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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Naming Mistakes

Last week I downloaded a free ebook that sounded semi interesting. It was about a woman moving to LA to start a new life.

It was short. Something like 50 pages. By page 20, I was done with it.

It started off readable enough. The MC met her love interest in a fairly implausible way, but I was willing to let that slide. But things got worse from there.

The two met up later. They had a conversation. It went something like this (this isn't the conversation; I'm just using it to illustrate my point):
"Mr. Smith, what a nice place this is."

"Ms. Jones, I'm so glad you approve."

"Mr. Smith, I'm curious as to why you asked me here tonight."

"Ms. Jones, I thought you would enjoy a nice night out."
And on and on and on it went. Every single line of dialog had one character referring to the other by name. And not even by their first names! (Although, at one point Mr. Smith did ask Ms. Jones to call him John.) I think I read about two pages of this awful dialog and put the book down, never to be finished.

Although, at least this author made sure each character address was punctuated with a comma. I've noticed in a few different books this particular rule being forgotten.

It's kind of jarring, to be reading along, not seeing any major grammar errors, only to be stopped cold when I see:
"Nathan where are you going?"
Rather than:
"Nathan, where are you going?"
Thinking that it's just a typo. Moving on. And then encountering the same thing again.

Most of the time, I can figure out that one character is being addressed, but there were a couple times when I wasn't quite sure.

But the worst naming error I've come across wasn't a terrible shock. The book was bad. I'm not sure why I continued to read it. Perhaps I'm a glutton for punishment. Perhaps it was late and I didn't want to start something new. Perhaps I was in a I'm-going-to-finish-this-one-if-it-kills-me mood.

In chapter two, the character's name was Chrissy. In chapter three, her name was Christy. Same in chapter four. In chapter five, the character's name was Chrissy again.

Don't ask about the plot of that one. Trust me, you don't want to know.

What are some glaring naming mistakes that you've noticed?


Pearl said...

Honestly, there are a lot of bad books available. :-)

I read an e-book recently that went six full pages without identifying who was speaking. I was good for about the first three pages, although it was awkward, and then it fully fell apart. Yikes.


David Oliver said...

While I can admire those of you with the ability to do it, I don't possess the capability to read such things. I may even make some of those mistakes. Hopefully not and there is less chance of it now that you've pointed them out.

mshatch said...

Sadly, now that anyone can publish a book, many of them do, and often without realizing there's a lot more work to be done once you complete your first draft. That's what I've come across, work that reads like a first draft. Not what I want to pay for.

Liz said...

Yes, that's what it feels like. A first draft.

Trisha F said...

I've been reading a few free ebooks lately that are just making me so angry with their typos and grammatical errors. I don't know why I keep reading them either. I tend to be the stubborn "I'm going to finish this, damn it!" sort, so maybe that's it.