So you’re writing a vampire novel filled with interesting, dynamic characters. You’ve worked out the plot, and come up with an unexpected yet satisfying conclusion. Now you just have to give names to the characters that have been living in your head and you think you’ll call this one . . . Lucy. No! Bad! There are some names that you simply can’t give your characters, and here’s why.

Authors are often as sentimental and defensive about their character names as parents are about their children’s names. They choose a certain name because the tone, rhythm, and history it has embodies, they hope, the personality they will create. As such, they’ll cling to names, especially ones of special pedigree – and especially in genre fiction. It’s not a major problem when they link their work directly to earlier stories. If your vampire hunter, for example, is Van Helsing’s great-great grandchild, it’s not a problem to keep the name. Same with the later generations of Frankensteins or Harkers. A direct link might not always be desirable to readers, but it’s not a distracting flourish. It’s when you drop coincidental names into the book that things get bad, especially in what are meant to be suspenseful stories. Which brings us to the first group of no-no names.

Read more at These Character Names Should be Banned Forever.

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