1. kfmiller
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    kfmiller Active Member

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    Husband making me doubt MC name

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by kfmiller, Feb 8, 2015.

    So long story short- my current WIP is a combination of several ideas I had and started fleshing out- then realized combined it would be pretty cool.

    How the story stands- it's a post-apocalpytic novel set in Florida. My MC was a cop before the apocalypse. In the previous version his name was Lowell. Then, I decided to combine an unfinished short story about a mercenary in a post-apocalpytic environment into this novel. I kept the MC as a cop, but modeled him after the MC from the short story, and I made Lowell his companion.

    For the problem- the MC's name is Reed McLane, usually just called McLane. My husband immediately pointed out that was Bruce Willis's characters name from the Die Hard franchise. Originally, this character was a merc, but now he's a cop, and I didn't even think of the connection. I don't want to re-name him, but I'm worried this could be a problem.

    His being a cop is important because halfway through the book there will be a murder identical to the last homicide he was working on before the apocaplyse , which he will become obsessed with solving.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    My opinion: take your husband's advice, drop the McLane. When names make people think of an existing character it can affect how they read the story because the name has baggage. When it's just one person's issue with a name, you can't really control that, but millions of people will think of Bruce Willis when they read a similar character named McLane.

    I just changed one of my main character's name from Mayer to Greyson. (My critique group said two names were too much alike and I agreed with them.) I hate the new name because I'm used to the old name, but Greyson definitely has the connotation I want. Funny thing is, even I react to it in the way I want the reader to at first. Hopefully I'll come to like the guy as the other characters do.
     
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  3. kfmiller
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    kfmiller Active Member

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    I think you're both right. It's tough since I first started writing about him a couple years ago, but I need to come up with something different. I'm keeping Reed though- it's a family name and I like sprinkling that into my writing.
     
  4. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, a cop with the name McClane immediately sets an image of white vests and "yipikaye mother f*cker".

    Plus Reed McClane is one of those testosterone-y, macho names that grate with me ever so slightly. I hear a name like that and think, oh Christ, he's going to be an insufferable knob, isn't he?

    Reed McCarthy, Reed Wright.
     
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  5. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Add another vote against McLane. As soon as you said it I thought of Die Hard.
     
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  6. kfmiller
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    kfmiller Active Member

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    Thanks for the replies. I'm definitely going to rename him. I honestly didn't even connect the dots before it was pointed out, mostly because he was a different character before now. Whoops!

    I like McCarthy, but not totally sold yet. Back to the drawing board!
     
  7. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    James Bond, Jason Bourne. John Mcclane, Reed Mckane or Reed Mckinney. No big deal.
     
  8. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Riiight. You name your next spy James Bond and tell us how that goes. ;)

    Of course you could do it, as long as you made his being named James Bond part of the story. :)
     
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  9. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    No no. Jason Bourne is to James Bond, as Reed McKane is to John McLane.
     
  10. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Reads wrong
     
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  11. kfmiller
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    kfmiller Active Member

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    I figured it out- new name is Rick Grimes
     
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  12. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Rick Grimes...? o_O
     
  13. kfmiller
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    kfmiller Active Member

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    It was a joke :D
     
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  14. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Loooool :D

    Thank God...
     
  15. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    To be honest, it's up to you. McCarthy brings to my mind that senator that started the Red Scare in the 1950s, just like your husband said that McLane brought Bruce Willis to his mind. Names, especially famous real-life/fictional names, can carry a lot of baggage. If I saw a character named McCarthy, I'm not going to immediately assume the character is honest and trustworthy.

    If it fits with your character to be named McLane or McCarthy, then roll with it. Just be aware that people will make assumptions about your character based on what they've associated with the name. For example, if I made a character named Mario, you can bet that gamers, or even those with a slim basic knowledge of video games will immediately think of the fat Italian plumber from the Mushroom Kingdom, even when my Mario is totally different from Nintendo's Mario.

    As for McLane, Bruce Willis' character didn't even spring to my mind. Probably because I've never seen the Die Hard franchise. :D

    ZUKO
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The Zuko on the left is from Zelda: The Wind Waker. The Zuko on the right is from Avatar: The Last Airbender.

    LINK
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The Link on the top is from The Legend of Zelda. The Link on the bottom is from Matrix: Reloaded.

    See? :D People who have played the games/watched the show/movie will draw their own correlation based on the names alone, but so long as your character is different than Bruce Willis' character, then it's OK.

    Again, though, it's all up to you. I was just dropping my two Zukos. ;) :p
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2015
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  16. Lilith_Duat
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    Die Hard or no, McLane is a very cliche cop name to me. I don't know why. It's so...cop-like.
    Maybe it makes me think McCloud, which in turn makes me think of this
     
  17. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Honestly, as soon as I saw McLane Die Hard came straight to my mind. Doesn't mean you can't use the name, but you have to decide whether you want people to make that connection. I suspect a lot of them will.
     
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  18. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    McCloud makes me think of the Star Fox series. :p if the opportunity calls him that, I'll have to resist the urge to picture him as a fox. :D
     
  19. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    It's amazing how much baggage names can have. When I started I just didn't want any names that reminded me of people I know. Now that I changed my character's name from Mayer (a name I just made up) to Greyson, it changed how I view the character.

    It's almost fun, I'm going to have to look for more names that would benefit from changing.
     
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  20. kfmiller
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    kfmiller Active Member

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    @Link the Writer

    Dropping my two Zukos:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    :D

    Ultimately, I don't want people to immediately have an objection to my story before they even start reading it, so I'm going to change it.
     
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  21. Renee J
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    Renee J Contributing Member

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    My main character has a name very similar to the werewolf in Twilight. I never read or watched it, so I didn't realize they were similar. But, since my character is a middle-aged non-werewolf, I'm not sure if I should change it.
     
  22. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Jacob is a pretty common name. I think if you put an Edward in your story and it's not a period piece from the 1800s you'd have issues, but Jacob? I don't think so. And an Edward in the 1800s would be fine as well.

    McClane, on the other hand, is a franchise and in addition the OP's character had a lot of similarities.
     
  23. kfmiller
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    kfmiller Active Member

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    What other similarities? I've never seen the movies but what I know of the character my MC is nothing like him. Only similarity is mine used to be a cop before the apocalypse and John McClane is a cop.
     
  24. Dunning Kruger
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    Dunning Kruger Active Member

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    I was going to have a cop named Andrew Blood. As in Drew Blood. And I do like wine with my cheese.
     
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  25. Renee J
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    Renee J Contributing Member

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    It wasn't just the first name. His name's Jacob Blakley and the Twilight character is Jacob Black. But, that might be different enough, too.
     

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