Have you ever read a book by a famous author and struggled to read one or more of the main character names? Below are just a few examples:
Daenerys Targaryen 1996 A Game of Thrones
Princess Mariya Bolkonskaya 1869 War and Peace
Piscine Molitor Patel 2002 Life of Pi
Thérèse Defarge 1854 A Tale of Two Cities
Zaphod Beeblebrox 1979 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Many of the above may be easy for you to pronounce in your head now, since their books have been made into film or TV series, but imagine trying to read “Daenerys Targaryen” without ever having heard the name said aloud.
Using such names for main characters is brave and a luxury afforded to already famous authors. As a new writer, I assume assigning such handles to my characters would be author-suicide. The less ‘hurdles’ for my readers, the better. I need to give them every excuse to read on and none to give up.
But then again, the success of the stories these characters live within has been phenomenal. Perhaps difficult character names are not a curse afterall, if they are as interesting as the story line.
A few times I’ve received feedback about my supernatural heroine, Ruth Wroth being “a tongue twister” but I still stand by the name. It’s like Lois Lane, Peter Parker or Severus Snape. There is a pop culture feel to it. I’ve almost finished the Ruthless trilogy (the next epic trilogy) now, so perhaps in my next series I’ll splash out and try an unusual, difficult character name.