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Writing means different things to me. I'm a storyteller, a book editor, and a songwriter. For me, it's like breathing.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Musing Mondays: How to deal with hard to pronounce names in fiction

I read and write books that sometimes have names or terms that are difficult for the average reader to pronounce. If I am writing a story set in a particular time period with real people I am using as characters, strange and difficult names cannot be avoided. I realize this can cause some aggravation for readers and for that, I apologize. But I can’t change historical names.
Since I’ve been reading fantasy and historical fiction most of my life, I have come across more than a few names I couldn’t pronounce. This was before you could Google a random name and probably find the correct pronunciation online. Anyway, I came up with a way to make it easier to read the book without driving myself crazy. I came up with my own way to pronounce the name or word and don’t worry if I am using the correct pronunciation. It’s easy to do and doesn’t throw me out of the story.
As an example, here are two names from Daughter of Night:
King Suppiluliuma: This one is a tough name to pronounce so what I did whenever I came across this name in my book was simply pronounce it like this—Sup il luma.
Becuille: This one is a little tricky so I pronounce this name like this—Be keel.
So, the next time you come across a name or word you can’t pronounce in a book, try this technique instead of giving up on the story.

Kelley Heckart, Historical fantasy romance author

Two mortals are caught in the midst of the battle between the Titans and Olympian gods.

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