Monthly Archives: January 2010
I made the bad guys in “Crashers” Northern Irish terrorists. I’m Irish, which I figured would lower the chances I’d get sued. Anyway, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Today, it’s like making the bad guys come from Epcot Center.
Then came this headline in The Oregonian this weekend: “Power-sharing agreement in N.I. falling apart.”
And I’m like: Ka-Ching!
Hey. It’s an ill wind that doesn’t blow some good.
Naming things is important. Most novelists learn this early on. Corporations? Not so much.
I was in a meeting with my College Advancement group at Portland Community College yesterday when someone asked about Apple’s new tablet computer. “What’s it called?” someone asked.
I groaned. “The I-Pad. Clearly, no women were in the room when the marketing team came up with the name.”
It took a two-count before everyone in the room got my meaning. And groaned.
This isn’t the first time that a major American corporation named a product with a gynecological tag. Thirty-plus years ago, the Ford Motor Co. figured out that women had a) independence (gasp!) and b) disposable income and c) sometimes bought cars, which had been a male-dominated activity since the guy who ran Ford was Mr. Ford. The company decided to design a car for “them feminists.” The called it…
…wait for it….
I often wonder if anyone in Ford’s marketing department pitched the name “The Stirrups.”
British mystery writer Simon Brett (love…him…) wrote a series of terrific mysteries featuring actor and alcoholic Charles Paris. Remember those? They were great. I heard Brett speak at a Bouchercon, when he admitted that he created an ex-wife for the beloved if self-destructive hero. He named her “Francis.” Perfectly good name. It wasn’t until he was doing a speaking gig that he said the name out loud for the first time, “Francis Paris,” that he realized his error.
Try it. Say the name out loud. Francis Paris.
See the problem?
This stuff isn’t child’s play, folks. You gotta get it right.
Wow! I just found out that Karin Slaughter will be at the Public Library Association event, March 26 at the Portland Convention Center! I’ll be there, too. We haven’t met, but Ms. Slaughter is the author of the best-selling series of thrillers based in Atlanta, Ga. This is huge!