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Alliterative character names?

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Hi all! I've read that it's best to avoid alliterative character names (such as Roland the rabbit) in PBs - is this the consensus? I've tried out non-alliterative monikers for my protagonist but they just don't seem to work as well.
 :sigh Would love to know everyone's thoughts.



 
#1 - August 17, 2014, 08:33 AM

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Yes, that usage is somewhat clich├ęd and editors may frown on it.  :uhuh
#2 - August 17, 2014, 09:17 AM
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If there's no real reason for it -- why wouldn't a rabbit be named Orville or Carlos? -- then avoid. Or avoid as a pattern. Roland the rabbit isn't egregious if you have Mirielle the hedgehog and Pippa the sandhill crane.
#3 - August 17, 2014, 09:30 AM
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Agree with Barb and Kell. But, if there is a good reason for it, it can be effective. Like if it's part of the concept, as in Melanie Watt's Scaredy Squirrel.



#4 - August 17, 2014, 10:46 AM
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Thanks, all. The character is a snail who is currently named Sidney. It is a rhyming PB so the name has to be two syllables, and has to also have a snappy one-syllable nickname - in this case, Sid - to work with the meter.


My alternative name was Wesley (nn Wes) but the person who critiqued my MS thought Sidney was more fun/younger. I tend to agree but am anxious about the alliterative element of Sidney the snail...
#5 - August 17, 2014, 12:09 PM

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But is his name Sidney, or is it Sidney The Snail, or Sidney Snail? If it's just Sidney, I think it's ok. And there are always exceptions. If it's what seems to work best, then go for it. If you think it might come across as one of those times an alliterative animal name should be avoided, then trying to find an alternative couldn't hurt. People here are great for suggestions that fit criteria like two syllable name with an obvious one syllable nickname.
#6 - August 17, 2014, 12:49 PM
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Have you chosen a name? I have a couple that could work:
Alan (Al)
Gilbert (Gil)
Lexi (Lex)
Katelyn (Kate)

I think Sidney is a cute name, but there are other names that can work if you want to avoid alliteration. Naming characters is my favorite part of writing, not gonna lie!
-Linnea
#7 - August 17, 2014, 01:55 PM

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He's only referred to as Sidney the snail on one occasion, throughout the MS he's just Sidney or Sid. The name is quite playful which suits his personality, I think. I don't want to turn editors off before they've even read the first stanza if alliteration is a total no-no, though.

Linnea-Garcia, thank you for those suggestions! They're all great!

Would love any other name ideas, and/or opinions on Sidney vs Wesley vs ??? for an adventurous, sweet but slightly  cocky male mollusk! He started life as Willie (nn Will) and after countless revisions, I'm not even sure why it changed!

Thanking you all in advance.
#8 - August 17, 2014, 06:04 PM
« Last Edit: August 17, 2014, 06:14 PM by Bedazzled »

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I've read several articles that alliterative names should be avoided.

While I know how much fun it is to name our characters, have you thought about just naming him "Rabbit" or perhaps you could give him a name that fits his personality?

Food for thought.
#9 - August 21, 2014, 08:18 AM

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Sometimes it's kind of like naming a baby - you have to see him or her first! Try drawing an illustration of him according to what you think he looks like. The perfect name just might come to you!     :snail
#10 - August 21, 2014, 01:54 PM
Creative blessings to you ~

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Off the top of my head:

Whitby
Whidbey
Digby
Rigby
Ashby
Bosley
Dewdney
Trilby
Tinley
Tilley
Tilney
Shelby (probably skating the line here)
Haney
Mosley
Antony (some people may pronounce this with three syllables)
Gibney
Hildey
Healey
Bixby

Hope that helps!

Rue
#11 - August 21, 2014, 03:40 PM
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I love ruecole's "Dewdney." Or Dewey. To me, they cleverly suggest the moisture so dear to a snail.


Good question, too. I'm forever grappling with names.....


 :snail




#12 - August 21, 2014, 08:00 PM

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Thank you, all! Your posts are so very helpful!  :thanx:
#13 - August 23, 2014, 11:43 PM

What might be an interesting way of getting around the alliteration names is have the real name an actual alliteration but have the character go by a non-alliterative nickname.

For example
-Robert the Rabbit --> Bobby the Rabbit
-Jeremy the Jaguar --> Remy the Jaguar
-Elizabeth the Elephant --> Beth the Elephant
#14 - September 02, 2014, 03:16 AM

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