Today, I’m asking you all for help.This problem has been running round and round in my head, and while I know what I prefer, I want to ask for your opinion as fellow authors and readers.
I’ve been getting feedback on my first Lar Elien novel, and one of the things that came up was a quibble about the name “Lar Elien” itself. The commentee didn’t like it because the spelling always reminded her of a misspelled English word, taking her out of the story. That is bad.
Now, that name is as old as the novel, and of course, I was proud of developing it. I wanted it to look a little foreign, with those two syllables. I originally started out with one word, “Larelien”. That looked boring, if you ask me, as it would totally fit German land name conventions (think “Larelia” in English). So I split it. And thus most countries in my world actually are named similarly, with two words. There is a Blan Kara, a Tir Enwen and several others. For that reason, going back to “Larelien” is not an option.
My first question is: What do you think about “Lar Elien”? Does it work as name? Does it feel slightly alien and fantasy-like? How would you pronounce it?
Now, I’ve been using that name for more than ten years in my mind, and of course, I’ve always known how it is pronounced: Lur Elee-en
I’ve been thinking about adding an accent, to make it more clear the second word has two syllables – “Lar Elién” – which would be a little change, and one easily made. But … accents. Accents are a cliche in Fantasy. Another suggestion was “Lar Eliann”, which still keeps the pronunciation similar, but reminds me too much of Ann.
For me, it is very difficult to decide, because the name has become dear to me. Yet as author, I need to keep my audience in mind, and when somebody with a lot of experience says the name grates on her, I want to at least listen.
So my second question is, which would you prefer?
#1 Lar Elien
#2 Lar Elién
#3 Lar Eliann
Thank you for all for comments and your help. It means a lot to me.