The Name isn't the Same Part 2

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Back in February I wrote a shed post (here) explaining why I've changed the name of my fictional lady detective from Magnolia Chetwynd to Millicent Cutter. The change was necessary for several reasons that only emerged once the book had got to the end of its first draft. Names are important (as I wrote about in this shedpost). And the book is much better for the change.

Well, I'm now at Draft 10, the book is 99% of what I want it to be and it's 56% funded. And I now find myself agonising over the name of my 'hero'.

When I started the book, he was a retired detective sergeant called Gordon Shunter. I liked the name Shunter. To me it said solid, dependable, slow but steady. It has a nice sound to it. Plus it's rather nice that, in Victorian times, 'mutton shunter' was slang for a police officer (Victorian slang is hilarious! Look!). The name fits the character too as he is slow and steady, not prone to jumping the gun. That said, he's smart too.

But then I got to Draft 5 and I passed the book around a group of my friends who I use as critical readers. These are people who tell me not only what they don't like and what doesn't work but also why. And they didn't like Shunter. To them it sounded like he was a bit of a dullard. The name made him sound unintresting. So I changed his name to Gordon Hawker as I figured that it sounded sharp and wise and smart.

But now I find myself wondering ... Hawker or Shunter?

This is Unbound and I believe that you, the subscribers who have put your faith (and money) in me to deliver a book you want to read, should have some say in matters like this.

So I figured I'd ask you guys ... Shunter or Hawker? Hawker or Shunter?

Or do you know of something even better?

His name is in your hands!

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Comments

Jessica Myles
Jessica Myles says:

I like Shunter better. Perhaps a 191st name like Gary, Harold (Harry) or Charles could fit.

June 05, 2016

Liz Wooldridge
Liz Wooldridge says:

Hmmm, if he's dependable, slow & steady I much prefer Shunter, Hawker, for me, is a little 'dodgy' & too 'sharp'

June 05, 2016

Vaun earl Norman
Vaun earl Norman says:

For me, definitely "Shunter", and I'm not sure why. But what came to mind was "Shunter of the yard", which is obviously not applicable but just amused me.

Cheers Vaun X

June 05, 2016

Duncan Bailey
Duncan Bailey says:

There are a few old slang names for police that you could use, most of which originate in other countries. How about:

• Byling. Means peeler in Swedish.
• Heeler. Old Aussie slang.
• Peeler.
• Vics. Old US slang.

I do like Shunter though.

June 05, 2016

Jason Arnopp
Jason Arnopp says:

#TeamShunter

June 06, 2016

Sue Vaughey
Sue Vaughey says:

Think I'm on my own here lol but I prefer Hawker.

June 06, 2016

Sue Vaughey
Sue Vaughey says:

Think I'm on my own here lol but I prefer Hawker.

June 06, 2016

Paul Jeorrett
Paul Jeorrett says:

Hawker has all sorts of links with the infamous Vicar of Morwenstow https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Stephen_Hawker and I wouldn't be able to put those out of my mind. So #TeamShunter gets my vote.

June 06, 2016

Mark Vent
Mark Vent says:

#TeamShunter

1.) Go with your gut/first instincts Stevyn
2.) I have a liking of "Shunter Of The Yard" (just like Vaun earl Norman)

if I HAD to pick another name - I quite like BARKER - he sounds robust, dependable and capable :)

June 06, 2016

Stephanie Ressort
Stephanie Ressort says:

I'm team Shunter too. Think there is something fun in the fact he is sharper than his name would make him seem.

June 06, 2016

Ali Burns
Ali Burns says:

Definitely #TeamShunter. Sounds steady and reliable

June 06, 2016

Spring Horton
Spring Horton says:

I'd got #TeamShunter as well. It's a good sounding name and the tie-in with the slang is clever.

June 06, 2016

John Gass
John Gass says:

Yes, it's looking to be a very one-sided game, because I'm on #TeamShunter too. I agree with those who feel that Hawker is too tightly associated with predatory hunting, talons etc. If you want something from Victorian slang, and looking at your link, have you considered Chuck Chuckaboo or Arthur Arfarfanarf?

