Taboo Names

My theme for July is names, how to create characters and place names in your writing. My prompts will be more prompts for discussion rather than for a story, starting off with taboo names.

What are taboo names? These are names that are so closely associated with a person, fictional or real, that it’s difficult or even impossible to reuse the name for a character.

Sherlock Holmes has had the lock on his first name for over a hundred years. The same goes for Ebenezer Scrooge and Ichabod Crane. Scarlet O’Hara had her first name pretty much to herself for sixty years, but now enough time has passed that parents think they can name their sweet daughters Scarlet and people won’t immediately think of the strong-willed Southern belle.

Wilbur and Orville have been reused–Wilbur the pig in Charlotte’s Web comes to mind–but people still think of the Wright brothers as soon as they hear those names.

What names can you think of that authors should steer clear of because they have already been taken by memorable people or characters?

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