Nov 1, 2015

Should titles have bizarrely unique or comfortably normal names? - Cait @ Paper Fury

Hey guys! 

By the time you're reading this, I would be in India! And like I promised, here's the first fabulous guest post of this month!

Today, we have the amazing Cait from Paper Fury, who's here to talk about character names - whether they should be unique or not.

Over to you, Cait!

*Image credit goes to Cait.*

Character names are rather important. Even though, I admit, I usually forget names once I close a book. But while reading, I take note of names and either go "Nunnnngh WHAT EVEN" (because I am an eloquent pineapple like that) or I gasp and hug the name and then write it on my name-collection list. Yes. I collect names.

The real question is -- which is better: those entirely unique and unusual names that you never see anywhere else? OR: those names that you can pronounce and talk easily about?

Because, no matter how cool Daenerys Targaryen is in her badass epic dragon mothering...I can't talk about her to other humans. I can't even spell her name online without google's help. (Thank you google, rescuer of all.) But then if I mention my favourite character's name is "Sam"...well. Which one? There are only 9 billion literary Sams.

I've also noticed some names seem to light up like wildfire amongst YA books and you see them absolutely EVERYWHERE. I'm not such a fan of this. As much as I might like a name like "Sam", if I read it 2 billion times, it feels like a bland name and that might subconsciously influence my thoughts on the character.

Names That Seem Waaaay To Popular in YA Books:

I'm almost extra sure I've had enough Evas for...basically ever. And even though I think some names need to chill and leave the spotlight, they aren't necessarily a bad thing! Popular names can be comfortable and easy to remember.

But to flip that coin...what about the names that are unique and sometimes a bit quirky? Sometimes they leave me scratching my head, but other times I think they're absolutely awesome. I think they also vouch for the author's creativity. Unless the name is Jdkieeklwwy'Vm Ikwwwyrn -- then no. Stop. Also Celtic names are just out to be evil and confusing.

Uniquely Awesome Names That Stand Out:

  • Skulduggery Pleasant from...Skulduggery Pleasant
  • Lyra Belacqua from The Golden Compass
  • Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone
  • Eustace Clarence Scrubb from Narnia
  • Hermione Granger from Harry Potter
  • Ponyboy Curtis from The Outsiders
  • Finnikin from Finnikin of the Rock
  • Morpheus from Splintered
  • Celaena Sardothien from Throne of Glass

Names like these basically brand their books! You don't think of Katniss as a plant right?! She is the girl on fire! And I've never read another literary Hermione. If the name is mostly original to its story, I think it has a better chance of standing out from the crowd.

Which do I prefer? I prefer reading names I can pronounce. That's my only wish! I think, truly, I do prefer the names that are just a smidge odd. It does help me remember them a bit better. Like in A Series of Unfortunate Events?! Who is going to forget names like Lemony Snicket and Quigley Quagmire?! NOT ME. As long as the unique names don't get too silly with a million letters or crazy spellings (like exchanging all the i's for y' Myllycent. Ooh! How unique [no].) then I like to see something a little bit DIFFERENT amongst the hordes of Evas and Wrens in YA books.

Time to DISCUSS!! Which do you prefer -- unique or unusual? Are you tired of seeing characters with the same names or does it not bother you?! OH! And what kind of names do you think are "ridiculous" or too "boringly average"?! Share in the comments!!

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