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  1. Brinda
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    Brinda New Member

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    Using Names That Have Been Used Before?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Brinda, Jul 6, 2012.

    I really want to name a character in my children's novel "Ramona", however there is this tricky situation with Ramona already being a name used in children novels by Beverly Cleary. The character isn't the same as Cleary's Ramona, but is it okay to use that name? Are there too many preconceptions about the name Ramona already?

    Thanks for your opinions,
    Brinda
     
  2. Complex
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    Complex Senior Member

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    It is an unusual name, but not trademarked or protected or unique enough to bother anyone. So you are fine, as long as it is a common to uncommon name you are fine. Darth Vader would not be a good choice for a character name.
     
  3. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ramona should be fine. Just don't give her a sister named Beezus.
     
  4. Brinda
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    Brinda New Member

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    Haha, do you think that would be too much?
     
  5. Complex
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    Complex Senior Member

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    Yes.
     
  6. rogue writer
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    I agree w/ the others...I think you are fine using it.

    The only thing that comes to mind w/ that name is the "Real Housewives of New York.'

    I probably should read more, I guess :)
     
  7. maidahl
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    maidahl Banned

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    Try Bella and Edwardo as your main characters. That might work.
     
  8. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    I wouldn't do it. It would invite comparisons needlessly.
     
  9. maidahl
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    maidahl Banned

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    Uh... that was the point
     
  10. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    You think so? I don't:

    Now, maybe I'm reading Brinda wrong, but it doesn't look like comparison is her goal. I'd avoid it.
     
  11. Complex
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    Complex Senior Member

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    Agreed. Fanfiction is one thing, but if the goal is publication and you purposely set out to mimic or take from another character and use their name, but 'tweak' the character a little, chances are you would be winding up in court. Don't take from other author's characters, use their name, and try to make a novel using a slightly modified 'Ramona'.

    "I have a wise old green guy with a cane that speaks 'good english' named Yoda. He's the main character of my sci-fi novel." says the writer, right before the lawyers get wind of the situation.
     
  12. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Totally depends on the character , your plot , the situation. If the character is the same age as Ramona , and has quirky adventures - yeah you'll get a lot of people comparing you to BC's Ramona which will ultimately distract from your story. If it's a secondary character however it probably won't matter. It's best to stay away from names that have become iconic - I read a prairie romance once and could not story laughing because one of the men was called Kermit - it might've been popular back then but c'mon for the 1980's it was distracting.
     
  13. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    But Brinda only wants to use the name - I mean, it'd be ridiculous to say, for example, that I cannot name my MC Jack, because well, Lee Child already has a character called Jack Reacher! Of course though, it depends on how famous the name is - Yoda is legendary, so in that case, even though it might just be a name, I would not do it.

    But a name like Ramona - it sounds gorgeous, and it's the first time I've heard of this name. Does it mean I can't use it? Of course not.

    Names are not copyrighted, unless they're trademarks/brands.
     
  14. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    It's all about context. George is an ordinary name but if you decide to name a curious monkey that, you're finished.
     
  15. maidahl
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    maidahl Banned

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    lame joke then
     
  16. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ramona is a legitimate name -- there are people named Ramona. Maggie Gyllenhaal's daughter, I believe, is named Ramona. There are Ramonas other than the one fictional girl in Beverly Cleary's books.

    Yoda is another matter. I've never heard of a person named Yoda. Okay, there probably is someone named Yoda, who probably was named after the Yoda of Star Wars fame. But that's not the same thing.

    It might not be such a good idea if your Ramona character is very similar to Beverly Cleary's character, but of course, those books were also written at least 40 years ago. Although they are in some ways timeless, my guess is that a contemporary book about a girl who happens to be named Ramona, but otherwise bears little resemblance to BC's Ramona won't be a problem. But if you're at all worried that she does seem too similar to the famous Ramona, then just change the name.
     
  17. killbill
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    killbill Contributing Member

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    May be i am missing something here but, why? :confused:

    To the OP, avoid very popular fictional character's name, or names of chars of stories which are similar to your story.
     
  18. Brinda
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    Brinda New Member

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    Thanks to everyone for their responses, it has been a big help to read your posts.

    To clarify, the character I am writing is a secondary character who does not go on quirky adventures--for the most part, she's the anchor to reality as the next-door neighbor to two boys who have their own fantastical adventures.
     
  19. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Holy Toledo, KillBill you're making me feel old - Curious George - the monkey!
     
  20. Complex
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    Uh Yoda is a Japanese last name. Norimoto Yoda is a professional Go player with a 9 Dan rank, born in the 60's. Yoshikata Yoda was the screenwriter for The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum. Still you would refer to them by last name as 'Yoda-san' and not the first name. The only reason why I followed up Thump's idea is because of reading her comment with the 'Haha...' part which possibly alluded to drawing upon Cleary's characters. As long as that's not the case, then its fine.
     
  21. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    Yeah, if the character is not a main character, the issue disappears, in my view. I was responding under the assumption that this Ramona would be the MC.
     

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