Names You Hate in Stories

  • jewelia.

    jewelia. (2225)

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    I've never seen a Raine or a Raven in any story I've ever read. I guess I just don't read much, then, apparently. Honestly, I've never even heard of the name Raine. :P
    I don't really know what to say on the terms of names like "Brittany" and "Ashley" being used as names for the popular girls. All the popular girls in my grade are named like that--Ashley, Chelsea, Brittany, Madison, etc.
    There are even some variations of names that I learned when I first moved to the place I live in now. Like, the leader of the popular group is named Brantley, and then there's Kelliann and Ghenaya. It's odd. heh. c:

    I absolutely love variations of flower names in stories! :) My character is named Lila, in reference to Lily. And I like any names associated with flowers, such as Viscaria or Rose. It's so elegant to me.
    June 28th, 2012 at 02:44pm
  • chai latte

    chai latte (225)

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    I don't like when a character has my name in a story. XD It's only happened twice and I know it's not the authors fault (and my name is quite lovely if I do say so myself so I can't blame them tehe), but it's just too weird for me. I can't do it.
    I don't like when all the characters have super-plain, average names. When I'm naming my characters, I usually give the main characters names that are "normal" but not boring (in a story I'm writing now some of the main characters are Zackariah, Ann-Marie, Lorenzo, Cecilia, Luke, Noah, etc.), and then with those minor characters who only pop up now and then, I have a little bit more fun with the names (Daisy Adoree, Sebastian Sparrow, Dallas King, etc.).

    But if all the characters are Janes, Johns, and Joes, than it's so easy to get them mixed up even if they have distinct personalities. On the flip side, when they all have these goofy, out-there names, the same thing happens.
    July 3rd, 2012 at 02:47pm
  • Somethin'else

    Somethin'else (100)

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    This is really making me think about how important the character's name is. But some of you guys on here are extremely picky! Smile You shouldn't judge a whole book just because one of the characters names bug you. But then again, thank you because I do realize now that I should do a bit of research before choosing a name.
    July 4th, 2012 at 03:54am
  • thelastpainter

    thelastpainter (110)

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    I dislike some...not really old names, but...I guess they would be considered such. I like some names that you commonly see on older folks. (I met an older woman today named Evelyn, and that's usually commonly a name between older women and such. But I love that name.) But names like Hazel, Wilma, Beatrice...

    I just can't stand them. XD I wouldn't stop reading a book because of it, but sometimes I'm just like, "Why would you name a child that in current times?" And I just stop to think that.

    Like in the book Divergent by Veronica Roth. The main character is named Beatrice. It just doesn't seem to fit. Especially when it appears to be set in the future, and names have probably changed to some degree.
    July 4th, 2012 at 04:22am
  • Icamane Hatake

    Icamane Hatake (250)

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    @ unfurl your wings.
    The only time I've ever read "older" names working on "younger" characters is A Series of Unfortunate Events. I don't know why, but those books have this perfect mix of old and new, and the names really fit everything.

    @ Somethin'else
    I believe it's super important. Little details like names can make or break a story, I think. For example, I just read a book that for the first chapter, I was really into it. It was really interesting and I was excited to see where it was going. Then I hit the second chapter, the main female character was introduced, and I hated her name. It took me ages to get used to it, and to finish the book. I still don't like her name xD It didn't necessarily make the story itself bad, just her character highly unappealing. For me, that was kind of a deal breaker because I read books for characters.
    July 4th, 2012 at 04:41am
  • solo sunrise

    solo sunrise (260)

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    I think that some people can get too picky sometimes. Yes, it is good to research names and stuff.

    But I see some people complaining that they either don't like 'different' names or they don't like 'common' names. So if it's a futuristic sci-fi, am I supposed to have a bunch of Marys and Bills running around? But at the same time, if it's a historical fiction, I won't have very many Jaydens or Zoes.

    So I think that any names are fine, as long as they...well, fit.
    July 4th, 2012 at 06:18am
  • Icamane Hatake

    Icamane Hatake (250)

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    @ Thylacine
    That's pretty much the basis of everyone's argument. I mean, there are certain names that make us cringe, but as long as it fits, there's no problem.

