I'm having a bit of difficulty deciding one individual character's name. I think it would be interesting to see what other writers had to say.
This particular character comes from a wealthy family. He has a family legacy that he is rather proud of and continues in his family's "foot steps" if you will. This character says throughout the book, "my father will hear about this," and similar comments. He is also very "book-smart" but not so socially/emotionally smart. He has black, combed back, hair and is short height-wise and is "tall" width-wise (although none of those things are completely crucial for this post).
So the question boils down to his name. What do you think his name should be? Since I do want to continue writing, I am using the name "Leonardo," which could suit him finely (I think); however, there could be a better possibility out there.
For many of my characters I'll search a baby-naming website. I don't have enough patients to continue. I don't want to use a name beginning with A (particularly AR... like in the name Arnold) because there's another essential character with that name.
Other possibilities that I've already thought of include: Charles (can be too cool, not sure) Leonardo Xavier (would be too cool for this character) Walter (also too cool) William (also maybe too cool) Currently, I can't think of the other possibilities, but I hope I got the idea across without being offensive in any fashion.
Personally, although I don't necessarily see Walter fitting just right, I wouldn't say it's too cool. (I've never been a fan of the name Walter.) As a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fan, though (not to mention Da Vinci), I think Leonardo can be a very cool name.
For that particular character... perhaps Bernard? Maybe not a terrific fit. Hm. Or Howard, or Harvey? Larry... Laurence, shortened to Larry (or not)... Donald... Gerald...
I'm going to stop there for now. Anything ring any sort of bell?
I've always thought "William" was a cool name, and tend to picture Wills as slightly roguish heroes. For the sake of transparency, however, I must admit that I'm married to one, and as such carry a deep bias.
Try looking up Latin names, they tend to have the kind of ring you're looking for.
If his family's name and history is so important, one could argue that the name isn't so important as what the name MEANS. Is it the name of one of his great ancestors? Is it his father's name or middle name? Combined with his surname does it mean something grand, implying he has a great future he has to live up to?
Great names become great because of the people who have had them before. Leonardo was a great renaissance man, and memorable to many people because, as was previously mentioned, of the Ninja Turtles . I think as long as you can find a name that sounds good and show us why it's such an important name you could use just about anything. Or you could snipe a prestigious name everyone respects and build off that without needing to show us any more.
Percival Benedict Cesar Clement Cyril Didier (Although imho, this is a cool name) Edouard (I don't know why, but french spelling makes things snobbishly wussy) Gaspard Lionel Maxime Philippe Raoul
maybe something gender ambiguous like:
Clair Dominique Flourentin Valery
Or you can always hyphenate, which would give an opportunity for other characters to make fun of him:
William-Josef is quite high brow, but Billy-Joe brings it right back to earth.
Jean-Clement is up there (especially if you pronounce the nasal 'n's), but Jonny-Clem sounds like you might have web-feet.
And then there's all ways the possibility of meaningless titles and roman numerals after the names. "My father, Jean-Clement Puckerton IV, Warden of the Lower Marshlands and heir to the Moors of Carfield, will hear about this."
I just remembered a good one. Buffington. I know someone with that last name, and it would make a great snobbish first name, too. His friends could call him Buffy.
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My problem with so-called "regular" names is usually associational---I think of somebody else, real or fictional, who has that name.
To illustrate, using the names directly above, "Maximiliam" makes me think of Mexican history, as well as the lead character and opening scene of Starman Jones..."Albert" makes me think of a character in the comic strip Pogo...and "Tyrus" makes me think of Ty Cobb, whose full first name that was. Sometimes I can't get these associations out of my head.