Wednesday, 15 February 2012

What's in a name? - Trouble!

Hi guys,

As you may know I published Pawn (Not Porn you naughty people) a little over a week ago. And funnily enough I've already struck trouble.

*Spoiler alert ahead* Now I should advise that there are spoilers ahead, so if you haven't read the book and are planning to, please don't read any further as some of the plot will be given away.

My dilemma began when I introduced a character into the book, Agent Dike of Interpol. I knew at the time that her name would upset some people. Unfortunately I also knew that her name was the one I had to use. Because agent Dike of Interpol is also the ancient Greek Goddess of Justice - Dike. I didn't make the name up.

When I realised that I had a problem with the name, I went through all my possible options in detail, and none of them seemed perfect.

My first option was to make a name up as I do with many characters. Unfortunately when the book revolves around characters from Greek mythology, introducing a fake god would have been a cheat at the least - and I can imagine that many readers who are far more into their mythology than I, would have complained.

My second option was to use another god or goddess, and there were a couple that I could have tried. The first was Themis, the goddess of divine or spiritual justice. The problem was that she was the wrong woman for the job, since the crime being investigated was strictly a mortal one. I could also have used Justitia, the Roman goddess based on Dike, but there were two problems. The first being that she was Roman not Greek, the second that her name would have given much of the plot away.

My third option (grief there are far too many numbers in this post) was to use a phonetic spelling.Though her name is written as Dike in English, it's mostly pronounced Daikee (though I have seen other phonetic versions). This is the option I chose, after receiving my first bit of feedback about the book, and I went with Dikē. (I hope that this symbol survives the blogging process - but if it doesn't it's an e with a flat line across the top.)

My hope with this is that the name will now no longer be read as having the connotation of a woman in authority having a nontraditional sexual orientation, but that it will still be close enough to the correct name that those who study Greek mythology will not be upset by it.

So there is my problem in a nutshell. And to my readers I do hope that you realise that the name used is not any form of attack upon women in positions of authority or women with nontraditional sexual orientations. It's simply the correct name for the character.

Cheers, Greg.


  1. Ahhh. The trials and tribulations of being an author.

    My motto: If you're not offending somebody, then you're not doing your job as an author.