“Fate tried to conceal him by naming him Smith.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
I am often asked if the naming of the main characters in The Ride was coincidence or intentional. The answer is—intentional. I had fun with the names Barbie and Ken. The dolls, with their shapely bodies, flawless skin, matching accessories, nice houses, and fancy cars represent perfect people and an ideal life. My characters, Barbie and Ken, couldn’t have been more opposite. On occasion my character, Barbie, even refers to the dolls herself. In one scene, when speaking about her husband, she says, “Our appearance may not resemble the dolls but out relationship is as plastic as they are.”
I’m also having fun with names as I write my second novel. Thinking up names caused me to wonder about some of the more famous literary characters. For instance if Rhett Butler of Gone with the Wind fame had been named Joe Smith instead, would the character have had the same impact? If Hannibal Lecter had been called, John Davis, would we have felt the fear run down our spine at the mere mention of his name? Or if the Great Gatsby had been the Great Jones…Well, you get the idea.
If you need advice on naming your characters, I’d recommend the article by Linda Schab of Wow! Women on Writing, How 2 Choose Character names for Your Novel. If you are writing a novel in set in a certain era, you may also want to check out this Social Security site. Here you can find a list of the most popular names for any year after 1879. It’s fun to visit even if you are not looking for a character name.
As a writer, how do you come up with character names? As a reader, how important are the names of the characters to you?
Thanks for stopping by.
Tags: The Ride, Rhett Butler, Gone With the Wind, Hannibal Lecter, The Great Gatsby,