One of the occupational hazards of writing a lot of fiction is that I frequently pore over baby name books, visit the Social Security Administration names pages, and, yes, even cruise parenting sites looking for interesting things to call my unfortunate characters — thinks like “Spunky Bremer,” “Mookie Diaz,” “Trixie Pugnatowski” and “Van Fish.”
As a result I have developed an overriding fascination with colorful names. If you’re a character in one of my stories, you can figure you’re pretty much fucked. You’ll probably get a name so stupendously annoying that you’ll spend half the story complaining about it, and the rest of the story bitching about whatever annoying nickname your fellow characters have affixed to you.
However, fictional characters have one thing that lays them open to the cruelest impulses of naming conventions: they don’t exist.