Name Theory: The Trouble with C Names

When I wrote on Monday that I have some trouble with the pet peeve of characters’ names starting with the same letter, I didn’t mean that it was a pet peeve of mine. I really meant I’m having some trouble with it.

You see, in my primary WIP (the one that will make me rich and famous, or at least published, if I can ever work out the kinks) I made the choice to name the four children in one family with names beginning with the letter C. This was a choice, and I feel my reasons are just. It is based on the fact that my siblings and I all have the same initials, and that other families also use the same initials for their children for various reasons. Also, one child will only be mentioned once, another is only in a couple of scenes, and a third has a very distinctive name that would not be confused with the main character’s name.

I am content with my choice, and I feel it is not a problem because I am making sure in the writing that these four characters with C names are distinct. And since only two of them are in much of the book, that will limit any confusion.

My trouble comes with the main character’s love interest.

In the current draft he still has the first name I gave him: Angel. This name fits the feel of the character, and it is culturally appropriate for a young man born and raised in Puerto Rico (the pronunciation is close to Ahn-hel). The problem is he is not a nice guy, at all. And I don’t like to name characters something ironic. This character is meant to be a “real” person, not a cardboard cut-out and not a joke. So I need to rename him; this is where my trouble with the C names begins.

The thing is, the name I really, really, REALLY, want to name him, the name that is sexy, and mysterious, and bad boy, and culturally appropriate, is another C name. The name I want to give him is Cesar.

I keep trying to justify it to myself by saying that the name is not pronounced with the K sound. I want to justify it because the name is shorter than the other C names, and it does not share many letters with the other names, and it is too perfect not to use. I keep trying to give myself an excuse to do what I know will certainly be going too far.

The thing is, no matter what I want, I know that I must take the readers into account. Many readers have a pet peeve about characters with the same initials, and I respect readers and what they want and need. So while I have chosen to disregard this “rule” to name a family with a tradition that many families use, I cannot add to that another unrelated character with the same initial. That would be going too far, and I accept that.

So I have another name or two which I feel would suit him, somewhat. And I’m on the lookout for other names which may be as perfect as the two other choices I’ve had for him. I know it is my burden, and I know I must bear it for the sake of my readers and for the sake of my novel. So the “perfect” name must be laid to rest, because there are other things that are more important. This time.

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