That's funny. I don't really worry about weather people will pronounce it right or remember the spelling. I guess I figure if your reading to yourself, it can really be anything you want it to be. I guess it isn't until the book is read aloud that the pronunciation matters and even then not the worst thing to have happen to your work right? : )
Having lived with an unusually spelled and often mispronounced name my entire life, I think I just enjoy the challenge of an "odd" name. Plus, I think if it's really different it will be easier to remember.
Good point. Unusual names are definitely more memorable.
And you might be surprised how many times a name like Regina is mispronounced, too. I get the long I and the hard G all the time, though not in the same pronunciation. :)
Tia is even mispronounced. Automated phone calls, like from CVS regarding my prescriptions, say Chia (like Chia pet). Really?
When my daughters get caught up with how to pronounce a name while reading, I tell them just to read and say the first initial of the name in their head. I don't want them stumbling on a name. But I wonder if they tell the teacher their favorite character was T? ;-)
Please realize I have not actually ever published anything, lol. That said, I love to name characters. I find a lot names via the Nymbler. It's given me dozens of names I'd never thought of before. I've also found baby name websites helpful if I know I want a character's name to hold a specific meaning.
I struggled with this for a key character in my forthcoming book. Usually the characters, even the minor ones, show up with their names, but this guy, fittingly a sort of misfit character in the book, wouldn't give it up right away. I ended up doing a lot of research based on his family history (what would his mother name him and why...which tied in a lot with the family dynamics) and the island's history, culture etc., and eventually found something that fit his spirit (I just knew it when I heard it, that that was his name, and then when I looked up the meaning of the name, and it described him to a T, I embraced it) and he became so much easier to write and understand once his real name was in place.
When I first had to start coming up with names, I picked up a couple of baby name books-it really helped with ideas. I then just tried a few out that I liked until I felt I had one that fit the character's personality and/or origins. Now, it's much easier to come up with names.
I approach naming in two ways: First name, I use a baby naming book. The meaning of the name is important to me. For the surname I use the obituaries. I got this tip from a short story expert. Using the name of a deceased person can avoid trouble.
Sometimes a character's name reveals something about the character. Hercule Poirot's name means Herculean pear in French which suggests a rotund figure and how he possibly walks. That's why I like Agatha Cristie's characters they are so life like. I am still on my first draft so my novel is evolving.
In my novel, Reign of the Watchers, I created the majority of my characters' names with meanings. I agree that it can be a tricky thing to do, and I found myself changing some of the names around as I wrote. Fortunately, one of my characters was already named: Methuselah, whose Hebrew name means "man of the dart." I worked that into my plot. For other characters I used both Hebrew and Sumerian names and meanings. Like for a nasty fellow in the book, I named him Abishag, Hebrew for "my father strays." One of the Sumerian names is Enkum, meaning "guardian." He's in charge of palace security. But then, not all the names mean something... they just sounded good to me. Perhaps it was easier for me to come up with names because my novel's setting is set eons ago!
I depend a lot on baby names.com and keep an eye out for unusual names of actual people. I also like using names that suggest something about a character's background or personality. For instance, a friend's grandmother's name was Wilma Wornstaff, and it worked perfectly for an aging dancer in my second novel. Using names of friends is also something I do regularly -- they're more likely to buy the book if you tell them you named a character after them :)
When I do names, if you dont mind me helping, I look at where they are from. Then I look at ancients names for that place or culture, because usually they have a meaning. Sometimes I pick from there, other times I mix what i read and give it to another character lol