So, I recently rediscovered the world of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, 50,000 words in 30 days. Ready, Set, Go). And they have all sorts of groups for chatting and support and such. It’s a really great community.
Anyway, in Fantasy there is a discussion on character names (to see it, copy and paste: http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/node/3005235) and how people create their names. I have two ways a) they come to me and b) I look them up on Babynames.com. I have some general rules for myself as well. The names should be memorable and fairly easy to pronounce. I can adjust the spelling a bit to make the name look more exotic, but all in all, those are the two basic rules that I use.
But in the thread, some of the authors have characters with three names and each name is 3-4 syllables. That really is too much. After a while, people don’t remember the name or the character. And while it’s all well and good to have fun, exotic names, if you need to give the pronounciation, it might be too much.
I do understand it, a bit. As a fantasy writer, several of my characters are fairy and elves and the like, and it’s tempting to give them outlandish names. I have a story where I used a Elf name generator and I have characters like Elrir (Ell-rear), Dryear (Dry-ear), Azadeth, Lysel (Lie-sell), and Angaro (An-gar-ro). But in the same story I also have Maddie, Jack, Marcus, Liana, and Leo.
Maybe it’s just me, but at this point (and I don’t mean to sound snobbish; I am not an expert) I think that long, hard to pronounce names are generally the sign of a new writer who wants their characters to sound cool. They can sound just as cool with easier names.
You can tell me if I’m being a snob. I wouldn’t be too offended.