    A lot of people just apparently have a hard time with that.
    July 4th, 2012 at 06:29am
  • bellamy blake

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    @ Thylacine
    I feel the same way. There are no names in themselves that I feel are inherently bad, as a lot of people seem to be using this thread to state. To me, if a name sticks out like a sore thumb and doesn't mesh well with the character or the story, that's the only time it bugs me.

    I mean, it just seems incredibly trivial to me to stop reading a story just because a character has a certain name. That's even worse than people that are overly pretentious about story layouts Facepalm

    @ unfurl your wings.
    I know a lot of people my own age with "older" names, and I think you're kind of forgetting that a lot of people are named after family members, so often times, that's where they get a more old-fashioned name. There was a girl in one of my classes named Evelyn, and I have friends with the names Helen and Ellen because they were named after a grandmother or something of that nature. I even grew up with a girl whose name was Beatrice, but her parents shortened it to "Bea" for her so it didn't feel incredibly out-of-place.
    Quirky:
    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.
    Peyton is not that new of a name Shifty Peyton Manning, the professional football player, is thirty-six years old. Three of my friends growing up have younger siblings named Peyton, and all these Peytons are in high school now, which is the same age as most of the characters people write about on here.
    July 4th, 2012 at 02:31pm
  • chai latte

    chai latte (225)

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    @ i saw sparks
    I agree. I mean, I'm somewhat picky but like you said, as long as the name "fits" within the context of the story and the character, I'm fine with just about any name. Like I mentioned in my last post, the only time a specific name will make me quit reading a story is if one of the main characters has my name (Samantha) because it's just too weird for me, which I know isn't fair but I can't help it. XD Thankfully Samantha doesn't seem to be at all common in online fiction.

    One of the major secondary characters in my story is named Evelyn. tehe I adore that name. I've never really considered it "old-fashioned" either, but maybe that's just me.

    And I had the exact same thoughts about the name Peyton. I know a lot of Peytons who are within my age group, which is the age group most often written about on here, as well as Peytons who are much older (like your Peyton Manning example). Idk, I personally like the name Peyton a lot, especially for boys. And wow, I wonder how many more times I could've said "Peyton" in this paragraph. XD
    July 4th, 2012 at 02:44pm
  • thelastpainter

    thelastpainter (110)

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    @ i saw sparks

    I do get what you mean with that. I'm not entirely hating on characters with older names, because that does happen, but I'm mostly talking about in things like science-fiction, or stories where it's placed in the future. Those kinds of names just seem to be out of place. Like in The Hunger Games the characters had different names that seemed to show how the naming of children grew as the times went on. Like Cato, Clove, Glimmer...Those names seemed to fit in to me, because it appears the names others named their children seemed to evolve over time. But in the case of Divergent it doesn't seem to. Now, if other characters are named different, stranger names, then I'll see why...But it just seems too far in time for all characters to have those kinds of names. If that makes sense. Shifty But I do get what you mean, and that sometimes parents name their kids after grandparents, uncles, aunts, deceased relatives and other such things. It makes sense with that.

    But even now, in our time, which is at least fifty or more years after those names were extremely common, you don't see them being used that often. Or at least I don't; I've never met a Wilma, Hazel, Beatrice, Margret, or anything like that that's on anyone around my age. /rambling
    July 4th, 2012 at 02:52pm
  • bellamy blake

    bellamy blake (3280)

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    @ chai latte
    See, I grew up with three Samantha's (they all happened to be named Samantha Nicole as well, so apparently that was a popular name in my hometown in the earluy 90s XD), so it kind of surprises me that that name isn't that popular in online fic as well. But I get what you mean about being a little weirded out. The only other Kandi I've ever come across was a character in a slash fic that was a guy, which weirded me out, not because it was my name, but because it's a pretty girly name XD

    I don't know, when I hear the name "Peyton," I automatically think either Peyton Manning or the character from One Tree Hill XD

    @ unfurl your wings.

