Romeo may still be “perfect” in Juliet’s eyes if his name was something else but I think that people read the book partly because his name is so classically romantic. Bob and Juliet? Ha, I don’t think so! Seriously, when giving characters their names, I feel like I have a daunting task! What if they aren’t their name?…I don’t think that made any sense, but you get the point.
Names may not shape people or perceptions entirely but I think it can influence things, especially when writing a story. I’ve heard people say that you can chose any name and then fix it later on but that drives me crazy because by the time I’m done, I’m so used to my “Romeo” being typed as “bob” so that he’s become slighly more “bobbish” then “romeoish.” Ugh! (and no offense to any bobs!)
For me, personally, the name has to come and then character can come alive for real. They can remain nameless for a little while if needs be (better a nameless hero with enigma then someone who completely changes the story I wanted), but I really don’t think that putting in someone elses name really works.
So what’s in a name? Well, Juliet, I think that when making up a character there is a lot in a name. And I think that’s kinda interesting:)