubby didn’t love it. And my parents didn’t love it. No one did, really. So eventually I abandoned the name and we went with “Rene” instead. (And my daughter Rene does look just like her!) But when I needed a name in Ten Good Reasons for a secondary character who wouldn’t be in the book much but who needed a memorable name, I went with “Renece.” And when my mom read the book for the first time, she called me and said, “You finally got to use your name!” So that’s my little secret.
As for names I’ve loved in other books, for some reason Jenny Crusie’s characters leap to mind. She often picks off-beat names that conjure strange or goofy images, but then you fall in love with the character and eventually fall in love with the name — Min, Cal, Davy, Agnes, Daisy, the list goes on and on. So I love all of Jenny Crusie’s character names!
What are some of your favorite character names? Or, conversely, you can list names you really didn’t like and explain why — it’s good for us authors to know pet peeves.
If you want to hear other writers’ fave names, check out the blogs of writers Sharon Wray, Kay Hudson, and Wendy LaCapra, who are all participating in this month’s blog topic. (And I think it’s Sharon’s birthday today! Be sure to go over and say Happy Birthday, Sharon!)
Fate tore the Duke and Duchess of Wynchester apart, and they’ve sparred from afar ever since. But when the stitched-up Duke wins time with his duchess, he finds the infuriating nickname Wyn may not be only thing he can learn to love.
To go to Wendy’s gorgeous excerpt/buy page, where you can learn more about the book, giveaways, read excerpts, and more, click HERE.
And don’t forget to come back for more Writer Wednesdays in future months! Here’s what we’ll be writing about: