This is my second blog post about naming characters, and my third about names in general. However, this post in particular is about the challenges associated with naming characters in sci-fi or fantasy novels, which happen to be two of my favorite genres.
I always suffer this moment of incredible self-doubt when I’m making up names. What if it sounds stupid? What if people can’t figure out how to pronounce it? What if…? Sometimes I want to go the Lloyd Alexander route and have simple names with impossibly complicated spellings. But then I’ve heard this is a bad idea. So who do I listen to?
My naming worries were the worst after I finished my first fantasy novel. In a moment of panic, I went back and changed everyone’s names. A couple characters got to keep their names and just have the spellings changed. But most everyone got outfitted with an entirely new name. And none of them felt right. They were all perfectly fine names. They just didn’t quite fit the way their old names had. They didn’t feel organic.
So honestly, I don’t care if your character’s name is a string of mostly consonants. If that’s what your character’s name is, leave it be. Because if a name, or anything else in your story, feels contrived to you, it will most certainly feel contrived to the reader.