I know no less than 5 Scotts. Not people of Scottish descent, men called Scott. I have two good friends called Kirsty, 3 Georgies and an Ela and an Ella. I could probably go on, but hopefully by now you are collecting your own groups of names of friends. You see my point.

Yet that never works in a novel. The cold, hard reality that we don’t actually see the characters with our eyes, and we don’t want to be reading “raven-haired Bruce” did this, “Bruce with the black hair” did that, and “Bruce, with his dark looks…” every time we need to read about the Bruce with the dark hair as compared to Bruce with the blond hair.

I can definitely see the practicalities of that, and I can see why authors avoid it, but now I feel like the gauntlet is thrown down. I’m going to put two people with the same first name into my next story, just to see if I can get away with it.

Which brings me to another name thing I’ve noticed, with the exception of Paul Haines (who used this to great effect), you never see characters with the same first name as the author. I don’t think I could ever put a Natalie into my books, even if I was writing under a pseudonym, it would just be too weird. As a reader, you can’t help but wonder if the writer has the same traits as their name-sake (which Paul Haines loved to play with, creeping out the more delicate of us in the crit group).

Thinking about it now, it would feel like I was doing a little cameo in the book, like Clive Cussler likes to do. But to have a completely unrelated-to-me character called Natalie, I don’t know if I could do it. I guess the gauntlet is down on that one too. Now I have a pair. I’ll try to inject a Natalie into my next story without making her a) me, b) fantasy me, or c) the exact opposite of me. In fact, I’ll try to make her no relation to me at all.

I’ll let you know how I get on. In the meantime these gauntlets might come in handy for some gardening…