Favorite Fictional Names



It's bad form for me to disappear from LJ and then come back asking for help, I know.
For the last several weeks I was either frantically preparing for our local SCBWI conference
or recovering from the conference.
And in just a few days, it's my turn to blog at From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle-Grade Authors.

I could really use your help.

I'd like to write about memorable character names in middle-grade fiction.
When I was preparing my last post at From the Mixed-Up Files, 
I was amazed that both Wildebeest and Zebu remembered a secondary character name 
from the Artemis Fowl books, and I wanted to to know what other names have stuck in readers' minds.


Please let me know if there's a middle-grade fiction character whose name(s) you still remember.
Please let me know why that name sticks with you (funny, descriptive, sounds great, etc).
And please, if you're a writer, let me know how you go about naming your own characters.

If you tell me it's okay, I will use your names and quotes in the blog post. 

Thank you in advance for any and all help for this procrastinating blogger!


12 thoughts on “Favorite Fictional Names

  1. I don’t read MG really so I don’t have any MG examples but the two fictional names that spring immediately to mind are Dean Moriarty (which I just always thought sounded like a damn cool name) and Garp (so distinctive). When I’m coming up with names myself I take into account the ethnicity, age and gender of the character and eyeball tons of lists but finding the right one is usually, in the end, a matter of instinct. I had the Nick character from I Know It’s Over as Nathan in Chapter One but very quickly realized somehow he just didn’t *seem* like a Nathan.


    • I absolutely agree on Dean Moriarty and Garp (I regularly say “Bonky bit Garp. Garp bit Bonky.”)

      Isn’t that funny about Nathan vs Nick? I’ve had that happen, too, but nothing as drastic a change as Pansy O’Hara to Scarlett O’Hara.


  2. Who could forget Willy Wonka? Roald Dahl knew how to pick names. It’s got alliteration and almost a honk sound.

    I pick my names for the sound and for the match to the character’s personality. I also consult baby name lists to make sure I’m not dating myself with character names from the 70s and 80s.


    • Willy Wonka! Excellent, Karen. I can’t believe no one else has mentioned that one. Someone at the conference last weekend suggested Matilda but no one said Willy.

      Good call on checking lists to not date yourself.

      Thank you!


  3. Roald Dahl was a genius with names! Who could forget Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker?

    And Dickens as well (though he obviously didn’t write MG characters) Uriah Heep is one unforgettable name.

    If I think of any others, I’ll be back. Good luck with the blog post!


  4. They’re surnames, but I’ve always loved both ‘Linnet’ and ‘Valerian’. I remember the kids’ first names too (Nan, Robert, Timothy, and Betsy — they’re the Linnets).

    I always remember Claudia (you know where that’s from, ha) and Cat (BY THE HIGHWAY HOME). Fern is pretty memorable (and I’ve only read CHARLOTTE’S WEB once). Of course, Hermione stands out 😉 Charles Wallace is quite memorable, I’d say.

    Good luck 🙂


    • This is so interesting, Robin. None of the names you cited are all that unusual (except for Hermione), but they’ve stuck with you. My guess is the characters meant so much to you, am I correct in my thinking?


  5. I loved Harriet from Harriet the Spy, and Emily from Emily of New Moon, and, of course, Anne from Anne of Green….
    Ramona Quimby, and Clementine, and Saffy from Saffy’s Angel, as well her sibs, Caddy, Indigo and Permanent Rose. Let’s see… Sophie from the Sophie Hartley books. Alfie from The Cartoonist by Betsy Byars, Cracker Jackson, Calder and Petra from Chasing Vermeer. I could go on, but I won’t.
    Interesting post, though. Made me think. What makes a character’s name memorable?


Comments are closed.