Nov 05 2014

Character name puns #writetip

Have you ever encountered character names that were so cliché it disturbed you? I don’t mean just obvious ones, like a villain named Mr. Bad, but ones that are puns. Sir Snarls, Featherbeard the Flighty, Tim Burr, or Mort U. Airy for example. It seems rational to believe that the writer was feeling lazy. “Forget about giving details- just use a goofy name and let the audience hang their hat on that!


I offer up another possibility. The writer used a newspaper.


What madness is this? Well, it seems that I’m living in a fairytale, based on my local news.


Pennsylvania Governor Election Results: Tom Wolf Defeats Incumbent Tom Corbett


Scott M. GrimLehigh County coroner since 1997.


Grim at a funeral


I’m not trying to mock these people, or their names.

I’m just stating that if someone wrote a work of fiction where the coroner and funeral director were named Grim, and the governor was named Wolf, it’d either get an eye roll or a People’s Choice Award nomination.


So the writetip is to name carefully. Unless you’re non-fiction, in which case the fairytale puns are eagerly awaiting.



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  1. Yep, some names for fiction are just cringe-worthy.
    Lynda R Young has this post to share Confidence in Creativity #IWSG #GCAP14My Profile
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    1. Yes, indeed.

  2. I’ve always avoided doing this, but it works in some books. Mostly mysteries and comedies, it seems!
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    1. Ah yes, it does seem to pop up in mystery books, especially the older ones (or those written as an ode to them). It can certainly work in comedy. A bit of tongue-in-cheek.

  3. I like seeing this in horror or fantasy, particularly in kid lit. In grownup books, unless they’re classics or modern comedies, I don’t care for it.
    Medeia Sharif has this post to share Monday MishmashMy Profile
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    1. Oh yes, in children’s books it works out. But for adults (and the real world), it’s comical. Thanks for stopping by.

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