Writing Improvement Software

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Are You Embarrassing Your Characters?

Your characters. After living every detail of their lives over the course of months, or even years, they easily come to mean more to you than words on "paper". You take such care in your main character's descriptions, but after some of the books I've read the past couple months, I have  to wonder just how much thought went in to naming them.
Character names have now made my small list of writing peeves. Many names evoke visions of certain characteristics, and can really help in giving your readers an even greater sense of your characters. It's not uncommon for authors to shorten names, as well, just as we do in real life. This is where the horror of it all comes into play.
We can expect that a name like Alexander would be shortened to Alex, or even Lex. Isabella easily turns into Izzy or Bella. But why, for the love of God, would anyone shorten Kelly to Kel, Nelson to Nel, or Cary to Car?
I'm old enough to have listened to a classic song by Johnny Cash called A Boy Named Sue more than a few times, and while I've yet to come across a book that actually has a male character named Sue (thankfully), some of the names I've seen haven't been that far off from being an embarrassment to the character having to suffer with it.
This post is simply a reminder on behalf of all the characters currently hanging their heads in shame, and for all those standing in line waiting anxiously- and a bit fearfully, to be named, please, use as much care in the names you choose as you do with their descriptions.
Because names really do matter :)

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