I thought more on the names of my characters yesterday as I drove to and fro trying to sell ads yesterday. Was there a reason I preferred one name to another for a character? How may times had I pronounced them only to hear someone else pronounce it differently when they are shown the name?
I have never liked unpronounceable, line long names that twist your tongue into knots. Its fine to every once in a while have a longer one with a full name, but to repeat that over and over in the story drives me insane. Short names, even if they are unfamiliar are best. Long names get shortened even in real life to just a couple of short syllables so your names of your characters should follow. Usually the less important in society a character is the shorter the name. Most people with long complex names are of a higher social class than those with a short name.
If you make up your names have others try to pronounce them without any prompting from you. You might be surprised as to how differently your name is pronounced. For example, Ryen is one I have asked people to pronounce. In my head it is Ray’ en, but others have pronounced it like Rain, Ryan and Reen.
Unless you give your reader a definite pronunciation guide for your names, you are going to find that they will pronounce your characters differently than you intend. Is this a bad thing? Of course not, this gives your reader a tiny chance to personalize your character. It gives them a bit of control over the story. If you have control over one little thing, then you are more apt to continue. In other words finish the story. 😉