Names You Hate in Stories

  • spacejunkie

    spacejunkie (100)

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    I hate overused 'original' names like Raven and Hunter. Half the Mary Sues in history have been called that.

    I also agree with all the people who say a really unusual name should only be used if there's a story behind it. Unusual spellings and uncommon names are fine, but if your character is called Rainbow River Miracle, you should probably establish that her parents are hippies. It doesn't matter if it matches her personality. That wasn't present at birth when she was presumably named, and if she has re-named herself later, that needs to be made clear, too.
    June 21st, 2012 at 09:31am
  • Before 1975;

    Before 1975; (150)

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    I hate a lot of names.

    I hate super common names like Bethany and Jane because I already know so many girls with those names that I already have set personalities for them in my head. My best friend is named Mahkala Elizabeth Hope —, and any variant of her name annoys me because I spend the whole story thinking about her and her personality. I can't stand to see any of my names, Michael Roslyn Nicole Milam, used in any form because I just spend the story thinking about myself. I also don't like Mickey or Rose to be used in stories because they're my real life nicknames.

    I hate when the name doesn't fit the character. An average teenager born in a religious small town isn't going to be named Moonlight Jaded or Never Ending Sadness. Likewise, in a story set in feudal Japan(Yes, Naruto fandom, I'm pointing at you!), you shouldn't have characters named Lindsey Marks or Jade Hale. It really annoys me when an author can't even be bothered to research what names are popular for their character's ethnicity, time period, and social class.

    On the flip side, I don't really mind unusual names or spellings as long as they're easy to pronounce, and as long as the author explains why they have that name. In my own story, the lead characters are named Rhode Matthews and Emelia Yronwood which are both a tad unusual. Yet, if the name is something totally crazy, I hate it simply because it's difficult to read a story when I have to stop every few lines to remind myself how to pronounce the character's name.

    However, I do love gender bending names. As a girl named Michael, I do have a bias toward that trend. My male cousin is named Emily Ciel, and I absolutely adore his name. For example, I like Matthew, Jamie, Noah, Arthur, Eli, Spencer, Christian, and Jude for girls while I like Emily, Aubrey, Lauren, Cassidy, Morgan, Courtney, and Madison for boys. It's very unusual, but I think it works.

    So to each their own, I guess. Victory
    June 21st, 2012 at 10:39pm
  • Jack Donaghy

    Jack Donaghy (450)

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    the kingslayer.:
    I hate super common names like Bethany and Jane because I already know so many girls with those names that I already have set personalities for them in my head.
    It's the opposite for me; I love common names because I know so many people by that name and they're all so different that I don't have preconceptions of how people with that name are – whereas I've only ever met one Noelia, so if I saw that name I'd always think of the girl whose locker was next to mine in high school.

    I really dislike surnames as first names, though. I know it's a bit silly and irrational but it bugs me.
    June 21st, 2012 at 11:24pm
  • thataznchick

    thataznchick (100)

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    I don't like reading stories where my name is used. I like my name. It's just that, when I read the story, I keep thinking they're talking about me and well... it creeps me out.

    I also don't like it when characters who's first name is Princess. Or Luna. Or something asian-related when the character isn't Asian or even adopted by Asian people.
    Why would an all-American family name their white, born in America, daughter Yumiko?

    I also really don't like it when the character's name is more than 3 names long (First, middle, last). It's okay if their last names are two names put together through marriage (ex. Smith-Jones) but when you name a character, Destiny Raven Diamond Flora Terry Nina Dimensions because you just couldn't make up your mind or think it sounds great... well... I'd like to visit you with a baseball bat. A metal one.
    June 22nd, 2012 at 11:22am
  • XxNijinoDoreixX

    XxNijinoDoreixX (100)

