Reader, Writer, Merciless Reviewer and Incurable Romantic
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UPDATE: SEE SHORT FUNNY NOTE AT THE END.
I was reading in bed last night and the Kindle Fire keyboard is a royal pain in the butt to write on. So I posted my immediate reactions and then went to sleep. So here is an expansion, while I'm waiting for my hair to dry a bit before I head out for groceries.
Names. Names. Names.
Names are soooooo important! Think Scarlett O'Hara. Think Ebenezer Scrooge. Think Harry Potter.
It's not that Piper Baker is a bad name for a character. Piper might be anachronistic for the time setting, but I'm not even going to go there. The problem for me is that the Piper Baker rhythm is wrong. That's why I wrote Piper Baker Walker Rider. It could as well be Piper Singer Sawyer Roper. What made the rhythm more pronounced and the name choice thereby weaker was that the author paired it with Senator Asher Grey. Piper Baker Asher Potter Dancer.
Asher Grey, of course, contributed to the bombardment of unfortunate names. And look, I went to high school with David Crockett and Elizabeth Taylor. (Betty Taylor for a time was married to Dean Martin, to make things even worse.) Does the Senator have a brother named Slate and a sister named Dove?
A reader wants to get lost in the book, to see the scenes and hear the voices and forget that it's all just little black symbols on a white page. The author's task is to make the manuscript, the printed page, invisible. This author failed and failed miserably.
So by the fourth or fifth page, all I'm thinking about is this spoiled, bored Piper Potter Carter Weaver and her grey as ashes host, and along comes (pun intended) Peter Long!!
Piper! Asher! Peter!
(I was never able to forgive Hollywood for Richard Long. I mean, seriously.)
The sad thing is that most readers really don't care. The bar is now so low that this kind of sloppy, lazy writing belongs to a "USA Today Bestselling Author."
And I haven't even touched on the actual writing . . . .
Addendum re names: I was tired last night and in a bit of a hurry this morning, or maybe my mind was just overwhelmed with Bad Names for Characters. At any rate, as soon as I relaxed after putting the groceries away, I realized there was another problem with those names, but one only old timers like me would recognize.
You can't have a Peter and an Asher together, and heaven help us if she throws in a Gordon and a Waller.