quirks from queries: what’s in a name


Jennifer. Jenn. Jenny. Or any spelling iteration of that name. Do you know what that name represents? What impression that name apparently universally gives off? Bully. Snooty Queen Bee and all around “school bike.” Well, at least according to all our most recent queries, that is. Have you seen any other name trends popping up over the past year in books? Like how those jerky jocks are always named Drew, Josh, Mike or some other simple four-letter name. I mean it’s like we all just accept that jocks can’t handle names longer than four letters.

We all do it. We judge people by their looks. Super popular girl in school who is also a royal b***h and probably named Jennifer? Yeah, she’s also probably blonde. Super nerdy girl who is socially awkward but turns out to be a smoke show when she takes her glasses off? Yeah, she’s probably a brunette. Strong, independent girl with a fiery attitude and enough ambition to take on the world? Redhead.

We all also judge people by their names. At least in books we do. When I think of the name Arnold, I think of a dorky guy who could recite the value of Pi out to the fiftieth decimal place. When I see the name Nathan, I think of a strong, kind-hearted and chivalrous book boyfriend who also rides horses and saves puppies in his spare time. When I think of Vivienne, I think of an evil but gorgeous woman who might actually be a black widow. Jeremy? Yeah, he is the friend-zoned best friend who just wants a chance with his beautiful best friend who is too busy falling for Gabriel, the stunning hot and mischievous boy with a dark past.

In books, our preconceptions and judgements have to be based on things other than the appearance. So we blame the name. So I ask you readers, do you really think all Jennifer’s are bullies? If so, please let me know so I can inform my sister who is conveniently named Jennifer.

And a little “Kay’s Challenge” for the writers who follow. Send me a short story (5k words or less!) with a super villainous woman… named Sally. Or Mable. Oh or Francis. That’d be great, k thanks.