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    Well, I would say that I've actually heard of people with some names that are completely out there and possibly insane to name your children that, but :) I like really unique names. I would agree on the whole last name basis, and since I'm also not much a fan of reading stories with things such as werewolves, vampires, demons, or other worldly creatures (NOT to say I wont, I just have not lately, and haven't had a desire to as of late) so these extremely cliche or overly unique names are not as common. I mean, I've known a Raven, Skylar (also a Skylara), Samoyah, Keyondrey, Becky, Austin, Justin, Kayden, Zayden Jayden, haha...I mean names are names. I know people who named their children after cities, countries Paris, China, Africa, London, Asia (yup, those are all names that I can think off the top of my head that I know people named after. Not just babies, but adults, like my ex boyfriend, his aunt was named China, Asia was a class mate, Africa was a baby and London and Paris I met in SF). I don't really care about names, but I would say something soooooooo difficult to read or pronounce or just is ridiculously long, example being Alliexandriousnessness :) which is completely made up but yes, if I am like, umm who would EVER name a person that?? Like my daughter may have the unfortunate task of being named by me. I like greek names (Also biblical names, my sons will, if I have two, be named Gabriel and Michael) so my daughter may have a name such as Aphrodite ;) only cause it's beautiful! Yeah, a weird story behind it but whatever, it's still supposed to be about beauty.

    Also, in American/European culture I suppose it's common for names to only be three to four words long BUT I do know in other cultures I've seen/heard names as long as eight words long which isn't common but it doesn't really bother me so much as long as it's used appropriately, such as a background into (say your character is Dominican) the story, such as in my family's culture, each sibling gets to add on to your name.
    June 22nd, 2012 at 04:29pm
  • sansa.

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    As well as the above with the silly emo mary-sue names, I hated all the names in The Hunger Games. I think it wrecked the whole book for me. If Katniss had been Katherine or something, and Peeta had been Peter, I would have enjoyed it so much more.
    June 22nd, 2012 at 11:20pm
  • WondrousSerendipity

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    Maybe it's because I'm just slightly obsessive over tiny details, but one thing I can't stand in stories is historically inaccurate names. It puts me off so much when I see typically modern names such as 'Tyler' in a story which is set in like, the middle ages. I think if you're going to write historical fiction you should at least take the time to do a bit of research and find names appropriate to the place and time period. Neutral
    June 25th, 2012 at 03:34am
  • Fandango

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    @ WondrousSerendipity
    Yes. Oh God.

    And also, you have to consider the time the character was born. For instance, I was born in 1994. Popular names were Megan, Courtney and Shannon, not Brydon or Kayden or something equally ridiculous (see: Made Up).

    Not that there weren't unusual names, but it distracts the reader if they can't, for example, pronounce the name in their head.
    June 25th, 2012 at 08:05am
  • daisyfairy

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    I hate completely ridiculous names. I'm writing a sort of post-apocalyptic story where the protagonists were born after this virus, so they have slightly different names. Immy, Jaz, Elosen, and Ally, so far. I didn't want to give them outrageous stupid names, but at the same time I didn't want to call them something too common. It's hard to get the balance right.

    Also, yes, emo Mary-Sue names need to stop being a thing. Ebony, or anything to do with the night sky/moon.

    Or if a lot of characters in the same story have quite 'unique' names, it's just strange. Sure, there may be a Blanche at a high-school, or something, but there will also be a fair few people called Lucy, or James, or Kate.
    June 25th, 2012 at 02:59pm
  • Captain Mars

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    @ daisyfairy
    I like strange names for futuristic stories as long as they're easy to pronounce. Something like "Skyzzlearia" makes me read the name as "mmrrpphhmmrrm".
    June 25th, 2012 at 04:49pm
  • Icamane Hatake

    Icamane Hatake (250)

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    @ Captain Mars
    I read that as "Sky-zilla" tehe
    But I agree as well. I think sic-fi and fantasy, it's easier to get away with more "out there" names than with realistic fiction.
    I don't like when a character says something like, "My name means harmony!" or whatever, and the meaning doesn't match up with the character's personality. If you're going out of your way to find names that fit, then actually find names that fit!
    June 25th, 2012 at 06:31pm
  • heeytara

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    @ saeglopur
    My nephew's name is Jayden!
    June 25th, 2012 at 08:21pm
  • daughter

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    Peyton.

    Peyton kills me. Every single time. Whether it's for a boy or a girl, I don't care; every time I click open a story and see the name Peyton I immediately exit out. I mean, really? You can't get any more original than Peyton?

