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I have noticed at least a small trend that I find somewhat strange, and wondered if anyone had an opinion about it.

I've seen recently where authors, writing fiction, use their own name as that of the lead character, sometimes going so far as to use both the given and the surname.

I find this markedly unusual. What do others think?


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I've seen recently where authors, writing fiction, use their own name as that of the lead character, sometimes going so far as to use both the given and the surname.

No, I haven't seen that at all. In fact, I've actually leaned against using my own name or even those of people close to me, because it sets off too many mental alerts.

I did just use my Grandfather's name (Lem) in my current novel, but only as a side character. Plus, it's a great old name and works for an 1864 story.

My lead character's name was that of my best friend from early childhood (1st through 4th grade), so that's a little bit of a nod to the past as well.

I'd only use my real name if it was 100% autobiographical. No other reason to do it. So far, my life hasn't been quite eventful enough to warrant that kind of a story (yet). It's long stretches of boredom, occasionally interrupted by hysterical excitement to the point of nervous breakdowns.

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I have a real problem trying to come up with names for characters, but I would only use my own if it was autobiographical or there was some plot reason for my name, like, say, I wanted to use that Beatle song (as relevant to the story) that begins with "Desmond has a barrow in the market place, Obladee, oblada, Obama...Life goes on." :sad:

The British film star Norman Wisdom usually played a character named Norman in his movies which he also wrote.

Personally I found that tacky and obvious.

I have noticed that like new parents, there is a tendency for authors to fall in line with fashion and use names that are considered sexy for the heroes. viz., Ricky, Jason, etc., One of the things I have seen a couple of times is the name of a famous person used unknowingly by an author.

My present dilemma is trying to find an Aboriginal name that will not upset any indigenous person who reads my story. One has to be so careful in these matters.

Overall I try to fit a name to a basic character type, but again that may only be a personal association, that is at best merely justified in my own mind for the story. I would avoid the use of Adolf for a loving lead character, or a villain (too obvious) as far as possible. In real life if I met someone called Adolf, however, I would not let that name prejudge my opinion of the person.

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Well... if you are doing first person autobiographical then you sorta have to.

Naming characters in fiction is a huge can of worms. Some authors go to great pains to get names with symboolic meanins, traditional meanings, yada, yada and of course yada.

It's all pretty useless if your user doesn't know or care about that stuff.

I think its best to stick with real names that real people might have or nick-names that real people or real situations might engender.

Fancy names, long names or names that are usually subbed (eg. Mike for Michael) are a pain. They don't elevate your writing and usually just seem pretentious.

A body-builder named Tiny or Seb beats having to write out Sebastian 600 times.

OH and for gods sake- if you name someone Sasha, make them Russian or a dog.

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I admit that I have a lot of trouble coming up with names for characters in my stories. My usual rule is never to use the name of any real person who bears any similarity to the character, but I know I've fallen down on that quite a lot - and I've even used my own name. I regret that now - bad idea - but it's too late, the story's out there!

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That's kind of weird, unless you're writing first-person autobiographical, like James said, or doing some kind of meta-fiction thing where you're blurring the lines between fiction and reality.

I recall Steven King making some appearances in Steven King's Dark Tower series and interacting with some of his own characters, leading the character Steven King to start believing that he was some kind of god.

Claudio Sanchez, author of The Amory Wars, has stated several times that he seriously regrets naming his main character Claudio. Of course, he also did some meta-fiction stuff, in which he wrote about both Claudio The Writer and Claudio The Character, and how the negative experiences of The Writer in the real (fictional) world affected the way he wrote about the fictional fictional world of The Character. So he kind of wrote himself into the story twice.

Those are the only examples I can think of, and they both worked for me.

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Surely it depends on how common your name is? For instance: if you are a John Smith, then there are a lot of them and it probably doesn't matter. But if you were a Trumpington Ogilvie Farquar II, then you might be in trouble.

Personally, I like odd names and story titles.

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