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June 12, 2018


Linda Lovely

Thanks so much for having me as a guest poster, Catriona! I had great fun writing this, but your comments (as always) are the icing on the cake. Thanks!

Liz Milliron

I realized a few years ago, that every story I wrote, the male main character's initials were "J.D." Oops.

I kept the original J.D. for my Laurel Highlands series (he refused a name change, quite adamantly).

And yes, thank goodness for critique partners who can point out the name confusions I so blithely create.


Lovely to have you, Linda. Congratulations on the new book!

Linda Lovely

Liz, I don't know what I'd do without critique partners. Of course, I sometimes sneak in their names. I used my critique partner Howard Lewis' first name for my heroine's dad, who--what a coincidence--also served as the prez of a local chapter of Sisters in Crime.

Elaine Viets

Welcome, Linda. Thanks to you, I'm changing a name in my fourth Angela Richman mystery -- two men's names starting with T. You've convinced me.

Linda Lovely

Elaine, I don't even realize it at first when I get a beginning letter stuck in my head. My name spreadsheet keeps me honest.


Love the story behind the names. And I agree about keeping names different enough to keep readers from being confused. It really is a struggle if authors don't pay attention to that.

Hank PhilLippi ryan

Oh, I am so susceptible to that. All my characters names seem to begin with C or M, until I realize! So I definitely have a chart now to make sure I vary not only the letters, but the rhythm of the names you know?
I always have three syllable first name three syllable last name, and that’s not good! ( isn’t that called a double dactyl? )
And my name is harriet, just saying. When I was eight, I would have killed to be Linda!

Vicki Batman

"Lovely" post! Naming our characters is hard, but sometimes, the right name appears in our head and that is brilliant. Love your "pen name" story too.

Linda Lovely

Hank, I didn't tell the full story of how I got the name Linda. I was born on my sister's fifth birthday. She'd wanted a pony. Instead she got to name me. I've always been glad she didn't pick Flicka. Though I hope my folks would have nixed that. I actually don't mind Linda though I also answer to Lin.


LOL. Linda, the stories just get better through the comments. Flicka! LOL.

Being a male Kris with a "K" there have been more than few times I wished I could change my name, but you sort of grow into it I suppose.

Like Mark, I agree that we readers appreciate when authors make these efforts. Won't help us when different authors have similar character names - and we read those books one after the other - but this is a start.

Can't you just imagine a huge spreadsheet with all the crime fiction character names by every author. That would be fascinating, actually.


"And your name?"
"With a K or a C?"
"A C. And an O."
"Doesn't matter."
"An O?"
"Just put Cat."

Deb Romano

Linda, I have four younger siblings. I was given the opportunity to name the youngest, and I picked "Wendy". About a month before she was born I saw Peter Pan on TV, and I liked the Wendy character. Whenever my sister said she didn't like her name, I told her "you're lucky I hadn't just seen Rapunzel." (Actually, my parents gave me a choice between "Wendy" and "Denise". She didn't need to know that!)

Several years ago I read a suspenseful novel in which two characters had similar first names. I don't remember what the names were, but let's say Liz/Lizzie. Sometimes the author used Liz for Lizzie, in a scene which included Liz. I thought there might be some sort of clue involved, but as I continued reading, I decided it was just a mistake. The author was familiar with both characters and knew who she was writing about, apparently!

Linda Lovely

Deb, laughed at your response to Wendy. I agree Rapunzel would have been much harder to live with but might have made for an unusual pen name. And, Catriona, I've heard your stories about people who tell you you don't know how to pronounce your own name! Funny (well afterwards).

Gay  Gale

Enjoyed your post on names as I have/am living with issues myself. In the late 40S, being the first female grandchild I was named after my great aunt Harriet, a spinster who was a fixture at Smith College in Massachusetts an my paternal grandmother Grace who was called Gay. Since my parents didn't want to give me two old fashioned names, I was christened Harriet Gay Coburn but was only ever known as Gay.
As a young woman, I became uncomfortable introducing myself by saying, "Hello, I'm Gay" and friends in the Stanford years called me H. Gay.
Within 5 Yers, I married Mr. Gale and all new introductions created chuckles about having two first names and which did I prefer being called. When I divorced, I kept the name and have added back my maiden name so that friends from the 32 moves I have made can become fans when my first novel comes out next year. I even had to legally change myname by dropping the Harriet to qualify for a bank account in my home state of Hawaii!
A long story adding to the premise that names are important, in fiction and in lifeo.

Linda Lovely

Really interesting, Gay. And good luck on your first novel.

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