    I get what you mean, but at the same time, I don't think an old-fashioned name is all that odd in a futuristic novel, only because there are names that are still around now (think John, Mark, Luke, etc) that were around hundreds of years ago. I actually thought the Hunger Games was off in the fact that all of the names were strange.

    As I said, I know several people who have old-fashioned names due to family names, so it doesn't come across as that unrealistic to me. Going off of your example of "Margaret," my best friend growing up had a double name after her two grandmothers, Mary Margaret, but maybe it's just a Southern thing that we tend to have more family-related names and names that are passed down.

    If names are being carried down for generations upon generations now, I find it stranger that that wouldn't still occur in the future.
    July 4th, 2012 at 02:59pm
  • chai latte

    chai latte (225)

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    @ i saw sparks
    Yeah, when I was in middle school, there were two other Samanthas, and then during high school I met two or three more. According to a lot of those baby name lists I've looked through, it was a really popular name in the early/mid 90s, so I always found it weird that it wasn't more popular in online fiction as well. Oh well, I'm certainly not complaining. XD

    Ahaha, the character from One Tree Hill is who I always picture too, because she was my favorite just for her awesome hair. tehe
    One thing I don't like regarding names is when an author tries to have racial diversity in their story by having some black characters, which is definitely great, but then they go and give them these ridiculous, super-stereotypical "black " names. I know there are quite a few names which genuinely are just more popular among black people (I've met a ton of Shantes and Jemals, for example), but I recently read a story where one of the girls was black, and her name was seriously Shiniqua-Lakeisha. Facepalm Ironically, all the stories I've read that have stereotypical "black" names like that were written by authors who, at least in their profile picture, are white. Rolling Eyes
    July 4th, 2012 at 03:15pm
  • bellamy blake

    bellamy blake (3280)

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    @ chai latte

    I totally agree about stereotyping names by the race of the character. The majority of African American girls I know and go to school with have "white girl" names like Brittany and Michelle, and my best friend (who is white XD) is named Autum Phalisha (her mom named her after soap opera characters), which would be considered a "ghetto" name Facepalm My older brother hangs out with a ton of black guys, and while they have crazy nicknames (as does my brother), they all have fairly traditional names.

    --

    I don't like the concept that a lot of writers have about going through baby name websites and trying to name their characters based on their personality, just because I feel like, in life, it works in reverse. Your name isn't fitted to your personality, you as a person give your name a certain meaning and connotation.

    It doesn't work like, "Oh, this character is a punk rocker, so therefore she has to have a hardcore name" or "Oh, this girl is preppy, so she has to have a 'popular girl' name." My best friend listens to death metal, but she has a "ghetto" name, so obviously, life doesn't work that way. Based on the way a ton of people name their characters, my name would only be used for a stripper character lmfao
    July 4th, 2012 at 03:30pm
  • thelastpainter

    thelastpainter (110)

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    @ i saw sparks

    Oh, I really don't think it's odd in one either! I meant the same with the odd names, but with a mix of both. I know they'd be passed down, but it's odd if there's all odd, or all older names. Names will always be carried down and there will be names that are from four hundred years ago, but there will also be differences.

    Even now we can see how names are changing, really. I see tons of names like "Brayden," "Kayden," and such things as that and those, or at least the spellings and such, are not at all like names back fifty years ago. Even birth name, Chelsea, was rarely, or not at all, seen back then. Neither of my parents had heard of it in a way that it would be common. As time passes, names will change, and all the characters wont be named old or new/strange names.

    It's the same if all the names were strange, because the eradication (unless it's another world, then it makes sense.) of all older/more heard of names is most likely impossible.

    I'm okay with older names, really, but I meant more if all (in both directions) are like that, where it'd be strange if all the characters were named with names that are from a hundred or so years ago. Unless it's explained that it has become a tradition or something to name all children after ancestors and such.
    July 4th, 2012 at 03:40pm
  • chai latte

    chai latte (225)

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    @ i saw sparks
    The same stereotyping happens a lot with Asian and Hispanic characters, too. Like, they'll have a Mexican girl and she'll have like, five first names and twelve middle names and the joint surnames.

