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MC name - Jack or Wally?

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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!
#1 - August 31, 2012, 02:00 PM
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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.  :)
#2 - August 31, 2012, 02:09 PM

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I love Wally!
#3 - August 31, 2012, 02:34 PM
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I think Leave it to Beaver with Wally. Which isn't bad.

I like them both.
#4 - August 31, 2012, 03:18 PM
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Jack seems more plucky and relatable...Wally might be a touch dorky, or pudgy. Also, Jack sounds more contemporary. My 2 cents.  :)
#5 - August 31, 2012, 03:45 PM
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Wally will be harder for most kids to pronounce.
#6 - August 31, 2012, 04:37 PM
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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:
#7 - August 31, 2012, 06:42 PM
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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.
#8 - August 31, 2012, 07:57 PM
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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. :)
#9 - August 31, 2012, 09:56 PM

Jack wins my vote, but then, my youngest son is Jack, so I may be prejudiced. :)
#10 - August 31, 2012, 10:54 PM

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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)
#11 - September 01, 2012, 04:11 AM
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I like Wally -- more unique. It's true that it would be hard for some young children to say.
#12 - September 01, 2012, 04:53 AM
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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. 
#13 - September 01, 2012, 06:14 AM

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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.   
#14 - September 01, 2012, 06:53 AM

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Wally also brings to mind "Wall-E," which may or may not be a helpful association!
#15 - September 01, 2012, 07:51 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.
#16 - September 01, 2012, 08:00 AM

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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.
#17 - September 01, 2012, 12:26 PM
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I'm going with Wally - it suits the character better and I just like it more. Your comments and suggestions really helped. Thanks!
#18 - September 01, 2012, 07:17 PM
MIND YOUR MONSTERS (Sterling, 2015)
HYPNOSIS HARRY (Sky Pony, 2016)
LUCY LOVES SHERMAN (Sky Pony, 2017)

Didn't read through the thread... my feeling is that there are lots of Jacks already, fewer Wallys. But pick whatever feels right.
#19 - September 01, 2012, 07:49 PM

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Why Wally? That name sounds old to me.
#20 - September 02, 2012, 05:55 AM

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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.

#21 - September 02, 2012, 06:51 AM
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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.  :-)
#22 - September 02, 2012, 10:36 AM
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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!
#23 - September 02, 2012, 11:57 AM

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That website is awesome - thank you RuthD!!!
#24 - September 02, 2012, 12:00 PM
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Too many Jacks. Go for Wally.
#25 - September 02, 2012, 06:33 PM
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I agree that there are too many Jacks. To me, Wally stands out as more unique.
#26 - September 04, 2012, 09:37 AM
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I have a younger mg Wally series  coming out next year.... I clearly love the name!

:) eab
#27 - September 04, 2012, 12:15 PM

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I agree too many Jacks...go with Wally. I like that name, it is different.
#28 - September 04, 2012, 03:47 PM
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      Bernard.
#29 - September 04, 2012, 04:41 PM


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