Will my MC's name kill my chances?

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Will my MC's name kill my chances?

Postby shadow » 30 Mar 2010, 15:27

I know there already is a post about names, but my very devoted beta keeps on telling me that his name is horrible! So I decided to ask your guys's opinion. I had critiquers that liked his name though so please be very honest! Firstly I have to say that this is a fantasy YA novel if you don't already know, and if you haven't read my query. Also his name is the ONLY name in the book that is a bit more fantastical so please tell me guys if having this name for him would kill my manuscript. I am not saying you guys have to love his name, but would it get me rejected? would it stop you from reading?? His name by the way is...

dum dum dum...

Vitiosus. I actually asked Nathan about it and he said it's ok but Nathan isn't picky as an agent which I like. Other names that I have are something like this... and I don't think they are very diffiocult compared to other fantasy novels..

Gabriel, Tiya, Caleb, Luke, Borin, Annata, pretty much... I am looking forward to what you guys think and I am crossing my fingers because I really want to keep his name! :)
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Re: Will my MC's name kill my chances?

Postby charlotte49ers » 30 Mar 2010, 15:35

Personally, I'm not a fan. If I have to stumble over a name just to pronounce it, it doesn't make me happy. The others, I like. Gabriel is a beautiful name and would still be fitting for fantasy, I'd think. Unless we're talking high fantasy because I think you can get away with more in that arena (and my opinion wouldn't matter then because I don't read high fantasy). :)
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Re: Will my MC's name kill my chances?

Postby polymath » 30 Mar 2010, 15:59

I like "Vitiosus." It's fresh and vigorous. "Vit" perhaps from Latin vita or vitae meaning life. The "us" masculine suffix from Greek. On a first sight pronounceability scale from zero to ten, I'd give it a four. The issues I see are limited familiarity with the word roots in common English usage and two possible pronounciations of the Vit-ios or Vi-tios syllables. A hard T or a soft T "sh" sound as in the second T in portentious? Vit-ios-us or Vi-shio-sus (viciosus)?
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Re: Will my MC's name kill my chances?

Postby wilderness » 30 Mar 2010, 17:40

It's not the easiest to say. Does he have a nickname? I don't think it will kill your chances though -- if the story a good, your agent or editor could simply recommend a name change if that bothers them.
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Re: Will my MC's name kill my chances?

Postby E McD » 30 Mar 2010, 17:49

Just a personal opinion, but I don't like reading difficult or long names - they're like hiccups or something. BUT, I can't see how that could get you rejected! Hermione or Renesme anyone?
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Re: Will my MC's name kill my chances?

Postby JustineDell » 30 Mar 2010, 18:42

I won't lie to you Shadow, when I first read your query I didn't much care for it. Mainly, I think it's difficult for young readers to pronounce. Heck, when I say it outloud, I don't know if I'm saying it right. I get that it's fantasy and the names can be way out there, and if you love it - keep it. I highly doubt that a name with kill your chances. The agent or publisher could always tell you to change it, right?

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Re: Will my MC's name kill my chances?

Postby kristi » 30 Mar 2010, 19:41

I don't think the name would kill your chances -- but I'd change it anyway. I think the name should flow, even if it's a fantastical name. Your other possible names that you listed do have flow and I didn't trip over them when saying them. If you're super attached to the name, you could use that name the first time and then move to a nickname that's easy -- like Vit or Viti (although Viti makes me think of a fantasy mafia guy)! Anyway, just one opinion. Best of luck! :)
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Re: Will my MC's name kill my chances?

Postby Quill » 30 Mar 2010, 19:44

Vitiosus sounds slightly like a disease. Perhaps one affecting grapevines. I don't know why.

It also sounds quite Roman.

Then again, I don't read much full-on fantasy, maybe it's a normal name in that genre.

What if you shortened it? Vitus might be more vital. If that's what you are going for. Or Vitio.
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Re: Will my MC's name kill my chances?

Postby kristi » 30 Mar 2010, 19:54

Also, I forgot to mention that I LOVE the name Caleb. Granted I'm a little partial because it's my son's name but it is a great name. :)
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Re: Will my MC's name kill my chances?

Postby GeeGee55 » 30 Mar 2010, 21:41

I stumbled over it when I first read it, and anything that causes a reader to pause rather than continue to be entranced by the story just isn't the best idea. Perhaps some of the suggestions above might work. That said, I called my MC Gus, not a very pretty name, but not one to give you pause either.
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Re: Will my MC's name kill my chances?

Postby mojo25 » 31 Mar 2010, 07:08

I'd have to agree with the others. The name doesn't really appeal to me. It sounds a little like a skin condition. I've had to change my MCs names--I know how one gets attached to them, but you may want to consider another name.
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Re: Will my MC's name kill my chances?

Postby gonzo2802 » 31 Mar 2010, 07:55

I don't want to pile on, but if we're being honest ... it isn't a name I'm crazy about.

Even something like Vitios has a better ring to it, IMO. There is something about the 'sus' at the end that trips up my brain when I read the name.
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Re: Will my MC's name kill my chances?

Postby mrpluckey » 31 Mar 2010, 08:04

Not to steal your thunder here, Shadow, but now you have me thinking. Seeing all these replies I'm starting to get worried. Do names affect whether or not you read a book? I have characters from all over the world and I wanted to stay true to their cultures. I have names like Bryshen, Daiyu, Vadoma, Adala, etc. Agents and querying aside, would seeing those names make you stop reading a book?
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Re: Will my MC's name kill my chances?

Postby shadow » 31 Mar 2010, 09:02

Firstly thank you all for your replies.
@ mrplucky - For me personally it wouldn't.

Asides from that let me explain how his name originated. He was the prince of the I will just call it 'Evil' land for now and he was very 'evil' and the very bad antagonist so I wanted something very villainy and evil sounding. I don't know but Vitiosus somehow emmitts power and coldness to me. Anyway my original main character Fidencio turned out an idiot! I mean a literal idiot lol so I fell in love with Vitiosus. He had that mestyrious coolness about him that made me like him and of course the way I wrote he looks :) So I decided to rewrite the novel with him at the lead. Of course the Evilness is gone since he is the MC but now its sort about him discovering his better side with humans and his true pasts etc. Anyway I wanted his name to still match his outlook. Like for example Gabriel is a wavy blonde haired dude with deep blue eyes and a heavy set jaw. Like it works for me it has that warm vibe you know? But Vitiosus he is pale with light grey eyes and longish black hair, tall and more on the skinier side yet strong, well he is a warrior, but names like Leonard which I sort of like or like Ricardo whatnot don't really match him, don't you think? My beta actually suggested Tarek which I thought was ok but not for him because it sounds like some kind of viking! I am so lost here. Any suggestions?? At least for now I will probably finish polishing my query and will send off like 10 experimentaly...Though if you guys have any suggestions for me I am definetly willing to consider. Sorry for the long post btw. LOL at least Poly math didn't hat it and Justine didn't stumble on it, thats not a bad start! JK
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Re: Will my MC's name kill my chances?

Postby polymath » 31 Mar 2010, 10:07

Sight recognition is the issue I see with "Vitiosus." How to defuse its awkward novelty is the question I see. An answer I see is to pose him in an opening scene interacting with someone else struggling with pronouncing his name, and from his pronouncing it properly, it will readily become second nature to readers.

There's a subtle potential for resonance in that answer. People struggle with pronouncing my sur name. I'd have an instant affinity with Vitiosus due to his name's difficult pronounciation and potential rapport from his emotional responses to others' struggles with it. It would also pose an opportunity to develop his personality in some small way. Nobly tolerant, impatient, frustrated?
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