Therese busting in to officially welcome Carleen Brice to Writer Unboxed. This is her first post with us as a regular monthly contributor. We’re so glad to have you, Carleen!
As you almost certainly know by now, Beyoncé and Jay Z recently welcomed a new baby into the world. They named her Blue Ivy Carter. Twitter blew up (blue up?) with people ridiculing the name and people defending it. For the record, I like it. Also for the record, I know it doesn’t matter whether I like it or not. She’s not my child.
But it got me to thinking there are times when it does matter whether or not I like a name, and that’s when it’s a character in a book I’m reading. I wish writers were more careful about using offbeat names in novels. New writers especially tend to exhaust their imaginations on characters’ names. But they’re not alone. I’ve read more than a few published novels in which wacky character names put me off. One that comes to mind is Where the Heart Is. Novalee Nation and Sister Husband were a bit much but still manageable, but the kids named after sweets? I couldn’t go there. I know it was comic, but I found it a little too ain’t-those-country-folk-charming. Worse, it took me out of the story and made me aware of the writing.
It was too much kooky for me and I love me some kooky (for example I very much enjoyed a girl named Davie Jones). In fact, I now must confess that my work in progress has two characters with offbeat names. But I believe they are balanced by characters with more common names. [Read more…]