Multiple Characters With The Same Name

The ultimate nightmare of reading/writing. Characters in the same story who have the same name. But what if that happens in your story without your even realizing it?

Honestly, I really don’t have much of a problem with it, especially considering I’ve met more Hannahs than I can count during my lifetime. You’ve probably run into others with the same name as you too, especially if it was a popular name during the decade you were born in. And especially if it’s a classic name like:

  • John
  • Mary
  • Robert
  • William
  • Henry
  • And so forth…

Not to mention Bible names. Anyway…

When it comes to having multiple characters with the same name, and you really don’t want to change any of them, my advice would be:

  • Have them go by nicknames in the narrative. I have three Henrys in the same work-in-progress series. The first two are a father-son pair, the third is grandson/nephew to them. The first Henry goes by just Henry. The second goes by Junior as a child, but rather than using the dog’s name paired with his last name as an adult (Snickers Taylor?) he goes by Hank. The third Henry goes by his first and middle names, Henry Liam.
  • Different personalities. Considering father-son cases, there’s bound to be a few similarities, but no one is exactly like their parents.
  • Limit the number of characters with the same name. I’d say two characters, three at the most, should be it.
  • Different last names, obviously. Unless it’s a father-son pair or a father-son-grandson trio.

Now, what if you have multiple characters with the same name, but they’re in different stories?

(Yeah, I might have an example from my own for this one too)

  • I’d still go with the nicknames during the narrative. James is the other name I have three of–well, only if that new story idea pans out. One James goes by James in the narrative, while the other characters call him both James and Jim. The second James goes by Jamie in both the narrative and by the other characters. The third James goes by Jim in the narrative and by the other characters.
  • And again, different last names.

    Tell me your thoughts below! Do you have any multiple characters with the same name? Or would you rather stay away from it?

2 thoughts on “Multiple Characters With The Same Name

  1. Great post! I totally relate. I have three characters named William, but one goes by Will, another goes by Liam, and the third goes by Will Scarlet. *cough* (that part was kind of a secret by the way)
    And you can always name characters after different variants of a certain name. i. e. Stephen, Steven, Steffan, and Steffen are all variants of one name! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks!

      Yep! Oh yeah, that’s another name I have three of – Steven/Stephen. It’s spelled as Stephen in one series I’ve been planning/working on since I was 13 (another father-son pair), and as Steven in a story I’d like to write in its’ entirety…if I ever get a plot. *looks at plot bunnies*

      Liked by 1 person

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