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Why I Say My Characters’ Names Weirdly

Today’s post isn’t so much a frequently asked question, as much as me addressing a common theme I’ve noticed among Champions. When I speak–whether it’s on Facebook Live, Youtube Live, or on a panel/discussion–I’ve noticed Champions are always disappointed with themselves because they say character/country/place names differently than I do.

Please allow me to assure you, there is a 95% chance I’m slaughtering my own characters’/country/place names, and I’m the one saying it wrong! There are two main reasons for this!

  1. Some of my worlds–cough, Timeless Fairy Tales, cough–have countries based on historical countries/empires from the real world. In example: Trieux culture, names, and fashion are all heavily based on historic French culture/fashion/etc. I don’t speak French, so there is no possible way I’m going to be able to pronounce the French-themed names.

  2. I have a reading disability which makes it hard for me to tell letters apart.

Oohhh, dropped a bit of a bomb on you with that second one, eh? Yes, I have a really hard time correctly pronouncing a lot of regular words from the English language because I can’t for certain tell which letters are used and–as a result–what sound they’re supposed to make. My Midwest accent covers the worst of it–my words tend to slur together so I don’t say letters crisply, meaning it’s harder to tell if I’m for certain saying something correctly or if it’s just my accent. But the biggest giveaway of my reading disability is that if I’m responding to a question and reading a Champion’s name from the comments, I find it really, really difficult to tell what his/her name really is. (Of course it’s extra stressful because it’s LIVE so I’m trying to figure out as quickly as possible what your name is, so I almost always end up mispronouncing it.)

For the sake of those who are curious, my reading problems boil down to my inability to tell the difference between letters. I know d and b are different letters, but looking at them together I have no idea which letter makes what noise because I can never remember which one faces what direction. I rely heavily on memorization, and use keywords to remind me what letters make what noise. In example, if I’m looking at a word that uses a d or b, I’ll visually recall the word “dog” because I 100% know what that word looks like, and I know it starts with a d. I’ll then mentally compare “dog” to the letter in the word, and figure out if it matches or not.

This problem is also why a few of you have caught it when I randomly change the way a character’s name is spelled. I accidentally shifted the Purple Rider’s name between 12 Dancing Princesses (Neera) and Frog Prince (Nareena). When a reader reported the problem to Meg, she sent me the email to let me know there was an issue. I had to count out the letters in each name before I could finally “see” there was a difference, even though one of them has extra letters.

Professionally, this means my poor editors have a lot more work than they might normally, and it’s also why my books will always squeak through and get published with a few minor errors. I’ve gotten lots of offers from people to proof read, but because of my reading disability, I could have ten people go through the book and it would STILL have errors at the end, and the book would take about five times longer to release. And while it is generous and kind of people to offer to proof read, I’m not looking for anymore proofreaders or beta readers at this time.

I’ve settled into an arrangement where editing only takes up about half of the book launch process, and the books have a livable amount of errors when they do get published. I know the errors make some people upset, but this is the very best I can do and still keep up with my launch schedule. So I understand when people choose not to read my books as a result–I even encourage it! We all have our own things that make a book or author vibe with us. This is something I will never be able to fix about myself, and as a fellow reader I want people to read books that make them personally happy!

I ventured off topic for a little while there, but all of this is to say that the next time you hear me say a character name in a wacky or wild way, fret not! 😉 More than likely, you’re the one that’s saying it correctly!

Thanks for reading, Champions! I hope you have a splendid day!

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