Lately I've been working evening at work and that means long periods of downtime. To fill the void of my boredom I've been reading.
Right now I am a fourth of the way through L.E. Modesitt Jr's Lady-Protector. It's definitely worth the read. I'm impressed that Mr. Modesitt can make such simple character interactions as conversation dramatic and tense. In fact so far most of the book has been conversations as the main character scrambles to reestablish order.
My only complaint would have to be the names of most of the characters. Just to give you an idea, here's a spoiler free list from the book:
That's a lot of Ys. In fact out of that list alone 80% of the names have Ys! Not to mention this is just half of the actual list. There's 12 more characters with names just like these. Mr. Modesitt is definitely taking liberties with the "sometimes Y" rule.
This pops up a lot in fiction. Xs, Ys, Ws, and Zs are less frequent in English and therefore appear foreign, cool and edgy. I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with this practice but I do think it would add a lot more substance and depth to the fantasy world if this naming convention wasn't so inconsistent.
Because I wasn't able to find a pronunciation guide in the book. (If anyone knows of one, please send it my way!) I've just done whatever I've wanted to these darn Ys. For example, I've gotten used to pronouncing the character Areyst's name as "arrest". I use an oo sound in the last syllable of Joramyl's name and the Y is and ee for me in Garyk's name! This is what I was talking about when I meant inconsistency.
It would be so much cooler (for me anyway) if the Y actually represented an interesting sound other than whatever I deem it to be. That way would be so much easier for me to get engrossed in the world and by association the characters.
Regardless Lady-Protector is a good read and you should definitely pick it up. How do you handle naming conventions? Do you borrow from real world languages or make things up as you go? Or do something else completely different?