Authors, Writers, Publishers, and Book Readers

Character Names 

I can’t claim originality on this topic. I replied to Joanne Guidoccios’ blog on this.

This caught my attention immediately. It is difficult to be completely original. One’s character name is really important. Part of the joy of writing fiction is that you can make things up …. that’s right, lies out of whole cloth…. and includes names of characters. At some time in the far past it was all right to use common names if your character was written to represent “everyman” or “everywoman.” So in English that would be John, French is Jaques, Spanish Jose, Irish Shaun, Scottish Sean, Russian Ivan or Ioann, Johannes or Hans in German, etc. the most common names in each culture. For our era, my protagonists need to be original and totally made up. My one exception is that I still like Biblical names that were not as commonly used. I could go on. Read Joanne Guidoccio at:

In my first novel I used a family friend’s nick name as one major character’s name. Prior to publication I thought it was NOT right to use it. I changed it to another nick name for a fellow from California, “Cal.” It was only later on re-reading John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, that one of his character’s names is also “Cal.” I’ll bet that happens a lot. Names we might like and do not remember why - pop up in our minds.

Fascinating topic. What is your take on the names of your characters?

Timothy J. Desmond
THE DOC, ebook conspiracy thriller novel at
SWIM THE RED RIVER short story at

Tim’s Amazon author page at:

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Comment by Andrea Phillips on August 1, 2012 at 3:49pm
I think character names are one of the hardest things to come up with, especially when you have several characters. I like the names I have chosen so far but still thinking I might go back and revisit the main character name. It's almost like the name needs to be shaped around the character and this changes the more you write the story. So I'm hoping by the end of my novel the name will grab me and be a complete representation of my main character.


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