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  1. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    Are these names too difficult?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by spklvr, Aug 14, 2011.

    I have more or less finished a story (the whole second draft is done, and I have finished polishing the first couple of chapters). I thought I'd put the story online somewhere (I don't think it's publishing worthy), but now something is bothering me a bit. As the thread title suggests, the character names.

    Here are some examples:
    Rhoeo Dolom
    Laurus Bismuth
    Vallota Leucite
    Calanthe Brass
    Annona Schorl

    Are these too difficult? Would you be able to pronounce them? Do you realize what the names are based on? That last one I'm very curious about.
     
  2. J.P.Clyde
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    J.P.Clyde Prince of Melancholy Contributor

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    Now I don't know what they are based on. But I think I know how to pronounce them and no they aren't difficult.
     
  3. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    They're all plants, right? At least that's what I'm guessing from "Calanthe" and "Laurus". So, no, not too difficult.
     
  4. Mikeyface
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    Mikeyface Member

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    I wouldn't say they're too hard to pronounce but they, in my opinion, are too similar in length, complexity, and style. That might be what you're doing with the novel, some sort of society that has a structure like that.

    I guess if you took that list and added a character named "Reo Tusi" (I have no idea where that came from, mostly just a length thing.) Then every time Reo is mentioned, it would be easy to remember and differentiate in my mind.

    I could imagine getting confused as to which character is which at the beginning.
     
  5. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    The last names are elements or minerals.

    I don't think they're difficult. I'd expect some relevance in the story as to why they have those names.
     
  6. Sundae
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    Sundae Contributing Member

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    They're not difficult to pronounce once you actually slow down and read them for the first time, but just looking at them, I would not waste my time trying to properly pronounce them but rather give it a quick glance, give it my own "pronunciation' regardless if it is right or wrong and move on.

    As reader, names aren't important to me and for a text filled with names that so obviously different, I wouldn't bother until I actually came to care for the characters. Once I like the characters, I respect them enough to actually give their names consideration.

    If it was just one name that was distinctly different, I would be more adept to slowing down and trying to sound/pronounce the name properly, but if it's a lot of names, i would just move on until something about the character warrants me to actually pronounce their names properly. Not to mention that people that speak different language will still pronounce and read them differently regardless of anything. And sometimes, if i don't like the phonetic sound of the name, I'm more adept to give them my own version of how the name should sound so because it creates a better feel for me as a reader.

    Anyways, that is how I am as a reader when it comes to names of people.
     
  7. Lightman
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    Lightman Active Member

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    What sort of novel is this? If it's a fantasy novel, I'd say the names are perfect. If it's a more contemporary, realistic novel, I'd say the names might throw the reader off.
     
  8. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    Now there is something I'm wondering about too. There is a reason for those names (orginally just because I thought they were cool, but I made a reason), however it does not have a lot of relevance in the actual story. It's more relevant to the society in general. They are human-looking half demons created by humans, who have become many because of their long lives. When they parted with humans (to another world), they chose to base their names on that.

    I have explained it in the story, but I'm thinking of cutting that part. The reason is I feel it's kind of silly since it doesn't have relevance to anything happening, and as far as I can see, I can't create the relevance either. Would you like to know why anyway?

    No worries. It's fantasy.
     
  9. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    So true. Was reading Girl with the Dragon Tattoo where the guy's name was Blomkvist - and I tried, I really really tried to pronounce it as it should've been (without knowing any Swedish) and my head just WON'T. It insisted on pronouncing the name "Bloomvist" :rolleyes:

    Sorry about the tangent. As to the OP - they're not too difficult to pronounce and look interesting enough :) No idea what they're based on though. Wouldn't worry too much because readers will just pronounce it their way, or recognise the character without pronouncing the name. I've done that with many Swedish names, especially when there were no vowels.
     
  10. AveryWhite
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    AveryWhite Senior Member

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    haha agree with Mckk and Sundae :) i often just end up pronouncing it different to what it actually is in the book, my eyes just glancing over it, and if they dont pick it up straight away they just carry on with the story :p
     
  11. DBock
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    DBock Member

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    I think it works. You haven't gone too over the top here. Just make sure your characters are very strong so that the reader can easily tell them apart. Also it might help to give scenes where there are 3 or fewer with these names so that the reader can get used to remembering who these people are rather than forced into a large group of them.
     
  12. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    Thus far, only two characters in my story even have last names...and one isn't even mentioned outside of my introduction....which is only a paragraph long so far. Haha. The other is thus named due to profession and I haven't figured out if I even want last names at this point or not.
     
  13. walshy12238
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    walshy12238 Senior Member

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    I partially agree with Mikey; they're not hard to pronounce, but I don't find them too confusing because of the length. I might just be me though, but that's what I think. Change them if you want, but I don't think you really need to.
     
  14. Vampire Muffin
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    Vampire Muffin New Member

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    The names are pretty good, they need more variety though, maybe a varying of lengths or a change lettering. You could change Brass to Brasse without a dramatic pronunciation difference. But for the majority solid names.
     
  15. westofthemoon
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    westofthemoon Member

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    I agree with Mcck and Sundae, too. I really like the names of your characters; I think they're clever and are well-suited for a fantasy work, and personally as a reader, I love figuring out how characters' names correlate with the story (or, if indeed that is the case). But usually if they're particularly cumbersome or difficult to pronounce (in my head, if every single syllable is disruptive to the flow of my reading), I'll just come up with my own personal nickname for them.
     

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