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Joe DeRouen, Author of the Small Things trilogy: I need help choosing a name

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I need help choosing a name

I'm working on a novel and I need a surname for one of the families I'm writing about. Without revealing too much, I'll outline this --

Bernard "Bernie" Noname is the father of the family. He's twice divorced. He's also recently dead. Born and raised in a small Midwestern town in Illinois, he has many secrets about his family's history that apparently died with him.

Connor Noname is the product of Bernie's first marriage. He's in his late twenties, disgruntled, estranged from his father, came back to the town he grew up in for his father's funeral but mainly to see his half-sister from his father's second marriage, Sabrina.

Sabrina Noname. Sixteen, coming out of a bit of a Goth girl phase but sweet underneath. Very intelligent. Popular in school, but has had a tendency to "go along with the crowd" to gain that popularity. Missed her brother, happy to see him but at the same time resentful that it took the death of their father to bring him home.

Here are some of the last name I'm been considering:


So what do you think?

Help me out with this and, if I use the name you suggest, I'll list you in the "thank yours" when and if the book is published.


At 6:18 PM, Anonymous Mela said...

I can see why you're considering those names. I mentally matched them with all three characters names, and they all sound good. But I like 'Hawthorne' most. Not sure why. Madison and Black would be my second and third choices.


At 6:48 PM, Blogger anahbird said...

I liked Madison and Blake best.

At 7:20 PM, Anonymous Elyna said...

I like Hawthorne the most. The story seems like it will have psychologically dark undertones and using the name Hawthorne would be a nice nod to Nathaniel Hawthorne.

At 7:40 PM, Blogger Adele said...

Just to throw a wrench in the works, how about Macklin?

At 5:58 PM, Blogger Joe said...

Thanks, guys! Still thinking about it, and now I have to consider Macklin too!

At 9:23 PM, Blogger Ruth said...

I like Underlay. It has a dark, I-work-night-shifts-at-the-museum ring to it, and Sabrina Underlay sounds just angsty enough for a recovering Goth. Not sure if that's what you were going for, though...

At 4:47 PM, Blogger Richard Arooga said...


At 4:53 PM, Blogger Richard Arooga said...

By the way, how do I get to read your fiction?

At 9:14 PM, Blogger kiwi said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 11:26 PM, Blogger kiwi said...

kiwi said...
Joe, hate to say it, but most of these names look cliché to me. Why not go with something like Galloway, or de Brie.

Also, I have a problem with Sabrina's psychological profile. A kid prone to peer pressure and concerned with popularity is not going to get involved with a counter culture. The gothic movement attracts those who are often ‘reacting against’ or opposed to normalcy and conformity. The fact that she’s a smart kid, fits here though: IQ often goes up the further you move from the center/popular.

As a reader, I’m more likely to be drawn to Sabrina if she’s the smart misfit, who sees what other’s don’t, than the shallow conformist who doesn’t know who she is.

Hope this is helpful.

At 9:16 PM, Blogger Rashenbo said...

I don't much care for Hawthorne or Black... Underlay isn't too bad or Murdoch.

Hmmm, let's see if I can do some brainstorming and come up with some other names for you to consider...

Phalen (or Fallon) - I believe Phalen is runner of the wolves or something along those lines.

Donovan has a nice flow to it... might be too common or cliche for you.

Similar to Underlay are names like Hadley...

You could go the very common route by choosing something like "Jenkins"

Or you can go something like "Orr"

Is the last name going to have a mean or a visual purpose for the characters? or does it relate to their heritage or culture? If not, maybe go with something simple to say, simple to see... and hence the reader will eventually dismiss it as they get comfortable in the story and they'll know who everyone is... without focusing too much on a name.

At 8:21 PM, Blogger Joe said...

Thanks all of you for your suggestions and advice! Still unsure, but I'll post the moment I make a decision on the name. I do appreciate each and every comment!

At 9:49 AM, Anonymous Annie said...

Get out the phone book and point!


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