On Life

Crazy Names in Fiction

The Art of Fielding. Photo credit: http://erickimberly.com
The Art of Fielding. Photo credit: http://erickimberly.com

Hello, Readers. I’m back from vacation, but only 3/4 of the way through “The Art of Fielding,” which I had hoped to finish on my trip. I guess that’s a good sign—we had a lot of fun on vacation, and only a limited amount of reading time. Ironically, I had started it pre-move and during the end of the semester like a dummy. I can’t get anything done during those busy and hectic times, so I tabled the novel. I am now making my way through the final pages.

The jury’s out on how I feel about this particular piece of work by Chad Harbach. I like it, I don’t like it, I love it, and I don’t love it. It certainly has its poignant moments and thoughtful insights. I’m reading it because I’m making my way through some current books on baseball and other sports since I am writing a novel with baseball as the backdrop. However, sometimes when I read fiction, if the names in the novel are too “out there,” I immediately lose interest in the characters. If their names are unbelievable, then how can I believe in them? Let me toss out (no baseball pun intended), some of the names in “The Art of Fielding”—

Guert Affenlight.

Pella Affenlight.

Chef Spirodocus.

Adam Starblind.

Little Loondorf.

These are some of the chosen character names. Authors do this sometimes: they choose names that are memorable because they are so different. (I don’t know a Pella or a Guert personally, but if you do, please let me know).

We talk about character names, my fellow writers and I, and we like to pick names that are easily identifiable, that’s true. We (writers) want you to connect with the characters. But I can guarantee you, I will not name my characters in “Baseball Girl” anything too crazy. It’s really the “character” of the character—his or her makeup—that defines who they are in your story.

How do you feel about wacky character names? And, additionally, have you read anything fictional lately with unique main character names?

I know there are many, so please feel free to share.

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