I have a fascination with terrible names. I don’t understand them and I want to know why people even consider them. I don’t mean bad names or words used incorrectly as names. As much as I cringe when I hear some mother chasing after a little kid named Hunter, it’s still better than some of the names I’ve heard.
I’m not talking about ethnic names either. If you want to name your kid in such a way that they embody a link to your cultural roots, go for it. You are inviting bullies to beat the hell out of your child, but you kid could end up badass because of it, so I still approve.
Not talking about weird uses of the letter Y either. This isn’t something like my friend Lyndsey, but more like if someone decided to spell my middle name “Thomys” and still think I’ll pronounce it “Thomas.”
There’s a couple of urban legends that come to mind. The first is the obvious set of twins Lemonjello and Orangejello (from what I’ve heard, this may be a true story). The second, is the story of Mr. King finding the name of his newborn son written on a sign in the hospital lobby, his son of course being Nosmo. That’s right, Nosmo King.
The names that make me cringe the most are the names that are not names, even though some idiot decided to give that mess of letters as a name to their child. I saw one of these names on the baby name board set up to proclaim the names of newborns to any passersby. The name I saw was Kadon and I knew it as so awful, I had to name a villain Kadon.
I wrote a short story called “The Golden Hollow” about a telepath hunting down the source of a telekinetic natural disaster. In the story, I wanted to show Commander from an external perspective, so I followed the villain of the story, Kadon. Doing this made me see the value of Kadon as a character and gave me a solid note to build the setting of The Golden Hollow. During the writing of the short story, I found another name on the baby name board, a name much worse than Kadon. Kadon sounds almost normal compared to Trafton.
These are names people give their children. I didn’t make these names up. Since these names sound like broken names, I thought I would come up with something broken about these characters. Kadon had a bout of leukemia, Trafton got all the symptoms of leprosy. I realized this group of telepaths needed to have a common thread in their naming; each of them needed a godawful first name that no sensible person would dream of giving their child.
I thought of this only because I heard today that one of the top names for the year 2010 was Wmffrey. Yes, I spelled that right. I was asked to pronounce this name and I answered (phonetically) “Wu-mum-free.” Remove the first syllable and you’ll have the right answer. That’s worse than a fantasy character’s name, it’s so bad, I have to say it’s the absolute worst name I’ve ever heard in my entire life. And the report that I was shown said Wmffrey will be one of the top five names in 2011. They also said a popular name for a girl is Beach. The only thing worse than giving a child one of these names is this.
All that aside, I ended up developing the faction I refer to as the Blue Psychics (or Blue Telepaths). None of them was supposed to be telepathic and are unable to supercharge their abilities like other telepaths in The Golden Hollow. Their names, as I said before, are broken. And they all have terrible sicknesses, or appear to at least. Their motivation is to destroy the Golden Hollow at the source so the horrors that happened to him are not repeated. This is a major plot of Dual Identities since Trafton’s desire to kill Kathryn Angel places him as the primary villain of the book.
This is a faction I intend to use in more stories since they have such possibility and appeal. I only hope someone doesn’t look at them as inspiration for naming their children.