Over the years I’ve found a number of ways names can distract me from the story. There aren’t many really, but anything which stops the reader’s eye and pulls them from the action is something I want to avoid in my writing.
Starting a lot of the character’s names with the same letter. This is a real no, no for me. I read fairly quickly and once I know the characters I’m sure I see the first letter, identify the character and skip the rest of the letters moving on to what is happening or being said. Using the same letter to start each name means my eyes pause to figure out which one it is. As the story goes on this becomes an aggravation which pulls me out of the action with my thoughts going to how the author has irritated me.
Recently I read a Sci-Fi novel in which five or six characters’ names all started with the letter ’S’. On top of that several had the same second letter. AUUURRRGGGHHHH. Why did the author do that? It had no connection within the story. Maybe the characters were named after family members or friends. I don’t know, but I’ll most likely check the names the next time I see a book I’m interested in by this author.
. . . .
One question I have is why do the names have so many ‘X’s’? The letter is used so frequently it’s become cliche in my view. In addition often strings of consonants before a vowel appears stops my reading as I wonder how to pronounce ‘lxrdornsqt’. I made that one up but it’s pretty close to a word I read recently. The actual name did start with ‘lxrd’.
Link to the rest at AuthorCulture and thanks to Eric for the tip.