1. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Sheherazade - is it a common name?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Mckk, Oct 17, 2012.

    I need to know if Sheherazade is a name that is in common usage today, or is it solely restricted to the Arabian Nights?

    I'm wondering because I want to name one of my characters Sheherazade - but only because it is an incredibly beautiful name. It is not a parallel on the Arabian Nights or the character within it, it is not a clever word play of any form. I want to use it only because it is a very pretty name.

    I'm worried that people, esp agents, will read the name Sheherazade and will immediately get Arabian Nights stuck in their heads, thus hindering my story, or perhaps find it cheap or hilarious that I'm using such a famous name - like the equivalent of calling one of my characters Aladdin or Simba or Thumbelina or something.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Thromnambular
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    Thromnambular Member

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    I'm pretty sure it's not commonly used today. The only place I've seen the name recently is in an Elseworlds Green Lantern comic book called 1001 Emerald Nights.

    It's basically a few stories from Arabian Nights with the characters swapped for Green Lantern characters. The artwork is amazing.

    Maybe you could try spelling it differently, like Sharzaad or Shaharzad, though it probably wouldn't "fool" anyone who has read Arabian Nights.
     
  3. maidahl
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    maidahl Banned

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    No. NO no no. I am morally offended that ANYONE would dare duplicate that sacred name of Sheherazade. Your heroine better be super cool and much better as a human being, nay, nay, as a person, than any character ever, with GOD AS MY WITNESS. And she better be smoother than either of the two works by the French composer Maurice Ravel.

    The character should seriously portray a WOMAN of exceptional intelligence, wisdom and bravery. And be very very present/modern-day heroine REPRESENT. Make her current and relatable. Ooh Give her a magiiccc pair of jeans.
     
  4. Drusilla
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    Drusilla Active Member

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    I have known three people with that name. Two North Africans and one Persian. I don't know how common it is, but it is used as a name in the "real world".

    The three people I knew spelled it Sheherazade, Chaharazade and Shahrzad. The name Sheherazade (and some other variations of it) is used as a first name in some Muslim cultures. What is your character's ethnicity? Maybe the parents named her after the fairytale heroine, if your character is from a culture where it is not commonly used? Or is she from a fictional culture?

    I don't see a problem with using it, but please don't make her too similar to the fairytale heroine. I cannot tell what the agents will say, but you shouldn't worry too much about it. If it turns out to be a well-written, captivating story, I imagine they won't mind it. But you shouldn't think too much about what the agents will say before you have written it down. Write it down first!


    Edit..............


    Taken from http://www.behindthename.com/name/shahrazad


    SHAHRAZAD
    GENDER: Feminine
    USAGE: Iranian, Arabic
    OTHER SCRIPTS: شهرزاد (Persian, Arabic)
    Meaning & History
    Means "free city" from the Persian elements شهر (shahr) "city" and آزاد (azad) "free". This is the name of the fictional storyteller in 'The 1001 Nights'. She tells a story to her husband the king every night for 1001 nights in order to delay her execution.
     
  5. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Drusila - thank you, your reply was useful! Yeah I knew a girl called Sheherazade at school actually, it's actually why I thought it was in common usage in the first place. The girl from school was indeed a Muslim, not sure about her actual origins.

    My novel is fantasy set in a fictional world. I've never even read the Arabian Nights, and only know Sheherazade's story from wikipedia, so I cannot make my character similar to the heroine even if I wanted to lol. I was genuinely just after a pretty, regal name for my High Priest. Though admittedly now that I may name her Sheherazade, I feel I must change her physical attributes.... The character's name was originally Avani, but it's too similar with my female MC's name, Arlia.

    Thromnombula - 1001 Emerald Nights sounds kinda cool!

    Maidhl - I can see that the name Sheherazade comes with a much-loved image of a much-loved and respected heroine from your response, which tells me I may need to think very carefully about using the name!
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    definitely not 'common'... all you have to do is google it and compare the hits of names of real people with 'mary' or 'ann' or even 'lindsay'...
     
  7. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Common may have been the wrong word - all I mean is: is it used in real life nowadays? Is it a "normal" name? Like Kylie is a normal name, but I've never met anyone with that name. Kylie is certainly not common, but no one would bat an eyelid at the name.
     
  8. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    I think that if you wanna name a character Sheherazade, you would have to have her be named after the Sheherazade from Arabian Nights. I have never heard of anyone having that name. Granted, I'm from Illinois and there isn't a great diversity of people here, but I know that If I read a story where there was a character named Sheherazade, I'd be waiting for her to tell a story.
     
  9. B93
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    B93 Active Member

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    In present use or not, there is no escaping the connotation in an agent's mind that will influence their expectations.
     
  10. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you use that name in a fantasy world, then yes, I am automatically going to get an arabic vibe for your story. In my mind, you'd have no other reason to use such a name since it has no historical context in your story. You could make up an infinite number of names in a fantasy world, so I'd have to ask myself, why use a name almost exclusive to Arabian Nights?

    If you were to use it in a fictional story set in our world, or in our future, even a thousand years later, then no, I wouldn't necessary think about Arabian nights. As an aside, if you made an ugly woman with that name, I think it would be awesome.
     
  11. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Thank you all for your input! I think it's clear that due to how famous the name is, I'll need a good reason to use it in a fantasy world. I agree that I could probably get away with it if it was a story set in the real world and perhaps the girl came from the middle east somewhere, but as I have it in my novel, I'd need a better reason to use it.

    Pity - I think I'll use the name at some point in the future for another story, but for the moment it's back to name searching!!! Baaaaah :(
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i agree... if you don't have a good reason for it, don't do it!
     
  13. Mikewritesfic
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    Mikewritesfic Senior Member

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    Yes, I'd say it's a common name in certain areas. Central Asia especially. Reminds me of the former Soviet foreign minister Eduard Sheverdnaze. Similar name. He was a Georgian.
     

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