Characters' names in King's novels

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Ola

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Jan 15, 2019
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Hello, I'm wondering if Stephen King has ever talked in interviews about naming his fictional characters? In other words, if names are important for him and what's the origin/use of symbols in his characters' names? I will be grateful for any answers! :)
 

Gerald

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Sep 8, 2011
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I haven't heard him talk about that often. He uses general American names, so I think in general there isn't a specific meaning to a lot of the names. He does sometimes use names from other writers though (who are usually happy to see themselves included). The town Jodie in 11/22/63 is named after Jodi Picoult and Olive Kepnes, Gwendy's friend in Gwendy's Button Box, is named after Caroline Kepnes.
Here's Kepnes talking about King and discovering her name in the book:

Stephen King at 70: You author Caroline Kepnes on discovering yourself in King's stories (sometimes literally)
 

Doc Creed

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Hello, I'm wondering if Stephen King has ever talked in interviews about naming his fictional characters? In other words, if names are important for him and what's the origin/use of symbols in his characters' names? I will be grateful for any answers! :)
King once said John Coffey was a character modeled after Jesus Christ. Dolores from Dolores Claiborne means 'sorrow' or 'suffering' but that might be coincidence. I think the surname Creed (Pet Sematary) was chosen because of its meaning- a faith or religious belief, especially Christian. It's interesting to note that Jud could be short for 'Judge', a god-like character who interferes with or instigates important events in the story. Some of these are conjecture, mind you. Welcome!
 

Gerald

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Sep 8, 2011
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King once said John Coffey was a character modeled after Jesus Christ. Dolores from Dolores Claiborne means 'sorrow' or 'suffering' but that might be coincidence. I think the surname Creed (Pet Sematary) was chosen because of its meaning- a faith or religious belief, especially Christian. It's interesting to note that Jud could be short for 'Judge', a god-like character who interferes with or instigates important events in the story. Some of these are conjecture, mind you. Welcome!

Dolores is plural in Spanish for Dolor, meaning sorrow or pain, indeed. SK refers more often to Spanish words (in Gingerbread Girl for example), so it might be no coincidence.
Creed is not so subtle though. It can be seen as directly referring to the themes of the novel as a whole. I wonder if it would bother me as too obvious if it had been the same use of the word in my language.

Sometimes the names can even be a mix of having meaning and not. Richard Bachman's first name was from Donald Westlake's pseudonym Richard Stark (the last name was used in Dark Half of course), while the last name was from Bachman-Turner Overdrive, which King just happened to listen to at that moment, so it's rather random.
Westlake actually even has the same middle name as King, Edwin.
 
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GNTLGNT

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Hello, I'm wondering if Stephen King has ever talked in interviews about naming his fictional characters? In other words, if names are important for him and what's the origin/use of symbols in his characters' names? I will be grateful for any answers! :)
....I know that he has mentioned many of the Derry and Castle Rock characters, plus a handful of other folks-were given names common to the area of Maine where he was born and raised and even broadly based some attributes on friends and family......
 

osnafrank

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Is Michael (Mike) Noonan a more ordinary Name in the US ?
 

Gerald

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King once said John Coffey was a character modeled after Jesus Christ.

Although by a different method, Charles Jacobs heals people too. And it's the same initials, just in reverse, but then he has denounced God and Christianity after what happened to his family: the revivals are just a front for scientific experimentation.

However, his full name is Charles Daniel Jacobs, so I don't know if this was chosen on purpose.