One thing I’ve found to be a difficult task when writing anything is the creation of names for all of the races, monsters or technology that I make up for the stories. How do you create all of these bizarre words? I scrabble around for inspiration, often just looking at everything that surrounds me and work from there. Indeed, a race of creatures in The Circle of Duty received their name thanks to a fragment of a word from a very mundane household object.

But the names themselves aren’t the concern for this piece. This time I’m asking you to consider the pronunciation of the made up words.

Not so long ago I listened to the audiobook of the Mitch Benn novel ‘Terra’. A wonderful story of a adventure on a far off planet through the eyes of a child who just doesn’t fit in, one of the things that struck me was the characters names. One of the main names to confront was Lbbp. An important part of the story, indeed, one of the most important, the character name pops up very regularly. I heard this word before I saw it spelt. Therefore I knew what it sounded like but I had to dig around the interweb to check the spelling to make this point on here.

How do you know, when you read one of these fantastical names or words, that you’re pronouncing it correctly?

When I wrote The Circle of Fire, the villain that shows up at the end of the book had to have a weird name and I just bodged about until something sounded right to me. From then on, every time I wrote or read through what was happening, I’d pronounce the word in a certain way.

But what happens if I’m the only one who sees it this way and everyone else puts the weighting on different parts of the word?

If I were to speak with someone about this, would the potential mismatch of pronunciation risk damaging the aura of the story?

The stories we read ultimately give the same details to all of us but we would each pick up different parts. I suppose that just makes the stories more individual to us, letting us all mould the clay of the novel in our own way.

In short, when it comes to all of these made up phrases, don’t be afraid to put the emph-AR-sis on the wrong syll-A-ble.

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