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Genres & Age Categories => Picture Books (PB) => Topic started by: crookedbook on August 31, 2012, 02:00 PM

Title: MC name - Jack or Wally?
Post by: crookedbook on August 31, 2012, 02:00 PM
I can't decide between Jack or Wally for my PB's main character. He's a normal but perserverant little guy. What does your gut say? My gut says ask the writers on Verla Kay....LOL!
Title: Re: MC name - Jack or Wally?
Post by: AnnH on August 31, 2012, 02:09 PM
Since I read Stone Soup in the comics, I think of Wally as being a pudgy, balding middle-aged guy, so I vote for Jack.  :)
Title: Re: MC name - Jack or Wally?
Post by: carterhiggins on August 31, 2012, 02:34 PM
I love Wally!
Title: Re: MC name - Jack or Wally?
Post by: amberturner on August 31, 2012, 03:18 PM
I think Leave it to Beaver with Wally. Which isn't bad.

I like them both.
Title: Re: MC name - Jack or Wally?
Post by: ButterflyGirl on August 31, 2012, 03:45 PM
Jack seems more plucky and relatable...Wally might be a touch dorky, or pudgy. Also, Jack sounds more contemporary. My 2 cents.  :)
Title: Re: MC name - Jack or Wally?
Post by: dewsanddamps on August 31, 2012, 04:37 PM
Wally will be harder for most kids to pronounce.
Title: Re: MC name - Jack or Wally?
Post by: KatieC on August 31, 2012, 06:42 PM
Jack's got my vote, too. I relate Wally with "Wally World" from The National Lampoon's Family Vacation, and John Candy as the park security guard. Definitely a tad dorky.  :biggrin:
Title: Re: MC name - Jack or Wally?
Post by: MysteryRobin on August 31, 2012, 07:57 PM
They seem like very different names for very different personalities. I'd need to read your book!
I think heroes are often named Jack (Bauer, Reacher, Shepherd...) and Wally seems more like the likeable goof, that could end up being heroic, but isn't how you first think of him.
Title: Re: MC name - Jack or Wally?
Post by: HDWestlund on August 31, 2012, 09:56 PM
I was bullied regularly by a Wally when I was a child, so I prefer Jack, of course. :) But on a more practical note: Do you have a rhyme, meter, or sound-palette for your story? That might help you decide what fits best, since the names roll off the tongue very differently. :)
Title: Re: MC name - Jack or Wally?
Post by: mlbrown on August 31, 2012, 10:54 PM
Jack wins my vote, but then, my youngest son is Jack, so I may be prejudiced. :)
Title: Re: MC name - Jack or Wally?
Post by: crookedbook on September 01, 2012, 04:11 AM
It's a non-rhyming PB so rhyme and meter are less important, though it does have a certain "sound" to it - both names work in that sense. I'm just trying to determine what kind of image each name evokes. Your comments are helping! (mlbrown - my nephew and 4 of my friends have boys named Jack, must be something in the water! It is a great name)
Title: Re: MC name - Jack or Wally?
Post by: Kell on September 01, 2012, 04:53 AM
I like Wally -- more unique. It's true that it would be hard for some young children to say.
Title: Re: MC name - Jack or Wally?
Post by: Donna J. Shepherd on September 01, 2012, 06:14 AM
Quote
I like Wally -- more unique. It's true that it would be hard for some young children to say.

Might be good practice though! One of my books has a LOT of s's in it, and I've heard from parents who appreciated that to help with their children's language skills. 
Title: Re: MC name - Jack or Wally?
Post by: Susan on September 01, 2012, 06:53 AM
It's a non-rhyming PB so rhyme and meter are less important, though it does have a certain "sound" to it - both names work in that sense. I'm just trying to determine what kind of image each name evokes. Your comments are helping! (mlbrown - my nephew and 4 of my friends have boys named Jack, must be something in the water! It is a great name)

To me, Jack sounds sharp, clever, quick, incisive, and he's often the hero. To me the very sound of the name is like the sound of a match being struck. (Lots of associations with nursery rhymes and fairy tales, I guess.)

And the feel I get from Wally is rounder and slower, possibly wonderful--but not strikingly so. The sound reminds me of warmth, but also of rounder, meandering, or mushy things--like walruses and wallowing and swallowing and wandering.   
Title: Re: MC name - Jack or Wally?
Post by: KMT on September 01, 2012, 07:51 AM
Wally also brings to mind "Wall-E," which may or may not be a helpful association!
Title: Re: MC name - Jack or Wally?
Post by: mlbrown on September 01, 2012, 08:00 AM
Jack is also a kind of "Everyman" name (or everboy, in this instance.) "Every man Jack of them."

