My husband is playing World of Warcraft (WoW) behind me as I write tonight, and leaned over to mock the name of one of the characters in the game. Not that over-the top names are unusual in WoW. But they are a mark of bad fantasy and new-age idiocy.
I remember years ago going into a crystal shop with a friend, and being amused by a book written by Raven Silverwolf. It was on the shelf right next to another book…by Silver Ravenwolf. Did she get bored with one name and decide to change to another, I wondered, or were they two different authors both blinded to reality by too much incense and vegan food?
Games like WoW can get away with ridiculous character names. But put them in a book, and all of a sudden your credibility takes a nasty dip. Even a more off-beat fantasy story like the Discworld novels or Tansy Rayner Roberts’ Splashdance Silver series needs careful handling of names to create credible but still amusing wordplay.
I think the worst name I ever came up with for a story was Zwi, which was, at best, unpronouncable (another pitfall of fantasy naming – not enough vowels).
How about you? What are your thoughts on fantasy names? What’s the worst name you’ve ever come up with?