What is the Blogging from A to Z challenge and where can I find more participants? Right here.
What's in a Name? Easy answer: some letters. Yet, they can be a pain in the ass to come up with. One of the characters in The Last God has had his name changed three times during the first draft. Find/Replace, I love you.
As you're wandering through your novel, take a look at the names you've chosen. Are they different enough from one another that it's clear who is who? While John and Johan having fast paced duel might be fun to watch, it could be difficult to follow when reading.
If you're in your own world or in a specific region, do the names work together to form an impression of the society you're working with? For example, you probably don't want Ma'touac and Tim sitting around the communal fire.
Names that have special meaning might take a little explanation, but try not to go overboard into backstory/info dump territory. Sure, you spent three bleary-eyed days pouring through name lists on the internet, seeking out meanings in six languages before settling on just the right one, but is that information pertinent to the story or one of those author quirks that you should revel in behind the scenes?
When you decided that everything on this new planet needed its own name, right down to the potatoes, you might have gone to far. Renaming a few things for flavor works wonderfully to set the scene, but I don't want to constantly refer to the hundred page decoder glossary at the back of the book. In fact, I'd be thrilled if there was no glossary at all. Verify that the things you've named are described adequately so the reader will know what they are in context.
Since I brought up the wonders of Find/Replace, let us pause a moment for a cautionary tale.
Example one: Years ago I changed a MC's last name. No big deal. Except for some funky reason, when I sent the full MS off to the publisher, whatever program they used to convert the .doc to what they wanted to read it in, removed every single instance of that last name. That made for some really weird reading. This was a very odd error, as I'd used the F/R on many other elements in that story over the years. Why it picked that main thing to throw a fit over, I may never know.
Example two: You're feeling confident that using F/R to do the simple switch of Lex to Logan is no big deal. You don't need to monitor every replace, right? Just do them all and be done with it. Yes, well... All is groovy until you start to edit and come across frankenwords like "Her fair comploganion." No sir, not good.
And last, but the most frequent offender: Can anyone else pronounce that combination of letters? I'm sure Xyifnl is a really smart and talented girl that I should be cheering for, but I can honestly tell you she's been nicknamed X in my head for the entire book.
What's your name pet peeve?