When you read a novel, do you ever wonder how the author came up with the names of various characters? I'll confess that for my earlier books I chose names at random, sometimes even making use of the names of friends and acquaintances. But the further I went with writing, the more attention I paid to name choices.
I'm re-reading a book by the late Donald Westlake, one of the most talented writers of the past fifty years, and he chose a name for one of the characters that's absolutely driving me nuts! The man is a gang boss/farmer named Agricola. When I looked at it, I thought, "Agri-COLA. Interesting." But about thirty pages in, we're told the pronunciation is "a-GRICK-oh-la." From that point on, I fought with myself over how to pronounce the name--the way I'd imagined or the way Westlake showed. I'll let you guess what I ended up doing.
How about you? Does the name of a character matter? Do they conjure up images? What's your take on character names?
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