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  1. Insert Witty Name Here
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    Insert Witty Name Here New Member

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    Problems with the name "Will/William?"

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Insert Witty Name Here, Mar 23, 2010.

    Hello, all.

    At the moment I'm trying to write a story, much like most people here. However, I am having a hard time with a major character name (specifically, the protagonist/hero). Of course, this is not surprising, but the name that seems to be the front runner of the possible candidates is William - that is to say, he would be called "Will" most of the time as he is not exactly the sort to like using his full name. To me, it seems like a decent name for a hero without being too presumptuous.

    My question is whether or not the name "Will" frequently comes up as an impediment in practice in terms of conflict with other words. I can think of at least three different ways that the word "will" can be used in every day language (willpower, a request/prediction of someone's action, and the legal document in the event of death), and I can see how at least the second one might cause a tongue-twister in the reader's head, and an unsightly one at that. While I doubt that a phrase will come up such as, "Will, will your will be willful?" I can certainly see how this sort of thing might cause more subtle problems much more frequently, more than most other names that sound like regular words (such as "Pat" or "Mark").

    As such, I'd appreciate any thoughts on the subject, especially since I've been trying to hack away at this in earnest for quite some time. Hopefully there won't be a follow-up asking for more help on naming him, as I'm getting close to the point where I may just print out the SSN top 1000 boy's names and pick out of a hat.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I cannot see how the other uses of the word will would cause any issue with the use of the name Will. Obviously uncounted people carry this name in life and I have known a few and never once did that topic come up.

    Though, upon thinking...

    There is at least one example I can think of where the play of words was mentioned. In Sherry S. Tepper's Grass, a character name Rilibee Chime is renamed Willy Climb after he becomes part of a kind of monastery where the younger acolytes create complex and dangerous scaffolds out of bamboo-like grass. The climbing of these scaffolds in the escape of the older acolytes is a sort of right of passage into the community. The acolytes taunt Rilibee and ask each other out loud, "Will he climb?!"

    Will he climb becomes Willy Climb.
     
  3. jmar2
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    jmar2 Member

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    Bill is also an accepted nickname for William, and a good solid hero name.

    I don't think Will will cause too much confusion. Except as a beginning word in a sentence, "will" will be lower case. The named Will is always upper case.

    Just my two cents.

    John
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you're the one choosing the words to be used, so i don't see how it could possibly be a problem, unless you make it one...
     
  5. Midnight_Adventurer
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    Midnight_Adventurer Active Member

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    If I were in your shoes and doubting my main characters name then I'd change it, simple as that. I'm really fussy when it comes to naming my characters so I know how you feel, I tend to go with unusal names but not too unsual if you knw what i mean.
     

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