When I started reading fantasy novels in my teen years back in the 1980s, I struggled with the pronunciation of some of the far-out names authors had given their characters. To get through these stories, I turned names such as Gorggegx in George in my mind and kept reading.
Why fantasy authors feel the need to create strange names always confused me. It came off as part of the genre, I think. When I started writing fantasy stories, I thought about using similar names, but I quickly put it to rest and stuck with names I could pronounce.
Since then, I’ve encountered many odd names in the genre, and I continue to do the same thing: turn them into simple names.
In the silent reading of stories, these names – Llewyllnyx – are easy to ignore. However, a few weeks ago, I read an online discussion by audiobook narrators who cursed such names. It was their job to get the pronunciation correct. When it came to some names, particularly made-up names, they had no references, so they had to create the pronunciation.
Whether the author and the reader were happy with it was another matter.
When writing stories, fantasy in particularly, keep audiobook narrators in mind. If you can’t say the made-up name you created, how do you expect them to?
Until I read this discussion, I hadn’t thought about the trouble narrators would have with strange names, both for characters and places. Have you thought about it before this?