What’s in a name? Your character’s identity, that’s what. Each time a writer sits down to create a new story, they’re faced with the name game. Should they go cool and trendy, or a little on the fugly side?
There are some names that just seem a bit overused and trite. I don’t know how many books I’ve read with ‘Destiny’ as the romantic heroine or ‘Justice’ as the super cop. That’s fine, but it might be more unexpected if Justice turned out to be a jewel thief or bank robber, or maybe Martha Edith as a the next sexpot starlet.
Today I’ve been thinking about some of the more oddball character names that belong to unforgettable figures. Ignatius and Ozena were in a couple of really good new releases I’ve read recently, monikers you don’t hear that often, but which will now forever call their characters to my mind. And if I said Calpurnia, I bet you’d instantly know which Harper Lee classic she’s from. To Kill a Mockingbird is full of more unique names, like Scout, Atticus, Jem, and Boo.
I’m going to keep this in mind the next time I try to find the right name. Am I the only one who opens the Encyclopedia of Baby Names or the phone book, closes my eyes and stabs a random name, then says ‘Nah’ when I find something like Elmer or Eugene under my fingertips?