Character of the Week: Reincarnated Prince Names

This naming brings up a pet peeve of many readers; one which I admit I have some trouble with.

Male, 28
He’s a reincarnation of a prince (it sounds horribly cliché when written down like this, oh dear). In the past he lived in the kingdom’s capital, but nowadays he resides in an up-market area of town (if you’ve ever been to the Cotswolds, feel free to picture some of the towns there).
His parents were the monarchs of the kingdom, but to be honest, they have very little to do with the novel. I can imagine them being conservative, and maybe working in business (CEO, maybe, for the father).
His mother is called Clarissa, but I haven’t named his father. His love interests are called Quinn, who is the novel’s other main character, and Carol.
He’s honorable and spontaneous, to the point of being rash. Strong willed and impatient, he can be too much for people. He follows his heart, and hardly ever his head. He has a choleric temperament. He’s been in the forces, but has already left.

This one was a little hard to place for me. The writer gives the genre as Psychological/Romance (I think this means it is a Thriller?), but does not make it clear if this is Historical Fantasy, Contemporary, Dystopian, or strait Fantasy (or something else entirely?). I am also confused as to the plot and the character (who are this reincarnation’s new parents?).

Since I felt I didn’t have a good understanding of this plot and character, I chose to focus on the names given. I tried to think of names that would go with those names, while being a bit distinctive (since I assume this is some kind of Fantasy novel, and since he is the main character). Reading the other names, though, told me something particular about this writer’s taste in names.

I just want to point out that the three names you’ve given all have the same beginning sound (K): Clarrissa, Quinn, Carol. I would strongly suggest changing one or two of them, specifically Carol (which is old sounding).

  • Torin
  • Merrick
  • Chance
  • Lachlan
  • Ramsey

The writer replied: Thank you for pointing that out; I hadn’t noticed that I’d been doing it. I’ll definitely change Carol. I like Chance, so I’m going to go with that one. Thanks for helping me, I really appreciate it!

I’ve seen many readers complain about a story having too many characters whose names either start with the same letter or whose names sound similar (e.g. Jean, Joan, and Jane). I have also seen many writers’ naming advice focus on using different letters for each character.

You know that I always advise you to choose names that will help your readers, either by giving them a feel for the character or specifically not choosing a name that is difficult to read. So, I understand that because readers (and writers, apparently) see a problem with too many names with the same sound, that it therefore is a problem. Here I gave the writer that (unsolicited) advice.

Unfortunately, I also gave another C name to choose in my list, and the reader did just that! Obviously this writer loves that letter and the usual sound (K) associated with it. I broke my own advice to the writer because the name had a different sound, but I fear that this story will end up with many other C names or names which begin with the K sound.

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