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I Need Help Naming Secondary Characters

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Because the names I’m coming up with are names I’ve already used (or names of real people coming forth from my subconscious), I’m turning to you, my readers, to help me name a couple of secondary characters in the second Great Exhibition book, An Honest Heart.

The two I need help with are the closest (and maybe only) friends of my male antagonist, the honorable Mr. Oliver Carmichael, son and heir of Baron Carmichael of Chawley Abbey.

Here’s Oliver:

Oliver Carmichael has always drawn the eye of all the girls with no exertion on his part—all the girls, that is, except seamstress Caddy Bainbridge. So, even though he has plans to marry Edith Buchanan, he places a bet with his friends that he can make Caddy fall in love with him before the opening day of the Great Exhibition.

Now, here’s an excerpt from the scene I wrote the other day in which he makes that bet:

      Name1 waved him over to the table. “Join us. Name2 has no heart for cards today, which means I have not been able to take the entirety of his allowance yet. Perhaps I can take half of yours as well, and that will make up for it.”

      Oliver turned one of the two empty chairs at the small round table to the side and sat. He slid down into a posture of repose and stretched his legs in front of him, crossing them at the ankle. “I have no heart for cards myself.”

      “I know why Name2 is dejected. His father informed him today he has come to terms with the daughter of Dr. _____ of Christ College and they will marry in London in May. If you have nothing to compare to that tragedy, then ante up.” Name1 began shuffling the cards.

      Oliver launched into his tale of woe about how Caddy Bainbridge snubbed him and practically ordered him from her shop.

      “She should have realized the honor of my presence there. M’lady wanted to send a servant with the message, but as I was already coming into Oxford, I volunteered to carry it for her. How could that . . . that . . . peasant treat me thusly?”

      Name1 and Name2 had the audacity to laugh. “Alas, poor Carmichael. Snubbed by the seamstress.”

      “Is she pretty?” Name2 asked.

      “Prettier than Dr. _____’s daughter.”

      “You are close to closing the deal with Miss Buchanan, are you not?” Name1 started dealing cards.

      Oliver nodded.

      “Then why worry about some no-name tradeswoman from North Parade and whether or not she falls at your feet? You have your choice of women now—though Miss Buchanan’s fifty thousand pounds would be tempting even if she were not a beautiful specimen of womanhood.”

      “I could make Cadence Bainbridge fall at my feet, as you put it.” Oliver pressed his palms to the arms of the chair and pushed himself upright.

      Name2 nodded slowly. “You could try. Make her realize what an insult she paid you—by wooing her, then walking away.”

      Name1 seemed to forget the cards. He leaned forward. “And I say you cannot. Women like her are not easily charmed. Filled with ice and iron, they are, those confirmed spinsters.”

      Oliver weighed the ideas of his two friends. “I’ll place money on it. Fifty pounds says I can make Cadence Bainbridge fall in love with me before . . .” When? How quickly could he work his magic on her? “By the day the Great Exhibition opens—May 1.”

      “Make it one hundred, and you have yourself a wager.” Name1 extended his right hand across the table.

      Oliver considered a moment, then took his friend’s hand. “One hundred pounds says I can make Miss Cadence Bainbridge fall desperately and completely in love with me.”

As you can see, it’s still pretty rough. But that’s because I plan to fix a bunch of stuff in edits. Obviously, I didn’t want to stop when writing and come up with names for the two friends. But now I’ve cast them, so I need names.

Here’s Name1 (template: Torrance Coombs)

And here’s Name2 (template: Max Brown)

I need old-fashioned, high-brow names for these two which will mark them as wealthy aristocrats in 1850s England.

Books are up for grabs here—whoever has the “winning” name for each character will receive a signed copy of An Honest Heart when it releases next year.

37 Comments
  1. Saturday, July 21, 2012 6:29 pm

    I think you need a Willoughby in there, friends could call him Will :) Maybe Name 1? Then Name 2…..Trenton? Quentin? Bartholomew? I’m partial to Quentin, it’s a great name you don’t hear much anymore :) I’m so excited to read this!!

    • Amber permalink
      Saturday, July 21, 2012 6:34 pm

      I like Willoughby! And bartholomew. You came up with good names! :)

  2. Amber permalink
    Saturday, July 21, 2012 6:32 pm

    I like these names:
    Cristof
    Sebastian
    Maxwell
    Charles
    William

    • Saturday, July 21, 2012 6:50 pm

      Ooh, I like all of these but especially Cristof! Sounds like a great name to have as a secondary who gets his own book in the future…

  3. Saturday, July 21, 2012 6:35 pm

    Keeping close to their own names:
    Name 1 – Terrence Blakeney
    Name 2 – Maximilian (or Maxwell) Gray

  4. Saturday, July 21, 2012 6:40 pm

    I can’t remember all of your other characters off the top of my head. Scared I’ll duplicate. I’m currently using a Jonah, so that’s stuck in my head. Have you thought about biblical names? Isaac? #2 looks like an Isaac to me.

  5. Tracey Diane Smith permalink
    Saturday, July 21, 2012 6:44 pm

    Kaye I have had 5 brothers + here’s a string of names for you: Adrian Craig, Mark Alfred, Brett John, John Alfred, Jonnathan Blayne, Gareth Joel, Luke Gabriel, Nigel Andrew, Frank, Ricky, Robin Pat, Liam, Brendon.
    For Girls: Eunice Pearl, Marah Leigh, Penny Anne- Marie, Margo, Margaret, Scarlet Skye, Rose, Linda,Jackie, Cindy, Veronica, Karin, Natasha, Jamie-Leigh
    Well, all of the above are family + close friends I hope I at least sparked an idea for you!

