Thursday, October 09, 2008

Heroic Names

I sometimes wonder if other authors agonize over naming characters as much as I do. I suspect so. I know I sometimes have to try out two or three different names for a character until I find the one that fits just right.

I struggled most with finding the right names for my heroes. I want something strong, not too long or unwiledy or difficult to pronounce. But I also like the name to be memorable.

This month's collection of Harlequin American Romances has some great heroic named. The hero in Margot Early's Holding the Baby is named Mark Logan -- a nice, solid name. In Finally a Baby, Lisa Child's Eric South is another strong, male name. Holly Jacobs gives us Henry Remington in her new release, Once Upon a Thanksgiving. I love the name Henry -- slightly old-fashioned but strong and well, manyly. And finally we have Cathy Gillen Thacker's The Inherited Twins. Hero Heath McPherson has a name that screamed romance. Though he's an all-American guy, he could have stepped out of a Scottish Moor. Clearly, these American authors know how to pick good heroic names.

When I wrote my most recent American, The Right Mr. Wrong, I gave into my penchant for unusual names with my hero, Hagan Ansdar. Hagan is from Norway, so I wanted a Norwegian name.

Of course, the most unusual name in my Crested Butte books belongs to Zephyr, the local rock star, snow boarder and general comic relief. He burst into my imagination name and all -- Zephyr, no last name, no explanation -- and no other name wuold fit him as well.

My next Harlequin American will be out in May 2009. Another Crested Butte story, this one features Zephyr's best friend, Bryan as The Man Most Likely. The name Bryan meets all my qualifications -- strong, short and it fits my charcter.

What do you readers thing? Do you like more ordinary names, or exotic ones for your heroes? Do you have any pet peeves or names you don't like? Let us know!


Estella said...

All I ask is that a heroes name be pronounceable.

Ellen said...

Like Estella said I like names that can be pronounced, otherwise I don't much care what their names are.

Hope Chastain said...

As a reader & writer, I like for the name to fit the character. I wouldn't give a strong Hero a wimpy name (unless I was going for comic relief, or playing against type). I think all the H names in this month's selection of HARs are good.

Incidentally, I'd love to read one with Zephyr as the Hero! (Of course, you'll have to tie him to a chair and browbeat him till he tells you the name he was born with, because unless he's changed it legally, he can't marry the heroine with it...)

Stephanie said...

I have one of those 50,000 name baby books that helps me. Unfortunately, I get overwhelmed at all of them, so usually I just have to close my eyes and try to hear my heroine calling him something. Most of the time that works but there are a few names that I always come back to that fit almost every character, among them being Jake. That name haunts me and I have no idea why!!!

Anonymous said...

Being able to pronounce the name is the biggy for me. If I can't pronounce it, it draws me out of the story and then I compensate by substituting a name of my choice.

Stephanie, that's a great ideas about imagining your heroine calling him something. I'll have to try that. My last few heroes' haven't been a problem. As a matter of fact, one of them knew what his name was and I never argued, because he was so insistent and the name fit so well.