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What's in a name? Besides a dress.

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Rikilamaro, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. Rikilamaro

    Rikilamaro Inkling

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    Here's my problem. A good friend of mine recently read the first few chapters of my story and said, "You know that's a dress, right?" She was referring to my female main character's name, 'Sari.' It's a ceremonial gown. It's also a name that I recall from my childhood and seems to fit my character well. Since I have already changed the MMC's name twice I really don't want to change this one too.

    My question is... do you think people will know what a sari is? Do you think they will care?
     
  2. JCFarnham

    JCFarnham Auror

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    I'm sure most people will know of the word Sari, but no I don't think it matters. You shouldn't worry about the Japanese flavour either really, I mean the name Aiko, for example, is 'love' with a feminine suffix thrown on the end. How about Sakura as a name? Is the Cherry blossom sense of the word too over powering?

    What I'm saying is names often recall things and objects way back in their roots. To be honest, only if you're target readership mostly consists of people who use saris on a daily basis will it be a problem (which counts both in the japanese sense and all other senses, because there's more than one type of clothing there.)

    I don't see it as a problem. In fact I like the name, it's pretty :)
     
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  3. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    It shouldn't matter, yeah, people are going to notice that it's a dress, but they aren't really going to care. I mean, one of the major characters in the super popular Dragonball series is named after basically atheletic shorts. Might be a little weird if it's published in a country Sari's are popular in, but otherwise no problem.
     
  4. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    I agree. Many Americans name their children words they like the sound of regardless of the meaning in another culture, or regardless of gender. I think it's nice she doesn't have a common name like Sarah, but also not something crazy like Moonbeam Shadows. I think you've picked a nice compromise, and who knows, maybe common names here mean something weird in other cultures, I'm sure that happens.
     
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  5. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    I remember reading a story and seeing a TV show with the name Sari in it. I know what a Sari is and it didn't bother me in the least. People have all sorts unusual name. Some guy named his kid ESPN, pronouned Ess pen. Its a bloody sports network. Yikes. I mean think about 'normal' names that have double meanings, Bob, Candy, Cane, Dusty, Rod, Chase, Dale, Dick, Jack, etc. Bottlome line if you like the name and it fits the character, who cares? People can twist even normal names into something negative. Take for instance one of my favourite authors, Neil Gaiman. Imagine him getting teased for his name as a kid. There are worse things than being called a dress.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012
  6. Rikilamaro

    Rikilamaro Inkling

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    Thanks, everyone. I greatly appreciate the feedback. You have calmed my internal debate. :)
     
  7. The Din

    The Din Troubadour

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    I am facing the same dilemma. One of my POV characters is named Silo, which might strike some people as odd. I never mention silos in my novel, yet a farmer or someone around them every day might find it disagreeable. Do I need to change it to Cilo or Sylo or something?

    As for Sari, I see nothing wrong with it (just don't have her wearing a sari). If you're worried, you could try switching some letters around: Sira,
     
  8. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    In general, writers worry too much about names, I know I've done it as well. Silo sounds like a perfectly good name to me, particularily in a setting that doesn't have farm silos.
     
  9. Rikilamaro

    Rikilamaro Inkling

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    Being from farm country I would definitely giggle at someone named 'Silo' if I met them in person. Because I'm mean. In a book; however, I would be fine with a character with that name.

    If you're worried, what about Shilo?
     
  10. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    Or Silas, or Milo?
     
  11. myrddin173

    myrddin173 Maester

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    Or Apple, or Blanket... :eek2:

    Sari is a perfectly good name, despite its meaning. I also like Silas.
     
  12. Saigonnus

    Saigonnus Auror

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    I wouldn't worry much about it, I am not an expert on names but likely there was a person somewhere in the world named Sari before they used it for the name of a wraparound ceremonial dress. Sari is a good name for a person and even if many people know what it is, it shouldn't make a difference.
     
  13. Kit

    Kit Maester

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    I've started Googling my names just to make sure there's not some bad or strange meaning that I wasn't aware of.
     
  14. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    Same here!
     
  15. Shockley

    Shockley Maester

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    Once on a Chinese roleplaying forum I made up a name - turns out I used the right combination of words that my characters full name could have been 'Ignorant Castrate' in English. So don't worry too much about it.
     
  16. I wouldn't have a problem with a character named "Sari" unless they were Indian. Then, I'd find it weird.
     
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  17. Rikilamaro

    Rikilamaro Inkling

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    Thanks again, everyone. :)
     
  18. Argentum

    Argentum Troubadour

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    I think the name Sari is beautiful and the meaning wouldn't matter to me..... but then I have a character named Vigil and another Lucid.
     
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