Steve McEllistrem

The Devereaux Dilemma

character names

Some readers dislike character names that are complex or hard to understand. These kinds of names are especially prevalent in science fiction and fantasy. Should you forgo such names and stick with characters whose names we can pronounce relatively easily?

My take is that unless you have a very good reason for choosing a bizarre name (other than just wanting to make something different), you should strive to find a moniker that won’t slow the reader down and won’t dissuade readers from choosing to engage the story in the first place.

Choose shorter over longer, easier to pronounce over difficult, and where a character needs to have a name that is hard to pronounce, give the reader some sort of guide to make it easier.

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