Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Name Game

What’s up with the “different” names celebrities have chosen for their babies? In case you haven’t noticed the trend, here’s a list of first and/or middle names:

Girls: Blakesley, Maru, Camera, Puma, Sailor, Suri, Coco, Fifi Trixibelle, Peaches Honeyblossom, Little Pixie, Emerson, Alcamy, Makena’lei Gordon, Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily, Moxie CrimeFighter, Ever Gabo, Saffron Sahara, Tallulah Pine, Tu, Poppy Honey, Daisy Boo, Apple, Zahara, Shiloh, Reignbeau, Harlow Winter Kate, BreAzia Ranee, Sage Moonblood, Tiger Lily, Lola Daisy, Gaia Romilly, Iman, Dusti Raine, Keelee Breeze, Rumer, Moon Unit, and Diva Muffin.

Boys: Liron, Seven Sirius, Denim, Ky, Kal-el, Blue, Free, Hud, Spec Wildhorse, Moses, Maddox, Pax, Freedom, Rocket Valentin, Racer Maximilliano, Rebel, Rogue, Sedg, Audio Science, Seargeoh, Rufus Tiger, Akin, Thyme, Dweezil, and Ahmet Emuukha Rodan.

For all the writers out there, please think twice before naming your hero or heroine by these “interesting” names. Don’t forget the importance of choosing the right name to fit your characters and to have a name the reader can remember. If I can’t pronounce the name or recognize it, I’ll probably have a hard time telling someone else about the story. The conversation would sound something like this:

Me: “Hey, I finished a book the other day.”
You: “Really? What was it about?”
Me: “Well, the hero… I forget his name… was chasing after the villain with a strange name… and they both tried to win over the heroine, who had a name I’ve never heard of before. Kind of hard to explain.”
You: “What was the title of the book?”
Me: “I’m not really sure how to pronounce it. I’ll have to spell it out.”

Okay, so maybe the conversation wouldn’t be THAT bad, still… Why take the risk? You want your readers to love everything about your book, including the main characters’ names. This doesn’t mean you must use extremely common names like John, Jane, Mary, and David, but something not quite as “unique” as those names listed above would be appreciated.

Have you come across strange character names in books you’ve read or movies you’ve seen? What about in real life? Have you heard of any that have made you shiver and feel sorry for the poor kid?


  1. This was previously posted last year. Sorry. The migraine made me do it. ;)

    Lynnette Labelle

  2. Thought this sounded familiar. ;-) Hope your head feels better.

  3. Hehe! Too true. Thanks for the advice!

  4. Those are truly awful.
    Some fantasy and science fiction books go overboard with the weird names. When selecting my characters' names, I tried to keep it simple.

  5. Dawn: Feeling better now. Thanks.

    Talli: No prob.

    Alex: Aren't they though? LOL Yes, fantasy and sci-fi writers come up with some pretty odd names!

    Lynnette Labelle

  6. I actually just read a review for a book where the main character is named Easter and it fits perfectly, because she's on a journey of renewal.

    I think it's okay to have odd names (speaking as someone who has a terrible time keeping characters straight, especially if they all have bland names), so long as they are pronounceable and easily remembered.

    For example, "Easter" is fine. But "Tiendeirah" is something I would read as "Tt-mumblemumbl" for the entire book.

  7. I've heard strange names, but never any of those thank goodness. I've always liked the thought of having a girl character with the name Bennie...I mean, why not? But beyond that, I'm not to out there with the names. I try to find the balance.

  8. I had a friend in school named Kyrie. It was pronounce Kear-ee-ay, but everyone who had to read it aloud pronounced it Kai-ree. Our other friend Alicia was often called Alyssia. We're still not sure why on that one. But it certainly made substitute teachers amusing.

    I like names, often unusual ones. That's why I keep my betas around, to remind me that people in the continental US don't have names like Etana or Nilima, much as I like them.

  9. My name is Meika (pronounced MEEKA) and, after growing up with such a unique name I am determined to give my children more conventional names -- ones that aren't so easily mispronounced or misspelled!

    My characters, on the other hand...well, they get the occasional unusual name. Nothing TOO extreme, though. There will never be a Coco, Poet or Trixibelle in MY books!

  10. Lynnette, I agree with you on names that are difficult to pronounce, but I think if the name fits the character, then an author should go with it and just creatively find a way to let the reader know how the name's pronounced.

    Frankly, I'd rather read about a hero with an interesting name than one called Sylvanus (even if it's a historical and he's a prince/king).

    I'm working on a three-book series in which the heroes have interesting (not hard to pronounce) names. The underlying idea was to write about sizling HOT, wealthy African heroes with lofty names no one other than they could possibly live up to. They have the attitude to go with their names, but the truth is, the names are just a fun factor for me (hehe)

    And really we can't all call our heroes Michael or Pete or Jim. There has to be the occasional Farooq or Riaan or Malaika or Sierra ...

    don't you think?

  11. Don't worry, folks. I have no problem with not-so-common names, but just don't go overboard. LOL

    Lynnette Labelle