Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tlk'ash'diki'ej'fal - Fantasy Names

Yes, you can probably already see where I'm going with this - names in speculative fiction. For so long they've been notoriously unpronouncable, to the point of readers putting books down. Mainly in fantasy, yes, but I have seen a number of terrible names in science fiction as well. Fret not, though - I have some tips and hints to help you out with this grievous assault on your writing.

  1. Urban fantasy is a huge market right now and really doesn't require a lot of strange names. If you want the names for your elves and the like to be a little more ethnic than your humans, choose a culture of Earth and go from there.

  2. If you have an epic/high fantasy you can normally get away with some unusual names, especially when it comes to deities and dragons...and villains. go a bit crazy over there so that you can try and get it out of your system.

  3. If one of your major players has a name that's six syllables long, please make somebody notice it and comment on it somehow. I'm sorry to tell you, but "Jilanamuyea" is going to raise anyone's eyesbrows, honey.

  4. If you must have an apostrophe, please keep it down to one apostrophe. Really, when I find names that are half apostrophe and half letter I tend to just put the book down, often not picking it back up.

  5. Finally, if you're in love with a long name, you can give them a nickname. It really doesn't hurt. Turning "Koritrikir" into "Kir" or "Kor" or even "Kori" is alright - and appreciated.

Blessed be and all that jazz,


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