What’s in a name?

I’ve always found names difficult when writing, generally the main characters aren’t hard, but when it comes to the minor characters, it’s like pulling teeth, no matter how integral they are to the story.

I have a story that is, at this point, sitting in my computer as a synopsis. I thought I’d found the perfect name for my main character and, having completed the synopsis, I saved it and went about my business. That very night, I met up with my friend and workout partner, the redheaded dancer, before I left her apartment that night, she just had to show me this flash comic called Salad Fingers. As I’m watching it, I look up to the byline and see that the guy who created this series of flash videos is named “David Firth”… can you guess what my perfect name for that character was? David Firth. I cannot begin to tell you how utterly creeped out I was.

This is the reason I now Google and Wiki, all of my character names before I commit to them.

So what’s in a name? There are characters whose names really do define them in my head, there are characters in my novels who were named specifically for a character trait. I think I have to defer to Ms. Montgomery and her words, spoken through the young redheaded orphan:

I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I've never been able to believe it. I don't believe a rose would be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage.
Those of us who are incredibly familiar with both thistle and skunk cabbage can tell you, a rose wouldn’t be as nice.


  1. That's creepy! You know, Jesse had a name idea for one of his characters. You know what it was? Serena Williams. I was like... you know who that is, right? Homeboy had no idea who Venus and Serena Williams were.

  2. Wow. . . chilling. What if you had left it alone and then you were like Stranger Than Fiction, that one good movie with Will Ferrell in it and you ended up narrating his life and condemning him to brutally ironic death?


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