You might remember my take on the power of names. I figured since I know about a zillion authors, I’d get their take and we’d turn it into something fun.
We all make mistakes. Characters we’ve named without considering all the angles. I put out the call: what’s your favorite and least favorite character’s name, and why? And — this is vital — would you kill off the least-favorite in order to not have to type those foul letters anymore? Let’s see where we ended up.
As a side note, and not in any way resentful, fuck all y’all with no regrets.
My favorite character name is obviously Tanis Richards. Tanis was the name of my first girlfriend, and also the name of a cool character from DragonLance. Often people think its a male name (because of DragonLance) but its not, Tanit/Tanith was the patron goddess of Carthage. She was their warrior goddess and mother goddess.
My series is pretty replete with symbolism, and Tanis’s name is well-chosen in that respect. I picked Richards for the last name because it had a nice ring to it.
A close second is Harm Ellis (a badass spy)
I don’t actually have any names I dislike, but I do wish I hadn’t named so many different people Carson and Peter…
Editor’s note: You can kick ass with Tanis in Outsystem. And you should.
Taylem Vyanor is both my favorite character and my favorite character name, so I hit both possible interpretations there.
How you chose it / why. I wanted something that almost sounded familiar, but wasn’t a direct earth-analogue (even though I have a couple of those in my secondary-world novel). It’s a name for a male character, but is actually a tweak of the name of a female character in a book I read as a teenager. So, yes, like all good things, its stolen.
The book/series it’s in. The aforementioned ridiculously long epic fantasy manuscript that might see the light of day later this year.
The name I most regret: Serahvyn, one of my two main characters (I have a m/f MC duo like Nate & Grace who had a bit of a power-struggle over first billing… still not sure who’s #1).
Why / how did it happen: This name, in contrast to the previous one, is entirely original 😆 I didn’t know what to call her. I grabbed a name I had made up on the spot for an alt in World of Warcraft (I don’t even think I got out of Elwynn forest with that alt honestly) — just as a placeholder, see… but by the time I got around to thinking maybe I ought to find something less ridiculous, my brain rejected all attempts at renaming her. I’m considering altering the spelling; my brain might allow that.
The book/series it’s in. A Sword for Chaos. Did I kill the character to get rid of the name? That’s a very good question…
My favorite character’s name is Xael. I was scrolling through the usual boys/girls unusual name and came across it. It fit perfectly, for the dangerous as hell Scorpio Dragon my character is. She is in and out through most of the Dragons books, but her book is yet to be written. Hopefully next year!
The one I regret? I don’t think I have any. I like them all.
Where to find it: Zodiac Dragon Series.
Biggest regret is Moana. It’s totally fitting, but I wrote the book before the movie came out and then sat on it for a couple years and then the movie released… I contemplated changing it, but she’d been Moana for about five years at that point and I couldn’t make a different name stick.
Where to find it: You should start with The Way the Sky Curves. Editor’s Note: you won’t regret it.
Editor’s Note x 2: Fucking Disney.
Amelia Lockheart from my Full Metal Superhero series. She’s a genius engineer so I wanted something that seemed familiar to people. Since I loved the story of Amelia Earhart I thought it would be really cool and reminiscent. Also, studies show that people with “a” names are generally more liked and popular.
The name I regret the most? Alexi Creed.
We don’t talk about Alexi.
Where to find Amelia: Arsenal.
Editor’s Note: Bestseller in YA superhero. This marriage is like a twin star of creativity. I bet the Haskells met in college and had a dream to increase my imposter syndrome.
It’s really hard to pick a favorite. I like the name of my main character (Fallon) in my Dragonfire Station series because in the story her name was assigned to her and it was a misprint that stuck. I also like Pinky Peach from my Dodging Fate series. She’s a very muscular pink mutant (hence her first name) who takes no shit from anyone but has dance fever. Such a fanciful name is funny for her tough-as-nails self, but it somehow suits her, too.
I think the only regret is when, earlier on, I chose a name for a character who frequently appears, and the name has an “s” on the end. (First or last, either one). Because it’s a real PITA to make it possessive or use a contraction. Like Kellis. It’s a good name but Kellis’ looks wrong to some people, and I can’t abide by Kellis’s. It’s a lose/lose, functionally speaking. I just don’t give names that end in S to characters that get any amount of screen time.
Where to find Fallon: Translucid.
Where to find Pinky: Dodging Fate.
Editor’s Note: Currently discovering the devil of the S. ‘Zacharies’ is a shitty name to give someone, just sayin’.
How you chose it / why: They just came the me and felt right.
