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There has been correspondence in the national press recently about names. One gentleman called Atticus wrote of mixed feelings about his mother’s enthusiasm for To Kill a Mockingbird. A teacher wrote of embarrassment caused on a school swimming trip by having to shout: ‘Cressida and Demosthenes, please come out of the pool!’

Names matter hugely. We have an immediate picture of the kind of homes that Atticus, Cressida and Demosthenes come from, don’t we? We can readily speculate about teasing in the playground and some who might ultimately be driven to give themselves alternative, boring, names. Others might pursue memorable lives to live up to memorable labels.

So do name your characters with care. ‘Demosthenes’ would surely make a great international crime lord. Or maybe a psychopath damaged by a troubled youth…

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