Sunday, November 28, 2010

What's In a Name?

I have a tendency to use the same names for more than one character. I thought I only did this with minor characters, but I don't. I know this because I went through all my stories and counted them up. I didn't include all my short stories, so the numbers are off slightly, but the results show me something:
I use the same names WAY too often!

Common names like James, Michael, Robert and William aren't too surprising. However, names like Burwood, Derrick, Dexter and Jasper were unexpected. I also found that I reuse men's names more than women's – though I still use things like Amanda, Bonnie, Cindy and Tammy way more than is necessary.

I don't know if this will make any difference to the way that I name my characters in the future, but I hope that I will be more aware of variety.

I know this is probably more information than you care to know, but I spent a lot of time going through character lists, so I'm going to share.

Top 10 Names for Men
Robert/ Bob/ Bobby 19
Henry/ Hank/ Hal 16
William/ Will/ Bill/ Billy 15
Michael/ Mick/ Micky/ Mike 15
Peter/ Pete 11
Samuel/ Sam 10
James/ Jim/ Jimmy 10
Edward/ Ed 9
Frank 9 (the name Frank Lord used twice and both are lawyers)
Toby/ Tobias 9

Top 10 Names for Women
Mary/ Marie/ Maria 13
Cynthia/ Cindy 10
Tamara/ Tammy 8
Martha 7
Angela/ Angie 7
Bonnie 6
Margaret/ Maggie 6
Amanda 6
Andi/ Andrea 6
Barbara 5

Ten Most Unexpected Repeats
Burwood 2
Cadence 2
Crux 2
Deacon 2
Honoria 2
Ianna 2
Magda 3
Orchid 2
Shelby 2
Teague 2

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