The book/series it’s in: The Shiva XIV series.
The character name you most regret: I try not to regret anything I’ve created, names included. But… I think some of mine are hard to pronounce or spell. I think I’ll go with Goral Seith. Not because I dislike his name, though. He’s just a completely evil bastard.
Why / how did it happen: Again, the name just came to me.
Did you kill the character to get rid of the name?: haha no, but I killed him for being a bastard.
The book/series it’s in: Shiva XIV.
Fave is Derek Lissombe the slimeball from one of my earlier books. Somehow that one still feels slimy and corrupt. My naming regret would be Eddie Wright, from the Taine McKenna series because the section call him Lefty and he is known by that name throughout. So now whenever I want to say “Yeah, right,” said Lefty, or “Go right,” screamed Lefty, it just comes out as a bad pun.
*The book/series it’s in.* Actually, it’s from a short story entitled “Sing.” I’ve written a lot of other work since then, but I like that name quite a bit.
*How you chose it / why.* I wanted something unusual, but not outlandish. She was a mermaid (sort of), but I avoided labeling her.
*The character name you most regret.* Sevin Waters. I know better than to do this now, I swear. It was my third book (early on in this game), entitled “Troubled Waters.” Loved the story concept (still do), but if I were to ever rewrite it (doubtful) I would have to change the character’s name so people would take me seriously.
*Why / how did it happen.* She was a computer geek–a network security specialist/white hatter. I wanted to give her a really cool online name and I really, really liked “Troubled Waters” (was so proud of myself for that title). So I spent some time in those sites with baby names and their meanings. I ran into “Sevin” and fell in love with the sonics of it.
*The book/series it’s in.* Troubled Waters (will never see the light of day). I did not kill the character. I like her (brilliant but socially backward introvert-brave as hell). It’s not her fault her creator is a thirteen year old girl at heart.
Editor’s Note: Mary’s latest, Bright, currently has more positive reviews that most of my stuff. FFS.
My favorite character name at the moment is the hero of my new series, A Cauldron of Stars: Mike Starrunner. Why I like it: Mike is his real name but Starrunner is not. He picked it himself when he enlisted in the army at age 17. Now at 44 he has come to feel that it’s a bit silly, but he’s stuck with it and does his best to live up to it. Come on, you know Skywalker wasn’t Luke’s real name either 😉
My least favorite name, hmmm have I got one? I pick them all because I like them. I sorta regret Elfrida from the Sol System Renegades series cos it’s just too weird for a main character, although that was the point at the time I picked it.
Where to get it: start with Guardians of Jupiter.
My favourite character name is Danizriel. It’s a name that I made up myself. I needed a name that would be fitting for an angel and could also be shortened to a normal mortal name (Danny). He always plays by the rules, but one chance encounter saw him break some of those rules … for the right reasons. Initially he’s considered a traitor, but we know better 😉
My least favourite character name is probably Jaks. It suited the character — he’s a bit of a bogan/redneck, and yeah, I killed him off. He was one vampire I didn’t like, so he got what he deserved.
Both characters are from my dark fantasy Angel Series.
Fave character name: Nova Brennan
Series: The Lakes
No idea where the name came from (the power company maybe? 😂). It just popped into my head when I had the idea for the series. Fun fact: that’s usual for me. All the major characters arrive at the same time as the story seed, fully formed. I know their names, jobs, hair colour, eye colour and personality traits. No idea if this is ‘normal’ or not but it’s always been the way for me. As such, I have no regrets. The characters just are who they are, names and all.
Where to find them: Start with The Lakes. Editor’s Note: you might fall in love with our country as much as Amanda’s characters.
How I chose it: The character is female, but I needed her to sound more epic than Nancy (sorry, Nancy’s of the world). I also needed the name to conform to a handy anagram, in this case (fucking spoilers for those who haven’t read Upgrade) CARTR, so the name and anagram creation were linked. It was a neat challenge, geeking out on names and anagrams at the same time, all while keeping character identity foremost.
Where to find it: Upgrade.
Regrets: Mason Floyd
How did it happen: I read a blog from Orson Scott Card about how character names should sound different! Memorable, even. Floyd seemed different and memorable. Many thousands of words on, it’s not the kind of handle an epic badass hero needs. I unfortunately can’t kill him off (yet), but I’ve considered having other characters make fun of him just so I can do more justified fight scenes.
Editor’s note: since writing this I’ve been re-editing Upgrade, and it’s actually a good name. I take it all back, but there you have it. I’m a professional liar.
Where to find it: Also Upgrade.