In case you’re wondering about that character name…

These are the characters I interviewed for this year’s A-to-Z Challenge. Take a look at the list and see if any name stands out as a potential problem:

Alandra Kade
Joseph Brennen
Marleah Carlisle
Nicholas Ferrier
Geoffrey Meeks
Ianthe Rohn
Jason Grey
Kel Greyphoenix
Jon Livingston
Mandor Shadovsky
Natalie Dahl
Evelyn Parker
Raven Shadix
Aiden Teige
Rachael Vardegan
Alex Walotsky
Xia Jaiying
Yara Lin
Zephyr Greyphoenix

Any thoughts…?

(Yes, please comment, whether you see something or not. All input is useful.)

About Thomas Weaver

For several years, I’ve been putting my uncanny knack for grammar and punctuation, along with an eclectic mental collection of facts, to good use as a Wielder of the Red Pen of Doom (editor). I'm physically disabled, and I currently live with my smugly good-looking twin Paul, who writes military science fiction and refuses to talk about his military service because he can’t. Sometimes Paul and I collaborate on stories, and sometimes I just edit whatever he writes. It's worked out rather well so far. My list of non-writing-related jobs from the past includes librarian, art model, high school teacher, science lab gofer… Although I have no spouse or offspring to tell you about, I do have six cats. (The preferred term is "Insane Cat Gentleman.") I currently spend my time blogging, reading, editing, and fending off cats who like my desk better than my twin’s.
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15 Responses to In case you’re wondering about that character name…

  1. MishaBurnett says:

    No, nothing sticks out as objectionable to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. rachelloon says:

    I can’t see the problem either… unless it’s ‘Stoner’ and you’re the guy who wrote ‘Reefer Madness’ 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A couple of those sound vaguely familiar to me, but I think that’s probably from your A-Z thing.

    I’m probably the last person in the world who would “get” a name reference, though. I remain blissfully ignorant as to the identities of most celebrities and sports stars, and I’m likely to forget the name of a fictional character (even if I remember his actions, background, etc.) unless it is reinforced via a multi-book series.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Rose F says:

    LOL. That’s what I thought. Dump it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I did not read your interviews, so where I’m coming from is completely between my own ears.

    I’ll be honest: when it comes to names, I’m traditional enough to approach hidebound. Unless they’re recognizably planet Earth ethnic, creatively spelled names annoy me. Even Tolkien gets on my nerves, and he put a lot more thought into the linguistics of Middle Earth than most writers put into their world-building.

    Part of my problem is that I’m a genealogist, and have put a lot of study into the history and meaning of names, so something like Greyphoenix just doesn’t work. On a personal note, my great-grandfather on my father’s side was named Zephyr, and one of his sons was named after him (we called him Uncle Zeph), so if that forename isn’t followed by a French surname, it just doesn’t look right.

    Jason Grey, Jon Livingston, and Stoner have unfortunate associations that I don’t think it’s fair to make your characters have to live down. Send them to the Witness Protection Program. Someday, they’ll thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Stoner” is just a nickname. (I needed a character with an S name for the A-to-Z challenge, and the others had already been used elsewhere.) His real surname is Harrison, and that’s what he’s called throughout the book(s) he’s in.

      What do you mean by “unfortunate associations” with the other two names?


  6. There is nothing here that throws me off. Several of the last names have familiarity to others. Names like Dahl, Brennan, and Livingston. I imagine you were thinking of Grey, but I don’t think it’s a problem. Spell it Gray if it still worries you. If you’d used Kardasshian it might be worth modifying.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Several of the last names have familiarity to others. Names like Dahl, Brennan, and Livingston.”

      Please clarify. Do you mean that these names are too familiar in other contexts, or do you mean they’re similar to other names, or what?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m trying to say good things here. My point is that if we could only use a name once we’d all be in trouble. I would avoid something with an obvious horrible reference, like Hitler, but other than that you’re fine. In the same context I’d avoid “current” pop culture names too, like Kanye.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Mei-Mei says:

    Nope, not getting the reference, and it seems not many are, but if those that do strongly object I would suggest changing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Would it make a difference if the target audiences have no (or very little) overlap? If, for example, one of my sci-fi characters had a name slightly similar to that of a character in a gothic horror movie?


      • Mei-Mei says:

        Hmm, I think it would make a difference. If the reference is from a different genre, and especially if the characters are not otherwise similar, for me I think that would be enough to not transfer any bad associations. You could always wait and see what any alpha-readers have to say.

        Liked by 2 people

        • My ‘alpha reader’ is, alas, often oblivious even to the outside references that ARE in my stories. It’s part of what makes him so helpful: he doesn’t do that overactive ‘pattern recognition’ thing as much as I do, so if he doesn’t see something, I can be reasonably certain no one else will, either.

          But no, the characters in question are nothing alike.

          Liked by 1 person

      • I would have guessed there is significant overlap between sci-fi and horror fans, and the more important issue would be how obscure the movie is.

        I’m still a bit mystified on the whole issue. I see one reason (admittedly small) to change the name, and zero reasons not to change the name, so I score it 1-0 for change.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Hannah G says:

    Maybe Jason Grey, but “Grey” is common enough that as long as his first name isn’t “Christian” I doubt anyone will ever care. If it’s not that one, no idea.

    Liked by 1 person

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