jkmcdonnell wrote:(Thought I spotted a gap in the market here, but if it's been covered in another thread, let me know.)
What are you favourite characters' names? Are they from a book you've read or your own WIP? Did you like the name before reading about the character, or did the character make you love the name?
For me, some definite favourites are Rhett Butler from GONE WITH THE WIND and Holden Caulfield in CATCHER IN THE RYE (say what you want about the book, it's a friggin' cool name).
And lastly - do you love or hate the semi-made up, twenty consonant types often employed in epic fantasies, or names born from inanimate objects/elements?
Watcher55 wrote:Slartibartfast, in THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE UNIVERSE and LIFE, THE UNIVERSE AND EVERYTHING. He did all the fiddly-bits around the fjiords.
Cookie wrote:I don't like unpronounceable names either. I just don't get why a writer would do that.
Margo wrote:Cookie wrote:I don't like unpronounceable names either. I just don't get why a writer would do that.
In some cases, it's just a matter of the writer not realizing that people can't pronounce something that the writer can.
I had this issue when I was writing epic fantasy and posting writing for critiques on the DROWW. Unfortunately for me, I'm good with pronouncing words in other languages (provided the letters make roughly the same sound they make in English - I'm looking at you, Gaelic), so naming a character's ancestral estate Humfridhak Mirrid or Kyrgan Irkyr didn't seem like a problem for me. I look at that and immediately think of Scandinavian and Russian influences and would know how to pronounce it. One person insisted these were utterly unpronounceable.
When I used names based on classical Latin (for instance, Stellae), I got a complaint.
When I used an Old English form of a Celtic name (Krosban), I got a complaint.
Everyone who complained insisted these were unpronounceable when they're not. I could understand someone being intimidated by the Scandinavian-Russian influenced names, was a little less sympathetic about Stellae (it's a real Latin word!), and was convinced the person was outright too lazy to even bother trying to say Krosban. It's pronounced phonetically, for gosh sakes. And that reader was the most irate about the name being unpronounceable. The entire review for the chapter was two paragraphs about how unpronounceable and ridiculous that name was.
I tested my theory that if I shortened names to be no more than 5 letters, no one would complain. It was hardly scientific, but I got no complaints.
I think I'd apply the criticism to the fantasy/sci-fi names that involve apostophes when the author doesn't correctly grasp what that really means for things like glottal stops.
Cookie wrote:I won't stop reading a book because a character or places name is unpronounceable, but after a while I while stop trying to pronounce it.
Margo wrote:Cookie wrote:I won't stop reading a book because a character or places name is unpronounceable, but after a while I while stop trying to pronounce it.
I do this, too. If I can't figure out a name, I'll just focus on the first 2 or 3 letters so I will recognize the name next time it comes up. This works well for me unless the book has several characters whose names are all about the same length and all start with the same 2 or 3 letters.
Cookie wrote:Lol. I mumble the names.
Evelyn wrote:Cookie wrote:Lol. I mumble the names.
Hee hee hee. How about Hermione in Harry Potter? I found out that I'd been reading it (and mentally pronouncing) it wrong for years. Or maybe those other people are wrong? I believe I've heard it pronounced several different ways!
...I wonder if JK got any grief from her beta readers about it?
Evelyn (whose main characters are named: Elaine, Marc, and Adam.)
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