My reflections on Pride and Prejudice and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries will continue later in the week, but as it’s Wednesday, it’s time once again to focus on a less classic work of literature: my current work-in-progress. Although, apropros of this week’s topic, I wonder how different P&P might have been if Austen had chosen a name other than “Mr. Darcy” for the hero of her romance? Is the name “Fitzwilliam Darcy” inherently sexy, or has it become that way only because of two centuries of connotation? It’s hard to know at this distance, but I find as a writer some names are far more attractive than others, and if a character isn’t working for me, changing his or her name may be the easiest way to think about the character differently. As I explain in the video above, it certainly worked (unintentionally, in that case) for Jacob John in That Forgetful Shore. Now I’m trying to harness the power of name changes intentionally in the new novel.
What do you think? How much difference do character names make to writers? To readers?