Character Names: How Complicated Is Too Complicated?
When reading a book, a lot of times (but not always) fantasy, I can find myself getting continuously jerked away from the page EVERY TIME a certain character’s name is mentioned. And that can really affect my enjoyment of the book. If the character is named something crazy hard to pronounce, or something boring and generic, am I going to enjoy the book as much?
No. I’m not.
This can be a REAL PROBLEM for me, peoples! I am a character-loving reader. If I don’t like their name, which is the first thing I learn about them, how am I going to like them when I learn more about them, their quirks, their annoying qualities?
Names can be a huge part for me!
(I continuously struggle with naming characters of my own. I UNDERSTAND how hard it is to come up with new names, authors! I feel you.)
There’s basically two sides to this. The long, hard to pronounce names, and the boring ones.
If every character in a book is named Bob, Jim, James, Steve, etc, I WILL GET ANNOYED. I like my names to be creative. If I’m reading a book, and the characters are all named boring names, I may start wondering why there aren’t any creative names in there.
Yes, I like my names to be interesting, but I don’t want a name that I can’t pronounce!
Agnieszka from Uprooted? I’m sure it’s a GORGEOUS name, but I have absolutely NO CLUE how to pronounce it.
Hmm. Maybe that’s why I haven’t read Uprooted yet. Oops.
And Chaol, from Throne of Glass? It doesn’t seem hard at first- until I realized I was PRONOUNCING IT WRONG for four books. FOUR BOOKS. Is it pronounced kay-oll? That’s how I pronounce it. But I’ve heard people say it’s pronounced like call. Or kale. I’ve heard different opinions on this one! I still don’t know what the correct one is.
(If you know, please, LET ME KNOW.)
I love unique names.
I love when a traditional name is changed to be different.
I DO NOT love boring, uncreative, uninteresting names.
How complicated do you like your character names to be? Does character names affect your enjoyment of a book (or is it just me)?
Thanks for reading!