I was reading a post about a romance set in Egypt and I was trying to get through the names. And I realized, poor thing, there were really complicated names in ancient Egyptian culture. And to make matters worse, the book was about a historical figure so she couldn’t just use “Ramses”.
I’ve had discussions about names with other authors of unusual historicals. I’d have to say this is one area I’m very cognizant of. Even if the writing is spectacular, if the name makes you trip every time you say it, it’s definitely a deterrent. Of course, I read and loved Dune with its multiple apostrophed titles and names. So maybe that’s why Asian settings have been able to make some headway in the fantasy genre.
In any case, I have five swordsmen to name. Currently they exist in my outline as “Swordsman #” They all have to have accessible names and their names have to be different enough from each other that they don’t get mixed up. This is what you might call an ensemble piece so it’s going to make it harder. Then on top of that, the masculine names have to sound masculine to the Western ear.
I’m very, very much into the shape and sound of words on the page and now you can see why!