Ah yes, I can see it now, Sid and Elsie strolling off into the sunset...
Er - no - I don't think so either. Never mind, as a certain lady said, "Tomorrow is another day."
You see, it's all in the name, isn't it? A rose by any other name might well smell as sweet, but as writers, our characters need to have names that perfectly evoke their personalities. To return to Gone With The Wind for a second, the very name Scarlett O'Hara evokes a fiery, passionate temperament, leaving the writer free to merely colour in the details and show us all the many wonderful ways in which she lives up to that glorious name.
Margaret Mitchell named her characters wisely. Rhett Butler has to be a dashing, darkly handsome hero even before he opens his mouth, whereas Ashley Wilkes conjurs up a much gentler, less exciting prospect. As for Melanie - well you couldn't imagine her tearing down the velvet curtains to make a dress, could you? Her name simply wouldn't allow it.
Of course, Emily could simply have used the established boy's name, Heath. No, it doesn't work for me either. Perfectly respectable name of course. Nothing wrong with it. In fact, SheKnows.com says about the name 'Heath', "People with this name have a deep inner desire for a stable, loving family or community, and a need to work with others and to be appreciated".
Well, that's all right then...just as long as you don't want a dark, haunted and emotionally tangled hero. It clearly didn't suit Emily, so she added the suffix, 'cliff' and opened up a whole new character, as powerful and windswept as his surroundings.
|Oh Mrs Lilywhite, you scared me! Not|
There are scores of other examples. The sinister housekeeper in Rebecca, for example. Daphne du Maurier gave her a strong name - Mrs Danvers. Would she have been quite so scary if she'd called her Mrs Lilywhite?
Emily's sister, Charlotte was no slouch when it came to appropriate names either. Her eponymous heroine, Jane Eyre, evokes an image of an ordinary young woman - yet there is a strength of character in that name too. It's a solid, monosyllabic coupling. No one with the name Jane Eyre could ever be an emptyheaded, silly little flibbertigibit, and Charlotte doesn't let us down. Jane's honesty, commonsense and sense of fairness endear her to her employer, Edward Rochester. As for him, he simply had to have a tortured personality to go with that name. And, sure enough, he's got the insane Bertha hidden away in the attic and secrets hidden in every shadowy corner.
OK, by now, you know I love playing with names to get the right ones for my characters. A current main character endured four name changes before I got her right. Well, for now, anyway. If she starts going off at a tangent and behaving in an un-Eve-like way, she'll simply have to be rechristened!