What's in a name? Well, if you're a Mary Sue, everything! (rimshot). NO, seriously. Names do tend to matter in the realm of literature, and the first part to a good character, I believe, is giving them a name! Here are some naming pitfalls you should avoid.
Shayne for Shane(although, I've seen it used both ways), Dustyn for Dustin, Krystal...
Look, it might be okay if it looks good. Dustyn seems fairly normal. Krystal might be a bit much, though.
Apostrophes and Hyphens
Strong Bad insists that it makes your poetry better. ('Tis ne'er 'er o'er, my lo'er o' clo'er!) While that may be very, very true...it doesn't always make names better. Neither does taking random letters out of words! (M srry. It dssnt. It jst dssnt.) Sometimes it fits (I.E, S'ad, Ala Al-Din, As'ad.) but putting a random hyphen in the name just because? That's evil.
This is a tougher one. While multiple names are often associated with Mary Sues, some people have multiple names. But, and this is a very large but(t), they're names that tend to be from the same ethnicity and that tend to be simpler..I.E, 'Billy Bob', or a hyphenated last name 'Mrs. and Mr. Mary-Smith', or something.
Again, you have SOME leeway with this. Perhaps the character was adopted by an old Mrs. Yoichi from down the street and they became Johnny Yoichi. Chinese first names with American surnames are actually fairly common.
I suppose it's just a case of 'use it right or don't use it'. Names should usually flow well.
Ethnic Names, Continued
If your character is from Britain, they will most likely have a British name. In America, you have an incredible loophole. But not in colonial America! I really wouldn't expect a British colonist to be named Chouko Nagisa or Vigdis.
While some gemstones are actually halfway decent to good names now..(i.e, Amber, Sapphire, Ruby). Now, there are also the ridiculous names, usually given to children by celebrity parents..(Moon-Unit[Frank Zappa], Kal'el[Nicholas Cage], Apple, Sari...the list goes on.)
If you actually name your kid this, I swear I will malice you with a shoehorn. Don't think I won't!
Names with Meaning
Names have meaning. Duh. And now every writer thinks they need to describe their character using a name with an elegant meaning. Beautiful(Isabella, Belle), love(Ai)...
Now, this can be useful in things like foreshadowing. But too much of it gets really annoying.
Well, thank you for putting up with me. Hee! If you enjoyed this, or think I left something out, please don't hesitate to comment!