Naming characters is one of those hoops all fiction writers must jump. In my current first draft project, I relied on a mix of appropriate ethnicity and my address book to give names to the various characters. It works, but it’s far from perfect. I read the text the other day and I realized I had two characters named HENRY. This is not good. I fixed it. (I should tell my friend Henry about his strange popularity.)
I’ve also taken heat from preliminary manuscript readers about characters with similar names. Sometimes this is a conscious choice as a member of an older generation might logically have a name sourced from the family’s homeland and a son, daughter or grandchild might have an “American-ized” version of that name.
But there are also times when I unconsciously give a bunch of characters names that start with the same letter. This is just weird and I have to monitor my naming process to tamp this down. You can’t have Jason, Jon, Jared, Jacob, and Jackson in the same story!
My own name is just weird enough to be original—Candida Korman. In Spain and Portugal Candida is a name that crops up with regularity. It’s a little old fashioned, but not as wacky as it sounds in English. This is funny, because I was named after the play by George Bernard Shaw; and he was not from Spain or Portugal…
As for my last name, Kormans are everywhere. My late father loved to check phonebooks (when there were phonebooks) in hotel rooms wherever he traveled. Spelled Korman, Kormann, and Corman, there were always a few in any city in Europe. Unlikely relations, but…maybe a distant, distant cousin, so if I ever get a hankering to sign up for one of those ancestry searches I might find a few.
Of course I’ve been asked about Harvey Korman and Roger Corman. I would not mind a familial connection with either one and I’d especially like to be related to Harvey as I LOVED him in ‘Blazing Saddles’ and ‘High Anxiety’ but, alas, my dad assured me that he was not a relative.
No relation, but related names…