Thursday, January 8, 2009

What's In a Name?

A short pet peeve of mine... weird names in romance books. Not sure if I talked about this before, but I thought I'd mention it again.

Now I've given my characters wacko names, but those are for men and women living in futuristic worlds. Aliens and creatures who live in dark places and parallel universes. But in my contemporaries, Ethan and Jewel (short for Julia), Gage and Hailey, Lilah and Rick (and Trevor) fall in love. It's a tricky thing to come up with a decent name that doesn't look bizarre or feel "unsexy." Look, I know a few guys named Larry, but I probably won't use "Larry" as my hero. It brings to mind the Three Stooges-- love 'em, but I don't think they're all that sexy. Likewise, I won't use Gertrude unless I can call her "Gerty" and give her a quirky background. Betty reminds me too much of my grandmother. Muriel's plain ugly. Sorry Mom, but it is (she goes by Mimi.) We all use personal choices when naming people, be they characters in a book, pets, plants or babies.

But I must ask the authors out there who toy with the simple "Sarah" and turn her into "Sarra," "Sarie" and "Sarrah", what are you doing? Why can't Sara/h fall in love with David? What's wrong with Mike obsessing over Jennifer--not Jeni, Jenniffer or Jeni Fer? This propensity to write character names in the oddest way possible strikes me as bizarre. Is the author trying to show how different her characters are from any other? Then make the story stand out. Because I get stuck on wacky names in a contemporary setting.

Don't get me wrong. When Wulfgar, an ancient Viking cursed to immortality, finds himself in the middle of Central Park fighting a gang for the honor of a woman named Amy, I don't mind at all. But my son doesn't go to school with Wulfgar, Zingo or Gren (okay, he was one of my heroes from a futuristic, but you get my point.) His friends are Alex, Abraham, Lucas and Megan.

I'm all for a creative book, but don't distract me from the story with a crazy name. Just my two cents, which is probably what this post is worth.

1 comment:

ddurance said...

I agree with you for the most part. I do kind of like original sounding names, but I would like to be able to pronounce them. LOL