    And in my experience, with most of the American-born Asians I've met, they'll have a "normal" American first name and only their surname is traditionally Asian. But with Asians in stories, it's like the author picked the "coolest" sounding Asian name and just slapped it on their character. Or I hate when the character is supposed to be like, Chinese or something, but the the author gives them a Japanese name. Facepalm It's like, I appreciate you trying to be ethnically diverse, but you kinda just cancelled it out with the stereotyping.

    Which reminds me: characters who are 100% American-bred white kids, but then have a Japanese name for no discernible reason. Ugh, just no.

    And on your second point, I totally agree and I think that has a lot to do with authors seeming to forget that your character didn't name themselves--their parents did. Like, in my story, one of the main character's first and middle name is Luke Matthew, because his parents are very religious. I think when naming a character, the main thing you need to consider is what the parents would likely name them based on their upbringing, social/economic class, personality, the area they live in, etc.
    July 4th, 2012 at 04:00pm
  • Captain Mars

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    @ chai latte
    I remember when I was twelve, I was a huge anime fan. I gave my characters Japanese names like, Natsumi and Kakeru. I had no idea what the names meant or anything. I just thought "Anime is so cool, I'm gonna give all my characters Japanese names." In my defense, the characters could very well have been Japanese but, they were so underdeveloped that there was really no way to tell. Facepalm
    July 4th, 2012 at 05:50pm
  • chai latte

    chai latte (225)

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    @ Captain Mars
    XD I was the same way when I was younger, except instead of Japanese, I was obsessed with Europe and so I'd give all my characters these outlandish European names, especially Eastern European. Like, I'd have my average American white kid with some crazy Russian name like Mikhail Nikolai Aleksandr Sergeyevich. Oh, it was so hilariously awful.
    July 4th, 2012 at 06:05pm
  • Mr. Darcy

    Mr. Darcy (16090)

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    I don't like how some authors try to make every name mean something. I mean, my parents named me Kayleigh but it doesn't mean anything in the family, they just found it in a baby name book and named me it. And with my younger sister, I named her but the name was just something I knew this girl who was like five years younger than me in school had and I thought it sounded pretty. Sure, some people do have names that mean something in the family/culture/religion/etc but not everyone's like that. My sister got her daughter's name from Teen Mom. Facepalm But it's a nice name and really suits my niece.
    July 4th, 2012 at 06:37pm
  • Icamane Hatake

    Icamane Hatake (250)

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    I'm going to be picky again xD

    I hate the name Serena or any variation (Selena, Serene, ect.) I used not to hate it, but I've been around looking for Harry Potter fanfics, and I swear to Holy Dumbledore that every single terribly written Mary Sue OC was named Serena or Selena OMFG What is this? What is this?

    I can't even take the name seriously in real life anymore, and I know someone named Selina Facepalm
    July 4th, 2012 at 07:19pm
  • Blackjack.

    Blackjack. (100)

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    I don't like the name Raine in any of it's variations. In all honesty, I did once know of someone called Raine, because she was going out with a sort-of friend of mine. His name? Sunny Facepalm

    I know a few people with unusual names, and I try to reflect that in my stories. I have an English friend whose name is Ayla - it's Turkish, and there is a British equivalent, Isla, with the same pronunciation but a different meaning. I have a mixed race friend whose name is Yami, even though she is not Asian in any way. So I don't really mind names that don't fit cultures unless the name itself is awful. Same with made up names - I don't mind them, but I think they should at least be based on a pre-existing name or word.

    I like names that mean things, but I wouldn't go all out and call my character 'Raven Black' because she was a vampire or an emo so it sounds cool. There are a lot of common, or at least more subtle, names that mean the same thing, like Leila or Razina. If I'm choosing a name based on meaning or an unusual name, I try to keep in mind what the parents would think. So I have a character called Artemisia Athene because her parents are Classical Greek professors, and they couldn't agree on which one to choose.
    July 9th, 2012 at 01:08pm