Top Ten Tuesday – Unusual Character Names


The brilliant bloggers over at The Broke and The Bookish have this week challenged us to collate a register of unusual characters. Have a look at mine and let me know what you think and who you would add.

When I used to write stories during playtime with my primary school friend, we were greatly inspired by Jacqueline Wilson and may have plagiarised her character names (give us a break – we were eight!). My personal favourites were Star and Dolphin from The Illustrated Mum.

Douglas Adams was a genius with names. Zaphod Beeblebrox is certainly unusual, as is the name of his semi-half-cousin (they have three of the same mothers), Ford Prefect who, on reaching Earth, had ‘simply mistaken the dominant life form’ and named himself after a car. Here’s how you choose your own Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy name: think of the first car you remember your parents driving. That’s it. Mine’s Renault Scenic.

Talking of Fords, I rather enjoy the names in Ford Maddox Ford’s Parade’s End. Tietjens is apparently rather common in Germany, although it was new to me, and I can imagine no name lovelier than Valentine.

Gussie Fink-Nottle, Tuppy Glossop and Bingo Little are all stars of the Jeeves and Wooster series and beautifully conjure images of proper chinless fops. I can’t help but be reminded of them when I hear the names of the Made in Chelsea cast – Binky, Miffy and Caggie would surely not sound out of place in a P. G. Wodehouse novel.

Charles Dickens’ and Roald Dahl’s novels are full of peculiar names, each tailored to the character’s eccentricities; they were certainly contenders for this list. However, the final spot goes to Ian Fleming for for his imaginative, suggestive names. Vesper Lynd is my favourite. A prize goes to anyone who can bring me a real life person with ‘Pussy’ or ‘Galore’ in her name.

From Annie Ink

From Annie Ink


What do you think of my list? Who would be on yours? What’s your Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy name? Leave me a comment below!

Click here for more on character names: how to choose them, and what appeals to readers.


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6 responses to “Top Ten Tuesday – Unusual Character Names

  1. Maureen Eichner

    P.G. Wodehouse was a master of names, for sure! I enjoyed your list a lot.


  2. Dickens came up with some good ones: Martin Chuzzlewit, Uriah Heap etc. My favourite for great names is Jasper Fforde – the heroine of one series is the literary detective Thursday Next, and in the first book she is locked in a battle of wits with the nefarious Acheron Hades. Awesome!


  3. Zaphod made my list, too.

    I can’t remember the make of the first car I can recall (it was a light blue sedan, I called her Carla)… So I guess my H2G2 name would be Mercury Villager.


  4. Adrian

    Not a fictional character, but something about Mary Elizabeth Winstead has always felt marvelous to me.
    Slartibartfast has got to be in there with the Douglas Adams names, it suggests that you have somehow been mildly insulted.
    J.D. Salinger’s names always capture something of the privileged new yorker socialites in my brain, particularly the Glass family, with Franny, Zooey, Bessie, Boo Boo ect.

    Škoda Felicia


  5. Oh my goodness, how did I not think of Hitchhiker’s Guide! I listened to it on audiobook, and I couldn’t help giggling every time Stephen Fry said Slartibartfast. My name would be Ford Taurus, not super exciting.


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