February 11, 2010

Rant: Stupid Names

I'm in a cranky mood as it is right now - no particular reason, just have a black cloud over my head for the last few days, so a rant seems appropriate. I need some way to vent frustration and such so I'm going to take it out on books with annoying character names.

Some names are pretentious or just straight annoying, but you can live with them. Often these are books which are guilty of the Mary-Sueism which seems to have consumed  modern "literature" like a blood sucking, sparkling parasite. I'll read something with names which cause my eyes to roll, but I'll keep reading if the story or book is good, and I can forgive the poor name choice eventually. Even if the names are beyond ridiculous and the story is redeeming, the atmosphere effective, the writing style is good or I just enjoy the book (i.e. Poppy Z. Brite - Lost Souls), I can let it go and not be bothered too much by it.

But yesterday I was reading a short story from the anthology of Vampiric Erotica, "Love in Vein", which had names so horrible, I couldn't read the story. I didn't care - the names stuck out at me in a way which made my eyes hurt. It might have been a piece of literary genius, (although chances are probably not) I just stopped reading when the third ridiculous name came up.  Now you might think me over dramatic but let me list the culprits: Eeesheeea, Neeeneeeiah, Beeetheeeor and Reeezthorreee.

Yes - horrible aren't they?

I literally winced while reading them. While names are a trivial part of writing and writing classes don't preach about dodgy names, having a name that is actually painful to write down with about 500 Es is just taking the piss. The fourth ridiculous name made me go to the next story - I just didn't care any more. Fortunately a lot of the other stories in the book are actually good.

Funny scenarios cropped into my mind envisioned by these names - an ambulance going down a hill at fast speed with someone shouting the character's name and being distorted by the Doppler effect or a shirtless William Shatner *shudder* screaming "Kaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhnnnnnnnnnn!"

So yes names, ridiculous names, if the spelling isn't raping the alphabet are annoying, but liveable... but as soon as you are inserting a stupid amount of eees or ssssss or whatever stupid letter that your keyboard is currently stuck on to give you more than the appropriate sum then - please don't write, love bitchy me xxx

1 comment:

B Chadwick said...

Those names are truly atrocious!

I take a long, long time finalizing a name in my stories - is it too odd? Too common? Would their parents be inclined to that type of name? Does it fit them? Do they make it fit their personalities?

I like the weird names, but there is no reason to take the cake that your story can be the only one with a name like Reeezthorreee.