    Also, other over-used names like Charlotte, Jasey, Holly, Anne, Whitney, Aubrey, etc. And I also hate when I see the cliche "boy" names used on girls, such as Charlie, Kyle, Dani, Carter and that god awful Peyton. Ugh.

    Personally, I prefer older, tamer names. My characters all have boring names like Natalie, Cassie, Annabelle, Carrie, Joanna, etc. Just flat and not interesting whatsoever. A name shouldn't add to a character's "edge"; a character should develop their own edginess as a result of their personality. Honestly, if your character has the name Razorblade, I'd just as soon assume that he's a big fat pussy.
    June 25th, 2012 at 09:05pm
  • done in love.

    done in love. (200)

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    @ cap'n crash
    Just out of curiosity, why don't you like Peyton?

    And with the gender-swapping names, I feel like that can work out really well if the character has some kind of personal development along with it. Like, if a girl with a boy name grew up and developed somehow as a person because of having that name. For example, I bought a book (haven't read it yet though) about a girl with a boy's name that grew up with her parents telling her she was a boy, and then they changed their minds or something and wants her living like a girl now.

    To be honest, it's not all that realistic that all of the interesting people will have "flat and not interesting" names. That's not to say that all of someone's interesting characters need unusual names or anything, I'm just thinking that only choosing names like that might be a bit unrealistic. And I think those names are more over-used than the ones you listed as over-used, but maybe that's just me and the stories I've read, I dunno.
    June 26th, 2012 at 03:53am
  • daughter

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    @ musicalmasochist

    Peyton just seems like it's inescapable. To me, it feels like every cliche high school drama fic has either a hero or heroine named Peyton (or Payton, rather). The cliche high school stories are already stereotypical and predictable enough, but when you throw that name into the mix it's just a deal breaker for me. Just a personal thing, I suppose.

    You do have a point, though. I think that when you get to the good substantial stories, names like the ones I listed do tend to be used a bit. But let's face it, it's not uncommon to run into stories on here that are sub par (by my standards), and those stories are typically the ones with the Jaseys and the Hannahs.

    And how could having mostly traditional names be unrealistic? The majority of our population has traditional or older names...
    June 26th, 2012 at 04:30am
  • done in love.

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    @ cap'n crash
    Okay, I get that. I don't necessarily agree with the name, but I see sort of where you're coming from.

    Well honestly, the only time I've ever run into a Jacey was in real life. I'll agree about Hannah though. But I typically steer away from those sub-par stories anyways.

    I'm not saying traditional names are unrealistic. I'm saying that having only traditional names in a story is what's unrealistic. It's kind of like having only "unique" names is unrealistic. I personally know so many people with uncommon names that I find it unrealistic when I read something with no uncommon names in it.
    June 26th, 2012 at 05:32am
  • the power of justice

    the power of justice (100)

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    I hate it when the name doesn't match the era or character.

    Like, a posh white kid isn't gonna be named Lyric and a black kid living in the ghetto slums isn't going to be called Edward Spencer Eugene Worthington III.
    June 26th, 2012 at 09:39am
  • LoveForGiraffes

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    I can understand why a name would bother someone, but I don't see how it could be that much of a big deal to not even read the story. It could be a really great story, and you're missing out because of a name. :/That's just my opinion.
    June 26th, 2012 at 11:01pm
  • done in love.

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    @ LoveForGiraffes
    I agree so much! I couldn't imagine disliking a name so much that it would make me exit a story the second I saw it. I mean, there are names I don't like, but it's always worth giving everything a chance. You never really know.
    June 27th, 2012 at 01:28am
  • Quirky

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    I hate overly generic names for major characters. They're okay for minor characters, but if I see that your main character is called Michael or Ashley, it will probably make me think you didn't put adequate thought into naming your characters.

    But at the same time, some of the "unique" names that writers use aren't good either. Cliche villain/hero names like Damien or Raven are the worst. And names like Kayden (or Peyton, which someone else has mentioned) that are just becoming popular bug me too. If your character is twenty, she's probably not called Gracie.
    June 27th, 2012 at 02:45am