1. biomechanika
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    biomechanika New Member

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    My character's name is the same as a story in the same genre/setting as mine. Help?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by biomechanika, Apr 26, 2012.

    A new work of fiction was very recently published in the same niche genre as the book I just finished. That story uses a main female character with the same name as the main female love interest in my story. I found this out while looking for a publisher.

    I really don't want to have to do this, but I feel that if I don't change my character's name, that comparisons will be drawn. They beat me to it. What should I do?
     
  2. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    Well, you do the same thing that Joseph Heller did in Catch-22. You make a change for the good of the story.

    Heller's name for his novel was Catch-18. At that time there was another book out with an "18" in the title and his publisher pointed it out. Heller stated in an interview that he could not initially imagine his book going by another name. But the story was important, so they changed it to a "22."
     
  3. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    I think The Tourist's advice is good, but I want to highlight something he said and put my own spin on it: Heller had a conversation with his publisher.

    Write your story as is, and leave your character's name unchanged. Keep thinking of a new name for your character, and maybe a better one will come to you. But in the end, wait to see what your publisher says. I don't know how far you are in your story, but that could be a year (or even several years) before your story is finished, it can take a year to find an agent, and it can take another six months before it's finally in print. By then, maybe it won't seem so obvious.

    It might not even be so obvious now; perhaps you're just hypersensitive to it because it's your character. Are the first AND last name the same? Are they real names, and if so how common are they? (For example, you wouldn't ever be able to get away with Katniss)
     
  4. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Ditto both of the above.

    And really, changing a name isn't such a big deal... My protag has gone from being Heinrich to Josh to Thomas to finally, Will. My female protag has gone from Eleanor to something else - don't want it nicked sorry. My villain Shadow Rider turned into Shadow Walker. Pandora became Luniah. Luke, well, Luke disappeared altogether.

    I think sometimes we put too much investment into names.

    Incidentally, what name is that?
     
  5. LottieLab
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    LottieLab New Member

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    Its just a name - if it means the world can read your story, its a small price to pay!
     
  6. Dryriver
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    Dryriver Senior Member

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    What are the mathematical odds that lots of people will read the "other" story, and then your's, and think "Ooh. The name is stolen."

    If you ask me, probably not very high.

    I'd keep the original name, and only change it if your publisher has a problem with it.
     
  7. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Do you mean just the first name or both first and last? If it's both I suggest you change it.
     
  8. Rumwriter
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    Rumwriter Active Member

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    You think you have it bad? I spent 5 years writing a story about a kid named Harry Porter that finds out he's an alien and goes to alien school. Turns out it was almost exactly like the story "Ender's Game"
     
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  9. biomechanika
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    biomechanika New Member

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    Fortunately it isn't both the first and last. The name is a real one, but it isn't a very common one. Also, I just finished my final draft last week, so if it's going to be changed, it should be soon.

    I'm not absolutely opposed to changing it, but I've grown quite attached to the character over the lengthy amount of time it took me to write the book. It doesn't feel the same when I try to imagine other names for her. I'll defer to my publisher (if I get one), and if I have to, I could change it. I thought I could circumvent this problem by using a highly uncommon name within a niche science-fiction genre.

    Thanks for the opinions so far. They are helping, so keep it coming. ;)
     

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