Question: Can an author use a name if the character is famous?

Can an author use a name if the character is famous?

I am sure many of you have read stories with characters named Sam, Mary, Ann, Joe, Eddie, and such. They are author’s stable names.

Yes, they can be used if it is an ancient or common name. Not a name the author invented. I used the name Hermione in a story long before Harry Potter hit the market. I got the name from mythology. It’s the name of an ancient Greek deity. You can’t trade mark ancient names. You have to originally create the name or word or phrase in order to own it. You can’t take a popular cultural sayings, idioms, and phrases say it’s yours. You can’t own it when people have been saying it for decades, centuries. The same applies with names.

My Hermione isn’t a witch nor attending a magical school. She’s an immortal just as some myth says she is.

You may asked: Can’t you change the name since there’s a character wearing the same name and has already made it famous?

No, not unless I’m willing to change the entire story, the theme and her relations to the other characters. Change the character’s attributes and powers as well. That’s a lot of work.

If you want to change the name of a character after discovering another author has made it famous, it’s up to you. But remember to erase all dialogues and references to the old name. Keep the name and characteristics in line with the consistency of the story.


In Greek mythology, Hermione was the daughter of Menelaus, king of Sparta, and his wife, Helen of Troy.

About unholypursuit

A. White, an award winning former librarian, who is also a long time member of Romantic Time and Publisher's Weekly. A. White has been writing for over fifteen years. She took classes in creative writing in college, specializing in ancient myths and legends. and later at a local community center while living in Chicago. In college she won the national contest to verbally list every country in the world, it's capital and ingenious language. Her works are mainly horror, fantasy, extreme, and sci-fi as well as, as some may says, "the truly strange predicament and puzzling." Books that I've written are "Clash with the Immortals, and eleven others which are part of the "Unholy Pursuit saga,". She has been working on the Chronicles since 2007. She wished to complete them all before introducing them to public so the readers wouldn't have to for the continuation to be written. The ideas of the book come from classic literature such as whose work greatly influence the world world such as Homer, Sophocles, Herodotus, Euripides, Socrates, Hippocrates, Aristophanes, Plato, Aristotle and many more. The "Book of Enoch" influenced the usage of Azazael as a main character and love interest. I created the primary main character from the Chronicle of Saints. I wanted to show them as real flesh and blood with thoughts, desires and yearning as any human. Not as they are so often depicted. So I created one of my own to show her as a real human that everyone can relate to.
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2 Responses to Question: Can an author use a name if the character is famous?

  1. Fleck says:

    I see no problem with the same name just so long as the story is not the same.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Fleck, I agreed with you. Just so long as the story is not the same. If so, then you are a copycat. 🙂

      Sometimes a name becomes so common during a certain era that you have to remind your self you aren’t reading the same story.


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