Name Auctioning

This from Salon:

"Next month, Stephen King, Amy Tan, Lemony Snicket, Nora Roberts, Michael Chabon and 11 other best-selling writers will auction the right to name characters in their new novels. The profits will go to the First Amendment Project, whose lawyers have repeatedly gone to court to protect the free speech rights of activists, writers and artists.

'It feels a little scary for most writers because when you're writing, you're completely in charge -- you can say this book is all mine, it's my world,' said Chabon. 'Whether giving over some of that has any monetary value or not, we'll see.'

But bidders beware -- most of the authors are clearly retaining creative control to use the names as they see fit."

I don't really have an opinion on this. I guess it's a good cause. It got me thinking, though, about the best/most ridiculous/most inexplicable names for characters. My favorite has to be the protagonist from Tender is the Night. Indeed, I remember reading a heavily annotated edition that wondered if Fitzgerald realized Dick Diver was common parlance for fellatio at that time. Other favorites?


Jane said...

I'm currently re-reading "Rabbit, Run," and am impressed by the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle, but nevertheless unintrustive) symbolism of them:

Harry "Rabbit" Angstrom (our angst-strung protagonist)

Janice Springer (Spring suggesting both birth and, maybe, a trap)

Ruth (the other woman)-- the bible's most loyal and dutiful wife

Mt. Judge -- the name of the town; might as well be called "God"

Brewer -- nearby city of sin, where Ruth lives. Beer!

Reverend Eccles -- not so sure about this one; ecclesiastic? A tendency to heckle? Not really...Still a good name, though. Evokes his youthful, jumpy energy.

Of course, when your own name is Updike, how can you go wrong?

Pete said...

I change the names of characters on a whim. It's pretty easy to do that in Word.

(Kevin, on the other hand, just named his main character after me and stuck with it.)

The temptation in this scenario would be to name all the characters "Dick Cheney." Or, "Fuckface."

bihari said...

If you're writing under the name Lemony Snicket, where do you go from there with character names?

SER said...

Incidentally, Lemony Snicket apparently began as a joke among the author and his friends - they'd always give it as the name on restaurant reservations and so forth. Perhaps I will start reserving under "Baby Ropegoat." Or not.