I Need Help Naming Secondary Characters
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.
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.
“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.
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.