Character of the Week: Band Member Names

This is a genre I haven’t written about, and one I am not very familiar with.

The Writer Describes the Character

Male, late 20s/early 30s, Contemporary
American, most likely from the East Coast (Philly/DC region)
He is my main character’s best friend (my main character’s name is Max). They’ve known each other since they were teenagers and had a lot of first experiences with each other (drugs, drinking, and so on) but have lately lost touch except through the every so often phone call or run-in. He was in a band in his early/mid-20s that gained local fame and is currently trying to relive that lifestyle (they broke up after the bassist quit to move cross country with his wife). He has a 9-5 sort of job but he hates it and has that older person personality of wishing he was still young/hip. He is still pretty hip, he just doesn’t know how to channel those energies. He’s traveled the US but has never been outside the country (not even Canada) and has lived in the same town his entire life. No girlfriend/no love interest, a younger sister whom he is semi-close with (they don’t talk every day but don’t have to “catch up” when they talk, either), and both his parents are dead and have been for 10 years (car accident).
Magical Realism

(Oh, and John, Nathaniel, Michael, Matthew, and Aeneas are out of the calling, just because I already have too many stories with characters having those names.)

For this naming I took a lot of inspiration from the names I couldn’t use. All of these names say something about the writer’s name preferences (mostly classic names with a  Biblical bent). I searched for names that were popular in Pennsylvania and Maryland about 30 years ago, and limited myself to names that were mostly classic and Biblical (with the exception of the Greek Aeneas, which I assume was used allegorically). I also chose to give the writer a short description of how I saw the character with each of these names.

My Reply to the Writer

  • Luke: A blue jean guy
  • Ryan: A chill guy who likes the ladies, for one night only
  • Zachariah: A romantic at heart who’s only committed to his music
  • Vincent: A tough, hard-living guy
  • Leonard (Leo): An artist

The writer did not reply to say if any of these names would be used, but I could see this writer choosing these names for a variety of characters in this world. (Note: While I do not suggest Luke as a romantic hero name, since it’s been done to death in Romance and Chick-Lit, I suggested it here for a character that is very different in type from the “hero”.)

I do not think I’ve named any other characters for Magical Realism before, and I do not think I’ve read any Magical Realism. I have named many characters in Paranormal and Fantasy, but while some people think Magical Realism is similar to those genres I feel it is very different. While Paranormal novels may be set in a contemporary time/place, the overriding otherness of the characters (even the human characters, who are often set aside as special) makes them long for uncommon names. In Magical Realism, however, everything is very common and ordinary except for the one touch of magic; if the names in this genre stood out as “unique”, it might take away from the “realism” of the setting.



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