Thursday, November 29, 2007

Please Name Him Tom, Dick or Harry

Some character names have become so overused and such cliches in Romancelandia that putting them in your story is embarrassing and laughable. Come on, you certainly have more imagination than that! Or at least could find a baby name book and pick something different. Just don't drift too far into uniqueness and end up with a name your readers will never be able to figure out how to pronounce.

Most cliched and overused character names in romance novels

1. Luc, Lucian, Lucius for male vampires
2. Angelique for female vampires
3. Devil or Devlin - especially in a Regency
4. Colt, Colter, Cade or Cady - especially for cowboys
5. Wolf, Wolfe, or Wulfe - no, no, not another brooding medieval hero!
6. Gray or Grey - Be different, why not Puce or Teal or Magenta?
7. Hawk / Hawke
8. Brand / Brandon
9. Heather - You know, people did name their daughters other things during the Seventies.
10. Jason, Jace, Jayce (ditto)
11. Deveraux as the last name of anyone living in New Orleans
12. Rock, Stone, Granite - Is he a guy or a geological feature?
13. Aiden for every hero of Irish descent


Shesawriter said...

Thank goodness my hero's name isn't on your list! :-)

Happy TT

LA Day said...

Ouch! Hey, Does it count as two that my time-traveling warrior was named Lone Wolf then changed his name to Grey Wolfe?

lynneconnolly said...

And how about Lucifer, or does that count along with Lucian?
I just called a character Fred because I didn't want to lose the flow of the story and when I went back to change it, I thought - no, that actually works, I'm gonna keep it!
And I plan to sub it to EC in the fullness of time!

Rena Marks said...

Snicker. My werewolf was named Luc until my editor Helen had me change it. He's now Beau.

Anonymous said...

Hmm... What if you're spoofing a genre?

Bernita said...

My hero's name is Johnnie.

ECPI Editors said...

See, Fred or Johnnie - perfectly nice names. A reader can spell them and pronounce them. And the reader can focus on the story, instead of being brought up short every time the character's name is mentioned.

Honest to god, I read a book with a character named Luc Devereaux - yep, a vampire in New Orleans.


Anonymous said...

I miss the good old fashioned cliche hero names, like "Blake" (especially around the Dynasty years ;-)

Anonymous said...

I named a hero Lucifer, but it's too close to Lucien (bleh)!

ECPI Editors said...

Having problems coming up with names for characters?

You can earn brownie points with family, friends, coworkers by using their name or names important to them for your characters. Uh...for the good guys. Naming the pedophiliac serial killer villain in your story after your nephew is not going to make your sister happy.

Name the waitress who's a minor secondary character after your regular waitress at your local diner, and give her a copy of the book as a gift. A guarantee of the best service ever. Plus she'll tell everyone she knows to go buy the book. Ditto for others in your life.

I'm waiting for one of my authors to name their Navy hero (but not a SEAL!) Jonathon (after MM3 Jonathon Gorlinsky, currently assigned to the sub Olympia in Pearl Harbor).


Heather said...

Wait...people named their daughters names other than Heather in the come my parents didn't know this? *blinks innocently*

Okay, I have a hero named Stone...and almost had one named Hawk, but we changed it to Ulric. (any guesses on which one THAT is? lol) I like unusual names. I had a Cortland once, who is still one of my favorites--contemporary cowboy or not.

And how about a heroine named Grey? Well, it's technically Greyly, but they do call her Grey. The list just said heroes. :p

And Raelene, I have a hunky master vampire slayer named Jonathan. It's on my list of rework and submit. ;^P

Kate Willoughby said...

Okay, I'll admit to a Luke that got changed to Seth. LOL.

Names can be difficult. I usually tend toward "normal" names for heroes, but have been known to veer toward the queer. In ALL IN, the guy's name was I.C. Tucker, but he went by Tucker. And I JUST now realized what that could rhyme with. LMAO.

Anonymous said...

Okay... now I have it. My next hero is going to be named:


Maybe I'll even make him green skinned or something.

Wow, this is so inspirational.


Anonymous said...

I always have a terrible time with names, so I actively collect them. One of the names that's just begging to be used is Amadé (This was Mozart's second name) and means Gift of God.

Another great place to look for names is on "name day calendars". I know this is more of a European custom, but 'in the old days' name days used to be more important than birthdays. A good calendar will give you the names of all the saints born on those days. (really, really interesting source).

Oh, and of course just type 'baby names' into Google and you'll spend the rest of the day trying to decide.

Jane Smith :-)

Anonymous said...

I have a sinking feeling that Seth is going to be on this list in a year or two, but that's my character's name, and he'd get really cranky if I tried to change it now! :)

Heather Wardell said...

They may have named their daughters other things in the seventies, but they shouldn't have. :)

Oddly, I was born in '72 and was the only Heather in my elementary school.

And I too was grateful to see that none of my character's names appear on your list. :)

Harris Channing said...

Live this list! None of my characters have these names but dammit I wanted to name one Granite...what will I do now???



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