Wednesday, 29 April 2009

The importance of strong character names in romance writing

Something was bothering me about my work in progress (wip) but I couldn't put my finger on it.

And then one day last week - in bed at around 3.30am when I was having one of my numerous post-mid-life crises - it came to me.

I hated my hero's name.

About two years ago when I started thinking about the book, the first thing I did was name my characters. I called my hero Robbie. I don't know what I was thinking at the time. Maybe Robbie Williams was in rehab and in the news a lot. Maybe I felt the name had a romantic lilt to it, as in Scotland's favourite son, poet Robbie Burns.

I thought Robbie oozed sex appeal.

Now I'm past the 30,000 word count, the novelty has worn off and the name reminds me of a puppy that whizzes on the carpet or a whiny kid with a runny nose and grazed knees

I can hear his mother in the supermarket, screaming: "Robbie! How many times have I told you not to open the chip packet until we get to the checkout!"

He's the teacher's pet, a Mummy's boy, a dobber and a fibber.

With apologies to all the men in the universe called Robbie, I have dumped you.

This leaves me in a dilemma. I need a new name... a new man.

I have several ideas, but none of them ideal.

If you've got any ideas better than my partner Spanner's suggestions - Stanley, Manuel and Shaun (think 'of the dead') - drop me a line.


Monique Wood said...

Something solid like 'Rigid' or 'Brick'! Lol. Just kidding.

There is a name generator website somewhere... Google it and I'm sure a few names will pop up. Good luck (I hate the name of my new hero we brainstormed about now I know it has a bloody B&B ring to it. Yikes!).


jennjmcleod said...

I loooove names too. Such fun. I have names and no novels at the moment LOL. Right now I'm loving Eli and Malachey.
I've just had a secondary character (a gay guy)in one of my novels change his last name to 'Single'. 'He' says it allows him to cut down on foreplay on a night out. He can just walk up to a guy and say 'Hi I'm Single'!!!!

Anonymous said...

Trouble is that as you get older most names have good and bad connotations!! The only Robbie I know is gay and very sweet... this sounds like a worse nightmare than naming your own kids! Perhaps I'll just stick to writing non-fiction.

Anonymous said...

danny boy sounds good