1. hrdoyle3
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    hrdoyle3 Member

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    Same letters??

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by hrdoyle3, Aug 3, 2012.

    I have a story where the mc's name is Alexandra nn Lexi. Her brother, another primary character, name is Liam.

    Two primary character's starting with the same letter....

    Are these too similar?

    Yay or Nay
     
  2. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    Yay? It's not confusing....Liam and Lexi aren't that similar.
     
  3. B93
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    B93 Active Member

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    The names just have to be different enough for readers to not confuse them. Different letters are safer, but your names probably work.

    Myself, I don't have much trouble with same initials if the names are otherwise quite different, as one having hard consonants and the other not, or being different length. People in my review group convinced me to change my minor characters from Sara and Susan to Kayla and Susan. Sara and Sue I could have understood being confusing, not Susan, but it didn't bother me to change.

    I have more trouble with names that are not familiar, even if they are very different from each other. I gave up on one guy's fantasy because all the names were three syllable, not natural for me to pronounce, and I'd never heard any of them before. They just didn't sink into my fossilized brain.
     
  4. Bell City Fires
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    Bell City Fires Member

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    The while the first letters are the same, and the names is the same letter length, the last letter is different. The mind will not confuse the two, while it might try to auto correct into the wrong reading had they had the same first and last letters to their name.
     
  5. Lemontine13
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    Lemontine13 Member

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    Liam and Lexi are fine together, in fact, it's actually quite cute and is most likely a good thing :-D
     
  6. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    I think it's rather a good idea actually. Maybe it'll help your readers remember that they are related in the opening stages of the book. I tend to utilize little tricks like that while I'm reading, until I'm familiar with the characters.
     
  7. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    Why would it be confusing? Parents do this all the time.
    My best friend has four girls. Every single girl has the same initials A.E.H.

    Not giving away surnames for privacy...
    Abbie Elizabeth
    Alexadra Elayne
    Alura Eden
    Aeren Emelia

    I never get confused when she writes about the girls. And they are all the same gender.
     
  8. luna claire
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    luna claire Senior Member

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    They are great names and not in the least bit confusing.
     
  9. Bjørnar Munkerud
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    Bjørnar Munkerud Contributing Member

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    I agree that it's not at all confusing. The best/only example I can think of now is Harry Potter where two of the most important characters, if not THE most important characters have names starting with H: Harry and Hermione. Then theres also Hagrid, Helga Hufflepuff, Helena Ravenclaw, Hannah Abbott, and then also Harry's pet owl Hedwig. Other "things" are also often called something starting on H, as with Hogwarts and Hogsmead. With Harry Potter's abundance of characters to keep track of, I think we would'venoticdd if this was in any discernable degree confusing.

    Also, I like to focus on think being "likely" or "logical": the chance of two people having the same is actually pretty high, a fair number of percent. I think especially this is common for, for example, siblings, where the parents might prefer one letter or want their children to share their first letter. I think it's extra common for twins. It is also a technique you could use to make the characters feel more alike (it's hard to explain this, but just remember that names and their relations to eachother can have profound effects) or to create contasts, as in having the protagonist and antagonist have almost the same name (such as Barry and Larry, Mary and Gary, Laurence and Lawrence, Jessica and Jennifer, Jon and John etc. (or even exactly the same name (only surname obviously))).

    I just have to come with an example from real life because I came to think of it: My father's cousin's mother and her best friend had the names Gunvor Faller and Gunvor Falla (supposedly completely completely randomly, and though those names aren't THAT uncommon - I'm from Norway BTW, were names are, well, ... Norwegian - the chance of that happening is very small). Of course people with similar names may also become friends, or enemies for that matter, based on having similar names; they might feel more like one "group", if that makes sense.

    It also depends on how important/ oft featured those characters are, and seeing as both seem to be very commonly appearing in your story readers will easily learn to tell them apart; it'd be much harder if your main characters had very different names and then you infodump the readers with a huge number of almost identical names for characters (of course remembering those won't be as important, but still).

    Lastly I'll come up with a few examples from a couple of my own literary projects (that I think work well, there are none that I think don't, and if that was the case I would resolve it somehow, by renaming or removing characters): Firstly the main characters, who end up getting married after both almost went as far as committing suicide, of one of my book ideas are called Sue and Simon. In another a father is called Hugo and his son Hugh, another father named Josh has a son called Jon, two brothers are named Ersve and Eiden, a mother is named Gennifer and her daughter Gessica; and there are several Jonsons, a Jaccson, a Jason, a Jake, a Jay, a Jacqueline etc. (which is somewhat of a running joke: there's a plethora of characters with names on J (and G (as it is often pronounced like J)), but no people named Jack even though the project is called Project Jack).

    The point is: you can use names for a lot. :p

    I hope this wasn't too much of a long rambling sequence of nonsense to you. xD :) I oftentimes get slightly carried away.
     
  10. Walshy1595
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    Walshy1595 Member

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    I personally wouldn't be confused by Lexi and Liam, they're pretty different, even if they have the same starting letter.

    What would be confusing is something like Jack and Jackie, or Alexis and Alexei. But I'm sure no-one would be mean enough to do that to the readers :)
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Right. Similar sound is more important a problem than initial letters. Look at the wide variety of LL characters in Superman stories.
     
  12. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    You don't get confused when you read about them, because you know these girls personally - you can but a face to them. plus; unless they are quad, you will have gotten to know them one at a time.

    For anyone not knowing the girls personally, that only gets to know them via the written word - then I believe they would be confused.

    I grow up with my friend and her twin brothers, they were not identical twins, their names John and William were totally different and yet people mixed them and their names up all the time; there was one person that called them each 'John Willie'.

    To get back to the op - Lexi and Liam don't sound the same, therefore I don't see a problem.
     

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