Mike Beversluis

Friday, January 05, 2007

What's in a name?

Who worries about names more than expectant parents? How about authors?

Episode 2 of why I Chose the Names I Did:

Tally Youngblood

This was obviously an important one. Midnighters bounces between five POV characters, but we’re stuck inside Tally’s head for 240,000 words! So obviously, her name can’t be too annoying or unwieldy. “Plaztercrappitastica” is way out.

But Uglies takes place 300 years in the future. Names probably won’t be the same as now. So I needed something that’s not a current name, but that doesn’t make your brain fritz when you read it. So I chose a regular word in English.

That’s right: “tally” as in “count.” As in “Hey, Mr. Tally-man, tally me bananas.”

Thus, the little spell-checker in your brain doesn’t ping every time your eyes scan across those letters. (And the real-world MS Word spell-checker doesn’t draw a squiggly line under it.) “Tally” is capitalized, of course, so you know it’s a name, but otherwise “tally” reads as a perfectly normal word.

Maybe authors could take inspiration from spammers? I kinda like Eduardo Watches, but I didn't see Max Power anywhere.

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