Thursday, July 12, 2012

What's in a name?

Credit to whoever owns this image.

I'm sure you're asking yourself, "Why does she have a picture of Fabio on this post?" Well, there is a very good reason. No, I swear! There is! And it all has to do with names and why they are important.

While looking at the Weather Channel, I saw a post about the latest tropical storm and its name. They mentioned jokes and I could see why. The storm's name is Fabio. Now, that picture makes sense doesn't it? Fabio is a perfect name for something smooth like a hot guy, (Not him. At least for me. But the Fabio from Top Chef totally has my vote!) Or maybe even a dirty old man who's chasing after a pretty young girl. Nothing about the name makes me think dangerous tropical storm that could cause damage and possible hurt or kill someone. And that's what this post is about.

Naming a character is like naming a tropical storm. It should convey what and who that character is. Picture the evil queen in Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent. Her name was dark and evil. Heck, it was derived from malevolent. Her name told exactly what her part in the story was and who she was a person. Now imagine if her name had been Glitter. You wouldn't have taken her so seriously would you? That is why names are so important.

Now, there are times using Glitter for example would be perfectly fine. Like if you wanted to mislead your reader into thinking the character wasn't the bad guy, that name would be perfect. In the end it all comes down to your character. You should choose a name that fits who they are and not who you wish they could be. If they're menacing and dangerous, I'd dodge Fabio at all cost. But then again, maybe Fabio can be dangerous. It all depends on how you write him after all.

What names would you not take seriously?

Until next time, happy reading/writing everybody!


  1. Glitter is hard for me to take seriously. Chip. I knew a Chip growing up so that might influence it - you could never take him seriously (but in a good way because he always lightened the mood). Bubba (which sounds horrible because it's both my dog's boyfriend's name and my nephew's nickname but I refuse to call him that). Um, I'm sure there are a ton more. I say all this, but if you wrote a really good character, I bet the names wouldn't be on my list anymore! And Fabio never did it for me either!

    1. I like your list! And I'm glad I wasn't the only one who felt that way about Fabio. I have no idea where Glitter came from. It just seemed like a ridiculous name for an evil queen. Every time I hear Chip I can't help but think of the tea cup from Beauty & the Beast or the guy from the movie Shag. Bubba is like a good 'ole boy name. Thank you for the comment!

  2. True fact about Fabio Viviani: He looks and acts astonishingly like my boyfriend (who is also Italian). We watch Ciao Chow all the time and my BF likes to pretend he knows how to cook and could totally follow along with the recipes if he ever wanted to. It's adorable.

    ANYWAY back on topic. You know something weird about names? I don't know what it is, but everybody's MCs lately in WIPs I've read have had *weird* names. Which I can understand if you're writing sci-fi or fantasy or something, but why do all these people in contemporary YA have bizarre totally-made-up names? Were all their parents hippies? It always confuses me.

    1. Seriously? That's kind of awesome! :)

      I think with names like Apple and Suri in the world these days, weird names are the norm. Taisie, (My MC,) is an actual name that's been used for years, so I don't count it as weird even though it may be. But she's also part of a fantasy, so it all makes sense.

      I make it a goal to choose names that make sense to my story and characters. Really, that's how I feel it should always be. If your character seems like they'd have a common name, go for it. If not, do that too. Thank you for your comment!