Ask any author. Naming characters is a solemn task. Some of us agonize for hours. Days. Consider and cast away dozens of names till we are satisfied.
Sometimes the name drops from the sky and flutters down onto the shoulders of our protagonist or antagonist or bit player and it is JUST RIGHT.
So when an ex-punk rocker showed up in the book I’m writing, I needed a name that would suit his pierced, tattooed, working class Brit persona. It came to me out of the blue.
The more I wrote about my Archie the more I liked him. His name buried itself into his psyche and mine and now whenever I write—or rewrite—a scene with this particular character, he is the personification of all things Archie. The name has shaped the man.
Well, too bad. I’m going to have to perform major surgery and remove “Archie” from Archie and give him a new name. It is all the fault of a 7 pound infant born in England.
I blame his parents. Prince Harry and Meghan, in spite of hundreds and hundreds of names available, chose my punk-rocker’s name and that has changed everything.
Don’t try to convince me to keep the name. I have my pride. Even though my Archie was named before the couple even got married, anyone reading the book (if it gets published. Please let it get published) will be reading it AFTER the world has fawned all over that other Archie. And will assume I got my name from little Mr. Popularity.
Am I bitter? You betcha. This has happened to me before. In my first book, my wonderful hero was originally named Tubal. After Tubal in the Bible. My publisher thought it was after tubal—a woman’s surgical procedure. (Note: my Tubal’s Biblical namesake was around thousands of years before the first woman had her tubes tied.)
I could see her point, though, and after agonizing and searching Scripture I came up with “Ezra.” But he will always remain Tubal in my heart.
So anyway. My Archie needs a new name. A great sort of Cockney or maybe Scots working-class kind of name. It has to be just right for him. He isn’t any happier than I am about this and we are both trying not to hold it against that newborn living in Frogmore Cottage across the pond. We assume him to be unaware that he just stripped my Archie of his name. Nay. His whole identity. Nothing suits my Archie as well as Archie.
So blessings to Baby Archie and his royal family. Maybe I will get literary vengeance if, when he hits 16, he wants to look like MY Archie.
Top Image by Mihai Surdu from Pixabay