June 06, 2016

David G Tubby
David G Tubby says:

Shunter, for sure

June 06, 2016

Colin White
Colin White says:

Think I'm slightly more on the Hunter side. Shunter sort of implies shunting stuff about and getting nowhere rather than a Hawker who's sharp and smooth. I'm afraid it's the Gordon I have trouble with. Partly because I have an idiot friend called that (I love him really but he's no detective) and partly because of Jilted John!

June 06, 2016

Liz Wooldridge
Liz Wooldridge says:

I also like Duncan's suggestion - Peeler, though may be a little... 'obvious'?

June 06, 2016

Christopher Richardson
Christopher Richardson says:

Shunter. An expert should do better than expected. S/he should be more brilliant than anyone expects. The names Marple, Bond and Holmes are unremarkable. They did well enough.

June 06, 2016

Ewan Lawrie
Ewan Lawrie says:

Definitely not Hawker/Hunter for me. A bit macho, gung ho. Norman Purefound, no I'm joking. Hmm... Shunter. He's stolid, dependable. Why not?
PS I'm waiting until I'm a bit more solvent before pledging, but I will.

June 07, 2016

JF Derry
JF Derry says:

Mixing it up a bit with the Spoonerist,

1) Sawker (to cut well, Jamaican origin. => to persist, keep sawing away cf Columbo, "Uh, one more thing …"),
and,
2) H-hunter (think Anthony Aloysius Hancock an indecisive hunter, not quite the heat-seeking missile he dreams to be, but gets there eventually - might take some skilled writing to pull off, as t'were).

June 08, 2016

JF Derry
JF Derry says:

*to NOT cut well ∴ persisting

June 08, 2016

Stevyn Colgan
Stevyn Colgan says:

Some great suggestions there folks! Interestingly, the issue of the detective's forename has been raised by more than one of you, here and on Twitter and Facebook, so I'm reviewing that too. It may be that 'Gordon' is just plain wrong and that a more dynamic first name will solve my dilemma.

June 10, 2016

Stevyn Colgan
Stevyn Colgan says:

You might also be interested to know that, in this book, I'm doing my bit to preserve some wonderful old British surnames that are on the brink of extinction. The names Chips, Hatman, Temples, Raynott, Woodbead, Nithercott, Rummage, Southwark, Harred and Jarsdel are particularly at risk as fewer than 50 people still have them. Consequently, I've used nearly all of them in the book.

But why are they disappearing? It's perfectly understandable that forenames should ebb and flow in popularity as fashion dictates but why does a surname suddenly dip in popularity? I can understand it if a name becomes unpopular through association; plenty of people called Hitler and Shipman changed their for that very reason. But why, for example, has the surname William crashed and burned? In the 1901 UK census, William was the 374th-most common surname; one in every 1,000 people was called William. But the most recent census shows that now only 1 in 50,000 people in the UK has it. That's a 97% decrease. Where have all the Williams gone? Other surnames that have also decreased in prevalence include Cohen (-42%), Ashworth (-39%), Sutcliffe (-36%), Clegg (-34%), Butterworth (-34%), Crowther (-34%), Kershaw (-34%), Brook (-34%), Greenwood (-32%), Haigh (-31%), Pratt (-31%), Nuttal (-30%), Ingham (-30%) and Ogden (-30%).

I wonder why?

June 10, 2016

Stevyn Colgan
Stevyn Colgan says:

Paul Jeorrett (Great surname there as it happens!) mentioned the Reverend Robert Hawker. He's a character I'm quite familiar with, being a Cornishman myself, but if you'd like to hear more about his eccentricities, do listen into my chat about him on Iszi Lawrence's excellent Z List Dead List podcast here: http://www.zlistdeadlist.com/listen/#s01 (It's also on iTunes and Soundcloud)

June 10, 2016

Stevyn Colgan
Stevyn Colgan says:

Ewan - Oh I'm having Purefound as a character name! Unless you already have!

June 10, 2016

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