A rose by any other name....

Would be really silly right? I mean, if roses were called flunkwerps they may still smell sweet, but we'd all have a hard time handing them over to a date.

My problem? Character names. Proof edit was returned you see, but four of my key character names raised some flags. 

The Sheriff, my editor pointed out, was named after a brand of vacuum cleaner. 

My Witch, he quite rightly observed, was 'A cross between Enema and Oedema.' (I thought I was being clever by using anagram creator on "Medea") 

My fox was named after the most obvious cliche for a fox character you can get.

And nobody has ever liked my Warlock's name. When proof editor realised that if you say my Warlocks first and second name together he could be confused as a sibling to a little known 'Harry Potter', I had to accept defeat.

Normally I love naming characters (despite what it looks like, I am mostly pretty good at it) But this close to the end it fills me with dread.

These characters are real now, at least to me, and to re imagine even one of them, let alone four, makes the book feel different.

So, my question is, how do you name names? Or even better, have any of you ever re-named a main character late in the game? How?

So far I am doing my usual round of Wikipedia references in mythology, then a bit of google translate when all else fails. (seriously, Warlock in Galician is Bruxo- If only that didn't sound like a dish washing powder i'd use it.) But i'd love to hear any advice.

Also, whats the consensus on diacritics? Personally, I love them, but I can go overboard. 



  1. I have to rename one of my main secondary characters. Her name is from a shortening of another name in a very popular series. Must change that. But I have it easy - adding one letter makes all the difference for her name.

    Add a letter or two and see if it makes a difference. Substitute a letter or two and trial and error the names until you come up with something you're happy with.

    Names are really important, so be happy with them.

    I don't use diacritics, but I have friends who do. I think it's a personal preference thing.

  2. I renamed a two of my character after they had all ready been established, so I can see what you mean.

    for my antagonist, I renamed him because his name just wasn't right, so for him, the change was a little easier.

    But for another character it was weird. She isn't a main character, but an important one. She went from Valerie, to Marie. I basically just found a name and just changed her name right away.

    I think if you just find a name that is similar, but different to the name your character has now you can change it fairly easily. If you want I could help bounce name ideas.

  3. I actually don't have much of a problem with names. When I think of one, I Google it to see what the common pages are. If it's nothing shocking, I tend to stick with it. But I find that changing the names tends to alter the characters, even if only a little bit. If I think it’s going to happen, I try to fit it asap.

    My worse problem is similar names throughout the different stories. I recently realised I've a Klara in one and a Clara in another. Lanera and Lanora. Lily and Lillith. Fortunately, they're completely different worlds.

  4. The names I've had to change are ones that, once pointed out, made sense. As for how to do this, I tend to think outside the box while using the box for guidance. Example:
    In my YA fantasy, I started with Melody and her cat Harmony. You can see how that could get sing song irritating. Though I had a cute reason for it, a few good reads kicked the cute reason out the door. So I thought about Melody, the daughter of an inter-racial couple, her father being Japanese. So I found a Japanese name for the cat and it flows a bit better.


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