  6. Saturday, July 21, 2012 6:45 pm

    The first names that came to mind were Sebastien and Sylvester.

    • Amber permalink
      Saturday, July 21, 2012 6:56 pm

      I said Sebastian :)

      • Saturday, July 21, 2012 7:31 pm

        I know Sebastian with an “an” is the more common spelling, but when I read this post in my Google Reader the “en” spelling seemed slightly more lothario-like and devil-may-care…so I stuck in my alternate spelling too. :)

  7. Saturday, July 21, 2012 7:05 pm

    How about Albert Hensley, and Cornelius Langworthy,
    my first thought was Horatio and Percival but both are after 2 of my favourite shows of the time (Hornblower and The scarlet Pimpernel)

  8. Tamara Eriksen permalink
    Saturday, July 21, 2012 7:18 pm

    Braden Attwood
    Darby Carlisle

  9. Saturday, July 21, 2012 7:22 pm

    So a very quick internet search revealed the following as popular names of boys born in London in 1825: James, Henry, Thomas, Charles, Edward, George. Although I also like a couple of others mentioned above: Gabriel, Nigel, and Liam.

    • Saturday, July 21, 2012 7:25 pm

      And herein lies my problem . . . I’ve already used all of those popular names in my other books!

      • Sunday, July 22, 2012 6:09 pm

        That’s kind of what I thought. How bout Lance, Marcus, Lawrence, Gawain, Aurthur, Phillip.

  10. Saturday, July 21, 2012 7:31 pm

    William Chatsworth; Henry Devonshire; George Spencer; James Burton

  11. Saturday, July 21, 2012 7:37 pm

    Reginald comes to mind for one.

  12. janella permalink
    Saturday, July 21, 2012 7:46 pm

    Here are a few names I thought of. They are Wesley, Trent, Nathan and Clayton.

    Looking foward to reading this book!

  13. Saturday, July 21, 2012 7:53 pm

    I like these (first & last names)

    Brennan Calvert
    Byron Cromwell
    Clayton Harcourt
    Kenneth Hargreave
    Emmett Winchester
    Esmond Tennyson

  14. Saturday, July 21, 2012 8:46 pm

    I like these names:

    Henry Robert
    Spencer Charles

  15. Saturday, July 21, 2012 8:47 pm

    John Robert

    I just saw your note that you have already used Henry.

  16. Saturday, July 21, 2012 9:01 pm

    Frederick Carmichael
    Alexander Bowers-Wright

    The English used to have quite strict rules about how and when a surname could be hyphenated, so I think using one adds the suggestion of upper class.

  17. Laurie permalink
    Saturday, July 21, 2012 9:13 pm

    Walter Addington
    Uriah Cantrell
    George Bashford
    Rodney Stafford

  18. Joanna permalink
    Saturday, July 21, 2012 10:06 pm

    While researching Victorian England in censuses and such, I came across two names I personally can’t possibly use in my own tale of woe: Viscount Montague Crackenthorpe (inexplicably known to friends as “Gobby”) and Lord Roderick Lonsdale.

    • Saturday, July 21, 2012 10:25 pm

      Ooh! I can practically hear the toffee dripping from those names! :)

  19. Saturday, July 21, 2012 10:24 pm

    Jackson Elliot for Name 1, and Edward Doncroft for Name 2. :) All the best, and may the best name win!

  20. Sunday, July 22, 2012 10:25 am

    Weston, Clarence, Jefferson, Sanderson, Grahm, Grayson

  21. Sunday, July 22, 2012 10:26 am

    Lionel, Phillip (Call him Lipp), Gregory, Graham, Cornwell (Call him Corney), Walter, Wilson, Carlton, Thornton, Howell, Powell, Jackson

  22. Sunday, July 22, 2012 10:29 am

    #1 Charles percival hampton

    #2 Robert isariah wallingford

  23. Monday, July 23, 2012 11:33 am

    OK, the first guy just popped the name “Johnathan Cort”. I’ve got nothing for the other guy. :)

  24. Monday, July 23, 2012 12:19 pm

    Here are my suggestions:

    ~ Richard Blackburn or Richard Langley

    ~ Edmund Prestwich or Edmund Radclyffe

    or switch names around. :)

  25. Sylvia M. permalink
    Monday, July 23, 2012 12:22 pm

    Lewis Sandridge-Spencer, Esq.

    Lord Hugh Algernon (second son of a duke)

    Arthur Russell, Esq.

    Lord Francis Cavendish

  26. Misty permalink
    Monday, July 23, 2012 4:58 pm

    #1 Jasper Augustine Pinkney
    #2 Hamilton Guy Caswell

  27. Sylvia M. permalink
    Monday, July 23, 2012 6:44 pm

    Basil Clithering
    Lord Ralph Fortescue

  28. Tuesday, July 24, 2012 1:29 am

    Going by looks, #1 is Philip and #2 Stephen.

    Dunno if these work for last names, but Acklman and Burns (A and B ;) Though I like Langley, that someone offered already, because that’s a family name.

    Of course, the name Burns after any New Testament martyr (as pretty much all the named disciples were, well, I guess you could use that somehow)…

  29. Tuesday, July 24, 2012 10:22 am

    Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. I’ll announce the “winning” names on Friday!

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