Making a Bad Name

In a book or movie, an author must choose names for characters. Sometimes it's just a matter of convenience. A character has to have a name, after all. Other times, the name is chosen with some purpose, because of its sound, or associations, or a silly pun. Sometimes the name can add something to the portrayal, and sometimes it's a distraction. Occasionally, though, an author betrays a real tin ear, picking a name that just sounds so wrong or stilted or inappropriate that it sours our memory of the character, the book, and the author.

Last revised on 09 July 2008.