Wednesday, November 17, 2010

On Naming

We don't like to tell our writers how to do their jobs; we're of the professional opinion that every submission you send is a compliment, and we want to read them, always. We're finding, though, that few things make such a quick (bad) impression on us as character names. We offer this brief tutorial in the spirit of learning, both yours and ours. Let's together see what awful names we can conjure up. Let's also be clear that a few of these are from real submissions, and that you get to guess which they are.

Avoid like hell the following:

Dirk Shadow
Richard Pepperidge
Victoria Saucedo
Dorian Quatorze
Franz Fabrizio
Francesca di Lombardi
Enrique de la Hoya-de la Cruz
Julia Tivitre
John Wayne Asimov
Jackson Fitipaldi
Archibald DeSoto
Leopold Tigre
Annie Tampa
Jason Crookshanks
Patrick Ewing
Jared Ubermensch
Amanda Cheeks
Robert Tabernacle
Jack London
Jimmy Cross
Johnny Nightmare
Vladimir Potemkin
Cristobal Hammersmith
Mac McAfee
Jimmy Hoffa

As you can see, names should provide a sense of history, class, personality, and other characteristics, without being overbearing, unlikely, or self-contradictory. Uncanny Valley suggests trying these names for your characters instead:

Rhode Island Sinclair
Rosco Kiltweaver
Colonel Florence Baggins, Sr.
Bob and Charlotte Masterson-Masterson
Oliver Ways and Means
John Waterbaby
Danny Glover
Charlie "Bait 'n' Switch" Cheauxbauxcaux
Leopold C.M. Tigre (see the improvement?)
Jeffrey Abner James and Lilliput Huffington
H. Hugh Cleopatron

1 comment:

  1. I actually like Franz Fabrizio.

    UV should have a service wherein writers send in character names for judgment.