A Rose by Any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet?

5 Sep

Oh, the mystery of names!

I have a slight dilemma and I’m looking for any help I can get!  Here’s my issue:

My in-progress Young Adult novel takes place in 1920s Chicago with gangsters and cops.  Two of my characters are loosely based on Al Capone and Eliott Ness.  For inspiration, my husband and I watched The Untouchables with Kevin Costner.  (If you haven’t seen it, it’s great, highly recommended.)

Here’s my problem: Sean Connery’s character in the film is Jim Malone.  I have a minor character in my novel named Jack Malone!

Are these names too similar?  I did a quick internet search and found that there was no real-life Jim Malone, he’s based on an FBI agent named Marty LaHart.  (I have a character named Marty as well, but that’s a different post altogether.)

I’d love to hear what you all think!  Would leaving the name as-is be a problem?  If I’m going to change it, do you have any suggestions?

Thanks to all my as-of-yet-non-existent readers!


4 Responses to “A Rose by Any Other Name Would Smell as Sweet?”

  1. Matt Mueller September 5, 2013 at 11:26 PM #

    I’d say you’re fine with Jack Malone. You’re doing the whole “any similarities blah blah blah blah blah” thing right


    • samannelizabeth September 6, 2013 at 3:08 PM #

      All right, a follow up question: Is it too confusing to have characters named Mary and Marie? Note that they run in the same circles.


  2. L. Palmer September 6, 2013 at 4:09 PM #

    Mary and Marie would be tricky for readers, unless you are purposefully making them seem interchangeable. I did that with two sisters named Molly and Mary in one of my stories. I would recommend finding a different letter to begin one of their names.

    Jack Malone is a fairly common, but snappy name, and so is ok. No matter what you write, someone will probably find something from somewhere that has a similar name.


    • samannelizabeth September 6, 2013 at 4:21 PM #

      Thank you for the advice!! I didn’t realize until after my first draft when I was reading aloud how similar Mary and Marie sound. I’ll have to change one.
      I actually have a Marty as well, but he and Mary are foils so that’s working out well.
      I’m glad you like the name Jack Malone, I’ve become very attached to it myself!


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