I thought of this when Dither asked me the other day about which of my TRoOS characters were Aerith and which were Bob. This basically means that he was asking which names I considered “regular” and which were odd stand-outs. (my terms, not his)
This is one of my favourite tropes, although I often leave Bob out and have a bunch of weird names. I looked, there doesn’t seem to be a trope for it. (they are usually played for misfortune or laughs)
The best part is, he asked me this knowing that it would be different for me than him. To me, the “Bobs” introduced so far are Travis, Ronit, and Kaapo. Maybe Delia. Vivane and Aronshy are both names that I made up, and Burton and Persephone are uncommon.
But I will admit that there might be people who find Ronit and Kaapo to be “Aerith”s. It’s a cultural thing.
Anyway, it made me think about pronunciation, mostly because of the two names I invented. The pronunciation of Vivane is, I think, pretty intuitive, but Aronshy…
The truth? I don’t even pronounce that name consistently. I say it however I feel like saying it at the time. I have a preferred pronounciation, but the name, while not on the level of Unpronounceable as Mr Mxyzptlk, technically has no pronunciation. At least, not an official one.
Writers I have known have tended to be a bit… tense about the pronunciation of their characters’ names. This can get awkward when they insist on having characters called Cryverkal.
Especially since the one I have in mind, though she did not have a character with that particular awful name, soared screaming-jet-style into angst and I would invariably give the character a mean nickname like Crybabykat.
But my impetuous rudeness aside, I wonder why anyone worries about it. I think I used to, but particularly in my last writing effort, I found that I just don’t care.
Sure, it helps that Ghislaine, Jay, Mohinder, Hania, and Ormr are all real names. Sabriel is a typo that I decided to keep. (her name was originally Anriel)
But Shelrae from my water-testing? Say it however you like. Shel-ray. Shuhl-ree. Sheel-rai. I’d prefer you pick one that sounds pretty to you, but even that isn’t a big deal.
Mellowing out comes highly recommended.