1. iolair
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    iolair Active Member

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    Rename a character because of a real-world usage?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by iolair, Jul 17, 2013.

    I'm thinking I should rename one of my minor characters (she will become more of a major character if there is a sequel).

    The book is a young adult fantasy adventure, and I'm on the final editing pass.

    Her name is Lady Juliana - a titled Lady of the British Aristocracy. My mental image of her is roughly how you would expect Lara Croft to turn out if she lived to be 60-70 years old.

    However, I just did a web search (I'd done them earlier for all my major characters, but not for the minor ones), and discovered that 'Lady Juliana' is the operating name of what appears to be a high class prostitute in the UK. As the book is for young adults (and has no sexual themes), I'm thinking this is a bad thing - readers may well go googling the characters' names - and I should change it.

    It's a shame, I felt the name Juliana really fitted the character.

    Thoughts/feelings?

    [EDIT](OK, there doesn't seem to be any way for me to move/delete this - but I just realised it probably should have gone in the 'Character Development' forum - any admin/mod want to move it?)[/EDIT]
     
  2. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    So long as there is no logical connection between the character and the real person, and since you obviously have not used anything about the real person in your story, I see no problem here.
     
  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, what Ed said. I think you're worrying it overmuch. I don't think there is any name you could pick, be it a real, non-fantastical name, that won't google up someone, and more likely, a goodly number of someones. ;)
     
  4. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I also agree with what Ed said above.
     
  5. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    Unless Lady Juliana happens to be your personal dominatrix or something, I am pretty sure you are good.

    Some names just die, in general usage and other's cannot really be used by anyone else. I know a lot of Germans and not one of them is named Adolf.

    Katniss is right out.
     
  6. iolair
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    iolair Active Member

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    Thanks, that's reassuring. I did actually 'steal' the name - from a 14th century historical character (although the story is set in the present day).

    I think I'll give her an extra 'n' though - Julianna - just so she's spelled differently to the prostitute, and it also reinforces how I'm pronouncing her name - with a short A sound (as in cat) instead of a long one (as in father).
     
  7. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    No nonono. Make that hooker famous! :) If anyone asks say she was your favorite. LOL! I'm pretty sure it would increase sales ;-) All the prostitutes (who can read), would buy it!
     
  8. iolair
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    iolair Active Member

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    You found the .co.uk website too then?

    If the book wasn't best aimed at 11-14 year olds, it wouldn't have bothered me. I can just see young readers googling the character names ... (dependent on me actually finding an agent and getting the thing published, of course).
     
  9. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Any name for a character, as long as it's Earth-based, you'll find someone with that name on Google. As long as you aren't writing a novel about some kid called Michael Jackson leaving his family band to pursue a solo career, you should be ok.
     
  10. B93
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    B93 Active Member

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    You should google every name in every story you write. If you find zero or many occurrences you are safe. If you find a very few, you probably shouldn't use the name, and especially so if you find one with bad associations.
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Really, it's not worth worrying about. Even if you google a name in depth, you can be caught unawares anyway.

    There was once a TV series, The Greatest American Hero. The lead character was a teacher, Ralph Hinkley. Then a nutcase named John Warnock Hinckley approached then-President Ronald Reagan and took six shots at him with a .22 caliber handgun. Ralph Hinkley suddenly became Ralph Hanley for the remainder of the season, although he returned to his original name for the next season.

    You can't control it, so don't bother trying.
     
  12. hippocampus
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    hippocampus Active Member

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    Maybe someday your book's character will be the first of the natural results for a search for that name. How sweet would that be?
     
  13. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Can't see it being a problem. I just googled it and found that the Lady Juliana was a convict ship. Carried a whole lot of prostitutes to Australia. My last book had a lead character called Anders Voss - I just googled the name and he's on Facebook, college athletics, LinkedIN and a few other places. My guy has no relation to any of them, so I really don't see it as an issue.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  14. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    I just name my characters whatever I feel like. With almost seven billion people currently alive, and only God knows how many from however many thousands of years of humanity there's bound to be a real "Nicole Connor" somewhere in the world... probably several thousand. Example, I just Googled one of my peripheral protags and came up with 8, 480, 000 different people and sites named both Casey and Cassandra Lin. My advice, don't over think these sorts of things.
     

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