I appreciated Carl Sinclair’s post today about names in fantasy fiction. Some writers seem to love filling their fantasy worlds with awesome (if improbable) names for people, places, and things. Tolkien made a cottage industry of it—and inspired generations of writers who simply don’t have the linguistic chops to pull it off! Carl’s point that some (many?) such writers go overboard is well taken.
In Children of Pride, most characters, places, and things have names that are quite at home in the English language. This was something of a challenge, as the story deals with people and things that were often given their names centuries ago both in Gaelic, Cornish, or some other actual language or in Esrana, a constructed language that plays a tiny role in the unfolding of the story. Plenty of originally-foreign names became blatantly Anglicized (Gaelic Áine became Anya) or, in once instance, Gaelicized-then-Anglicized (Muskogee Rvne Rofke became Dunhoughkey) for ease of pronunciation.
Left to my own devices, I would probably have made things more complicated than they are. I am, however, dealing with fantasy in a contemporary setting and aiming the story at younger readers. I appreciated the constraint that provided, and my beta readers and I are fairly pleased with the results.