An old boss called me a name hater once. I agreed wholeheartedly. I don’t like names parents think make their child unique. I think they make the parents look stupid. The same goes for the unique spellings of more familiar names. (I won’t name any specific names because I don’t want to possibly offend anyone). Which brings me to my characters.
The names of my hero and heroine are Sean and Melanie. I started this story so long ago that I have no clue where Melanie came from. Sean is a little easier. It’s my favorite boy name. I used to say that if I ever had a son, he would be named Sean. I’ve since fallen in love with “J” names, so I’m not on the Sean bandwagon as much as I used to be.
A few days ago, I woke up and a story idea (mostly just the opening scene) popped in my head. I decided to write that scene, so I wouldn’t lose it. But I needed a name for the heroine. I have a list of Jamie-approved names jotted down for this express purpose. In compiling this list, I realized I have an obsession with “a” names as in a Kayla or Jada or Michaela. I’m sure I’ll write stories someday that feature heroines with these names, but since I recognized the crazy, I decided to go with another name on the list – Chloe.
All was well until a few days later when I watched a Friends episode, in which there was a character named Chloe. That would be the Chloe who Ross slept with after Rachel suggested they take a break. Yeah, I don’t have a lot of love for this character. I immediately decided to change my heroine’s name, which I know makes me crazy. (By the way, I was always with Rachel in that fight, but for a different reason. To me, the real issue wasn’t whether or not they were actually on a break, but the fact that he ran and slept with someone else the minute they started having trouble. Way to respect your relationship, Ross).
The Chloe situation brought up another problem with naming characters. Familiarity. There are plenty of names I like, but I know someone with that name and I don’t want them to think I’m basing the character on them. I always want my characters to be unique, and I don’t want to subconsciously incorporate their qualities in my characters. Or it could be someone I don’t have the fondest memories of and I really don’t want to think of her every time I type the name.
It’s a vicious cycle, man. There’s always something. But that’s one of the quirks that come with being a writer, I guess.
So am I crazy or am I crazy?