How to name character and place, so that reader feel connected.

by Archie
(Ranchi,Jharkahand,India)

Question: I am an Indian, and Indian names and places appear sometimes alien to people in other countries. I want to write horror fiction inspired by witchcraft, occult practiced in India (as heard by me). I really don't understand how I should name my characters and places so that readers get interested. I also want to use pen name for myself- is it a stupid decision?


Answer: It sounds like you want to write these stories for non-Indians, in which case the exotic setting may be advantageous. One of the reasons people read books is to feel like they have experienced some place they have never actually been to.

It's true that Indian names can seem challenging to some readers (some having a lot more syllables and hs than Westerners are used to). But I wouldn't change the names of major cities, since that's where the authenticity comes in. To make the characters' names easier for the reader, you may...

1. Choose names that start with different letters of the alphabet, have different lengths, or that otherwise appear quite different from each other. Names that appear similar can be confusing.

2. Shorter names are easier for Westerners. Could some characters have nicknames?

3. If these are horror stories, consider having a Westerner as a main character -- someone totally unfamiliar with India and its traditions and to whom the environment and village culture may seem strange and threatening. The reader can learn about India and its magical traditions as the main character learns about them, making exposition easier.

There's nothing wrong with using a penname. Many writers do.

Comments for How to name character and place, so that reader feel connected.

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Apr 28, 2015
thank you
by: Archie

Thanks Glen for your support and precious time,you helped me a lot . Your advice gave me clarity about my story.thanks! i don't have enough words to thank you ..

Dec 24, 2015
can i write as much as i want
by: christine

I sometimes write a lot. Is it palatable to write as many [much?] as you please to make the audience or readers appreciate it or do we have limits on certain chapters to write please?

Dec 27, 2015
To Christine
by: Glen

Write what is needed for the reader to fully appreciate the story. Cut everything that is not needed. That is the golden rule.

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