Wednesday, August 22, 2012


I think the thing that creeps me out the most at work is when people use my name. Total strangers whom I have never known before. I know it's better than "hey you", but call it a pet peeve of mine. If I don't know you outside that building and/or you haven't been in there more than once? Don't call me by name. You're not my friend. You're my customer. I am not going to be buddy-buddy with you.

A lot of people ask about naming characters, too. They don't ask me, of course (You gotta have chops for that) but in the forums I visit inevitably they'll ask "What about names? How do you come up with those?" and the inevitable come up: Baby books, fancy names, remember what you like. Ect. Ect. Names are surprisingly important. Just not the way we think of names as being.

People are more likely to be successful if they have a normal name. Jane. Bob. John. Edward. Ana (my reading tastes suck sometimes. Yes. I read Fifty Shades of Gray. Yes. I LIKED Fifty Shades, and yes, eventually I will blog about that series. Someday.) (also, dear readers, never ever ever write a book where ENTIRE E-MAIL CHAINS are reproduced IN THEIR ENTIRETY. It does not work out) It gives us the impression of being solid...and kind of makes it easier for us to exchange our name for theirs.

My favorite book heroine who is not Honor Harrington (Because we can't all be Honor) is named Jane. The only slightly scary vamp in Twilight? Jane. The most snuggable character in Firefly? Jayne, which is one Y away from being a girl's name.

You know when I get annoyed with books? It is when someone starts getting fancy with names. I hated the names of everyone in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy except for Arthur Dent. I made it about three pages into Old Doc Methusulah before L. Ron Hubbard's idea of a good name made my eyes cross, and we are not going to get into what Mission Earth did to me (actually, we will. Very soon. Jesus Christ was that a bad book. I can almost forgive LRH for Scientology. I can't forgive him ever for Jettero Heller)

There are books with non-normal names that I do like. The Belgariad, for example (FYI that stands for every David Eddings novel ever written. They are all the Belgariad, just with the names changed). But he hit on a naming game that kind of eases you into it. Garion is Garion, which looks close enough to normal, Belgarath is Mr. Wolf when you meet him, Polgara is Aunt Pol, Silk is Silk...and in all his other books it doesn't matter because you recognise that Serephrena/Aphrael/Emmy/Mother Goddess Person from Elder Gods is Polgara in a new hat. (I think that he gave up after The Belgariad and didn't bother recycling Garion. Sparhawk/Althalus is Belgarath) BUT! he plays games with the names, gives you something kind of normal (Pol, Wolf, Silk, Errand) to hang your hat on so when the real stuff shows up (Polgara, Belgarath, Kheldar) you're already in love with the character.

Point? There isn't really one. Just a nice rambling for your evening pleasure.

No comments:

Post a Comment