Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Query question: character names for M, Alex

 I've heard that having two character names that start with the same letter is a "no no."

Should I consider a name change for my characters if one is a 30-something black man named Marcus and another is a 10-year old white child named Molly?
The question isn't if they are two characters, but two MAIN characters. Marcus and Molly as the two main characters isn't bad, but Mike and Mark, Tim and Tom, Harry and Henry...not so much.

These are little things I tend to notice when I read a manuscript, and if I notice it, it's probably something I'd suggest be changed in revision notes I send.  It's not a deal breaker at the submission stage cause it's so easily fixed.

I have a client who shall remain nameless who at one point sent me a manuscript with two characters named Tom. And then there was the other one with two countries named Smog and Smogg I think.  Fortunately, said client has learned to accept editorial notes with a minimum of hair tearing and garment rending, although he does seem to post this a lot:



 

13 comments:

donnaeverhart.com said...

Ha! Grumpy cat! That face!

Smog and Smogg? There must have been a point...?

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Sorta' like those pesky agent names like Jessica, Janet and Jenny. Sooo confusing.
Only one QOTKU-Sharque though.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

My morning checks on this blog provide the encouraging reality check I need. Thank you. Love the cat face.

Melissa said...

It isn't just first letters to watch out for. I got 3/4 through my first draft before it hit me that I had characters named Ellie, Manny, Katie, Eddie, Connie.

Claudia H Gruy said...

I have to consult with my characters about that. Three will object and the third is out for mischief anyway. Oh - and one just asked if it's ok his Mom named him after a river - or should he drown? I mean I kill that bugger it he hurts my novel...
http://grow2be.blogspot.co.at/

Craig said...

I hope that in sci-fi it is a different world. I am 98075 words into one that has Amanda Frosts 1,2,3,4, and 5 in it. The first female descendent of an Amanda Frost is also named Amanda Frost.

BlancheDuBois said...

Craig, I have a similar issue. My book has a character in the beginning named Antonio. Later in the book, within the next generation of the family, there's another Antonio . . . named after the first one. I think this lends authenticity. Families name their kids to honor relatives. In this instance, the first Antonio dies long before the second one is born, so anyone who confuses the later Antonio with him is really not paying attention. I think a rule like this should be placed in context.

Rachel Menard said...

I once had two main characters with rhyming names, Dawn and John. *cringe*

James Ticknor said...

Well, we can take the book The Matrix as a fine example. There's like a gagillion Mr. Smith's and no one cares. Oh wait, they're clones...

alaskaravenclaw said...

After all, no one would stick with a story that had main characters named Harry, Hermione and Hagrid...

V Brown said...

my protag's name starts with a j and there are two supporting characters with names that start with j. but i think it's pretty clear. however, i'm not wed to anything so i can change one or two if i ever get far enough into the submissions process that it even matters.

thanks for the heads up!

DLM said...

My only option in a historical starring Clovis and Clotilde, whose offspring were named Chlodomer, Childebert, Clotaire, and Chrotilda (the latter named for her mother), would be to mix name-translations between Latinized and Germanic versions. Couldn't do it. Fortunately, the kids stay largely offstage ... and I'm reasonably confident nobody'll mix up the first king of France and his queen, who became a saint of the Catholic church ...

girlseeksplace said...

In my humble opinion, Marcus and Molly are fine - they are so vastly different that people won't be confused (and not just different in gender).