Friday, January 28, 2011

What's in a Name?

A lot.

And just like people judge books by their titles, I judge books by the characters' names.

I understand that authors want memorable characters.

I understand that a name says something about a character, such as how old they are, or what their parents are like.

But I hate, hate, hate it when characters have weird names.

I'm not talking about names from languages other than English. Those are cool.

I'm talking about the HUGE number of YA books that have female protagonists with traditionally male names, like "Max" or "Eddie" - which honestly hardly ever happens in real life, but seems in fiction to be an every day occurance.

Or the more unusual, such as characters who explain that they were named after bottles of alcohol, or the diner where their parents met, or whatever.

I don't know why it bugs me so much. Some of my favourite names in real life are rare and unusual. And Taiton and Destiny were kind enough to "loan" me their names for Definitely Not Camelot, so I guess I've done it, too.

But Taiton needed a name from an unspecified non-English speaking place (more on that later). And Destiny was a minor character.

When I'm reading about an unusually named main character, it distracts me.

And it makes it feel as if the author is trying too hard to show how unique and special his or her character is.

Kind of like parents who give their kids long, fancy monikers with Roman numerals at the end.