Over the past few years, when I’ve had the rare opportunity to speak directly with a reader and hear what they think of The Forgotten Gemstone, I’ve been asked several times now about pronunciation. Even my mother suggested a pronunciation guide be included in the books.
I am still torn on the subject. You see, when I wrote The Forgotten Gemstone, I set out to break tropes, and I’m told I do that very well in this book. And part of breaking tropes was getting away from certain expected Fantasy novel elements, such as the faux British style of narrative voice, the usual cast of characters such as dragons and wizards, maps, glossaries, and pronunciation guides.
Personally, while reading, I very seldom reference the extra material included in the book. I often skip over Forewords, Introductions, and Afterwords. If I really like the story, I’ll go back and read all the extras.
I am aware that this approach increases the likelihood of me saying a name incorrectly, but since I rarely have the time to discuss what I read with others, no one other than myself is going to know. Besides, the various interpretations of pronouncing a name is the sort of thing readers will talk and debate about, and that’s one way stories stay alive and take hold in readers’ minds.
However, every reader is different and some of you want to know the writer’s vision, and I completely understand. As a reader, I have those leanings too.
After doing some research online, and lurking on forums to read what readers and other writers feel about including glossaries and other extra material in their books, I discovered there is about a 50/50 split between the yays and the nays when it comes to including pronunciation guides.
Even though there are clues in both of my books, The Forgotten Gemstone and The Other Castle, regarding the pronunciation of certain names, they are few. So, I’ve decided to start creating supplemental materials to assist readers in navigating the Xiinisi storyverse, starting with the series,The Xiinisi Pronunciation Guide, which will be posted as installments on my blog.
Eventually this guide will be published in a book or booklet format, and then included in a larger encyclopedia style project. If you would like to learn how I say some of these crazy names, be sure to subscribe below.