It is still a popular name. In our case the actual name is Jacob, but we call him Jack after his great-grandfather. So if you want less common, Wally would be the choice. Kids may associate that name with Wall-E the Disney robot, who is both innocent and heroic.

Just saw the above post, which I second.
Title: Re: MC name - Jack or Wally?
Post by: mrh on September 01, 2012, 12:26 PM
My first impression is that the names suggest very different people. I have trouble seeing these as two alternatives for the same person.

As far as freshness, I'd go with Wally. Jack gives me the impression as being overdone. Almost as if Jack is the new Billy -- the first name we reach for.
Title: Re: MC name - Jack or Wally?
Post by: crookedbook on September 01, 2012, 07:17 PM
I'm going with Wally - it suits the character better and I just like it more. Your comments and suggestions really helped. Thanks!
Title: Re: MC name - Jack or Wally?
Post by: Kurtis on September 01, 2012, 07:49 PM
Didn't read through the thread... my feeling is that there are lots of Jacks already, fewer Wallys. But pick whatever feels right.
Title: Re: MC name - Jack or Wally?
Post by: Wonky on September 02, 2012, 05:55 AM
Why Wally? That name sounds old to me.
Title: Re: MC name - Jack or Wally?
Post by: Mrs. Jones on September 02, 2012, 06:51 AM
I'm going with Wally - it suits the character better and I just like it more.

This is the bottom line. He's in YOUR head, and you know him best.

When an editor acquires the ms, you will get plenty of input about whether the name works, or not. So for now, just as you said, go with the one that suits the character. Plus you like it best.

Title: Re: MC name - Jack or Wally?
Post by: EmeraldGown on September 02, 2012, 10:36 AM
I vote for Wally only because it's far less common as an MC name.  You can make it popular again with your amazing book about a Wally.  :-)
Title: Re: MC name - Jack or Wally?
Post by: Ruth Donnelly on September 02, 2012, 11:57 AM
Jack is a very common MC name. But, as others have said, Wally evokes a completely different image. Are those your only two choices? Take a look at Nymbler.com, and plug in "Jack" and "Wally" as inspirations. Maybe you'll see something you love even more!
Title: Re: MC name - Jack or Wally?
Post by: crookedbook on September 02, 2012, 12:00 PM
That website is awesome - thank you RuthD!!!
Title: Re: MC name - Jack or Wally?
Post by: Lill on September 02, 2012, 06:33 PM
Too many Jacks. Go for Wally.
Title: Re: MC name - Jack or Wally?
Post by: AmyD on September 04, 2012, 09:37 AM
I agree that there are too many Jacks. To me, Wally stands out as more unique.
Title: Re: MC name - Jack or Wally?
Post by: AuntyBooks on September 04, 2012, 12:15 PM
I have a younger mg Wally series  coming out next year.... I clearly love the name!

:) eab
Title: Re: MC name - Jack or Wally?
Post by: Schriscoe on September 04, 2012, 03:47 PM
I agree too many Jacks...go with Wally. I like that name, it is different.
Title: Re: MC name - Jack or Wally?
Post by: CaroleB on September 04, 2012, 04:41 PM


      Bernard.
Title: Re: MC name - Jack or Wally?
Post by: Wonky on January 21, 2013, 06:50 PM

      Bernard.

This!
Title: Re: MC name - Jack or Wally?
Post by: AJSchumacher on January 22, 2013, 12:11 AM
I agree that there are too many Jacks. Most MC's named Jack are more heroic/men of action. Based solely on your original, albeit brief, description I'd choose Wally. I agree with Mrs. Jones though, the character is in your head so you will know what suites him best and feels right. I do not, however, agree that Wally sounds round/slow/pudgy/old because I consider Harry to be in a similar vein to Wally and we all know of a pretty popular book series where the young hero is named Harry...

Ultimately it will be the character that makes the name, not vice versa. Go with what feels right.
Title: Re: MC name - Jack or Wally?
Post by: Margaret G on January 24, 2013, 10:53 AM
I like Wally too. I feel like there's more room to define him. Jack seems like more of a "type" -- which I hate to say because that's my son's name!
Title: Re: MC name - Jack or Wally?
Post by: terri on January 24, 2013, 01:04 PM
Sometimes, I think about the year I think my character was born and choose a name from the most popular baby names for that year.
Title: Re: MC name - Jack or Wally?
Post by: davidbrown on January 31, 2013, 02:12 PM
Wally says fun. Jack says action. IMHO.