Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Fictional Names

Now and then I have been accused of creating oddball names for many of the characters in my fiction. As a criticism, I suppose the implication is that an odd name is a cover for an uninteresting character. At the very least, so it is said, an odd name distracts the reader.

For as much as I have had my share of published Jims and Sharons and Jacks and Donnas and Alices, I would still bow to said critics, however, as I peruse my coterie of loveable beings: Poison, Spicy, Splotchy, Fence, Quitno, Analda, Youthven, Frank Terrible, Jenny Rain-and-Patch, Iphigenia, Grenada, Nehemiah, Haluminia, Zenwin, Euphrid, Prominence, Pissy, Naura, Cherisse. There are others, many others.

Perhaps, in naming these clowns, heroes, and miscreants, I am simply reacting to a lifetime of woundings attendant upon having an odd middle name and an odd last name. Perhaps, as some critics allege, putting an odd moniker on a character is a “cheap” way to get a character noticed, as opposed to the sort of long, intricate, and involved sort of development that truly locks our fictional favorites into our hearts and minds.

Could be.

Where I blanch, however, where I get snitty and snarky and slightly dyspeptic is when somebody says that a fiction with oddly-named characters simply diverges too greatly from real life. Real people are just not like that; hence, the fiction can’t possibly be any good.

In rebuttal, I offer the picture above, undoctored, and located on the northwest corner of Main and Exchange Streets in Sycamore, Illinois. If you need an explanation, you haven’t been paying attention.

I rest my case.


At 8:45 PM, Anonymous W.S. Wuori said...

That was funny.

And, as the proud recipient of one of those unusual names, I was especially pleased.


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