A Character’s Name

I hung a heavy name on my main character in Wacky Road–  Sara-Lapis Hughes.  Early readers of the story, which was submitted a chapter a week on Critiquecircle.com, forgot her last name (Hughes) and thought it was “Lapis.”  Later, one critiquer suggested I hyphenate her name, which I did.  Then somebody else thought it was a mistake, meant to be “Lapis-Hughes.”  Others referred to her as “Sara,” and someone said, “What’s with your MC’s name?” (Like, give us a break.)
Their discomfort seemed strange in this era of original and exotic names for real people.  Maybe fictional characters are supposed to have mainstream names.  Characters in mainstream fiction, anyway.
I haven’t changed it, believing that this character’s awkward name is a good choice for an inflexible middle-aged woman who grew up with the nickname “Slappy.” 

What I learned:    How easy it is to confuse readers, and the need for consistency and repetition in the early presentation of a character.   

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