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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    2,073

    Is there too much of an association with the surname?

    I have a character who insists on being called Lily Song. She's a British teenager of Asian descent, undecided on the country as the surname is used by both Korean and Chinese families. Lily is her English name, she was named after her mother's favourite flower, and she has a Chinese/Korean name as well.

    Unfortunately, when I mentioned her name to my sister who was nosing at what I was writing, her reaction was "like River Song?"

    Let it be said that the two characters are nothing alike in personality, age, appearance or background, and nobody else in her family who also bears the same surname (parents and as-yet-unnamed brother) is in any way similar to the Doctor Who character either. But is she too well known, and the surname too unusual, for me to use it?



    Additionally, any input on which nationality to make the family would be helpful. It's not crucial to the plot as to which one, but I need them to have left their native country for a social reason.

    >Chinese: Parents left the country in the early 1980s as a young couple after the one child rule was introduced in 1979.
    >Korean: Paternal grandparents fled the country as a young couple during the Korean war in the early 1950s, Lily's father was born in the UK but married a woman also of Korean parentage.

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  2. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    West Michigan
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    2,276
    I can honestly say that I have no idea who River Song is.
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  3. #5
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Washington
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    605
    I don't think you will have much of a problem. I think that the only people to see the connection are Doctor Who fans such as myself, and it's not even that big of a connection; its only a surname. Plus she's of Asian descent, so it would make sense. I think you'll be fine.
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  4. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Wales
    Posts
    236
    When I first heard River Song's name, I thought Steven Moffat was making the point that by the fifty-first century EVERYONE would have Chinese surnames. The alien translation explanation came later. I kind of prefer my original interpretation. So, don't let Doctor Who take the surname away from Asia. They had it first.

    Also, I would lean towards her being of Chinese descent, because there is a much stronger tradition of Chinese immigration to the UK and there are many more Chinese people here than Koreans. Because Hong Kong, probably.

  5. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    2,545
    I think it works, but to be honest, I did immediately think of Dr. River Song ("Hello, Sweetie.")
    But it's a legitimate surname that works with the ethnic background, so I think it works. Go for it! River isn't negative, and if the characters are nothing alike your readers will probably make a quick connection and then move on.
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