Today I have a tired. Actually I have enough for two, if anybody wants to split off some of my tired and take it away for me and still leave me with a tired. It is December, it is so very much December, and I spent most of last week being sick, and despite having made epic strides in Christmas shopping online in the last two days, I am behind. I am so behind.
And my brain, dear sweet wacky brain, keeps making me behind-er.
Brain: “let’s not work on the new novel just now” does not map to “let’s work on a brand new short story instead!” That is not what that means, brain.
Anyway, someone on FB asked a question about how she should spell a character name, because she was afraid that readers would mispronounce it. And I went, “Ooh ooh! I know this one, pick me pick me!” The answer is: they will. I mean, ideally not all of them. Ideally not even most of them. But if you write a perfectly normal name like Zhang, there will be readers who are twelve years old or from the sticks or some other explanation and will pronounce it Zuh-hang. You cannot let yourself get upset by this. You do your best and move on, and when someone has questions for you about your character Zuh-hang, you tell yourself, “I am so lucky, people read and care about my characters.” (And maybe you politely correct them.) But honestly, people cannot pronounce the names of actual other human beings they have reason to interact with. Ask Mr. Hjalmarsson of the Chicago Blackhawks. So the ones in your head? They’re going to get mispronounced. It is so far down the list of things for you to worry about.
Someone on the internet is wrong. Someone reading your fiction is wrong. Channel your inner Norwegian farmer uncle, say, “Ayeh, that’ll happen,” and get back to milking the metaphorical cows. (Really, not everybody has an inner Norwegian farmer uncle? Hmm. I will have to think on this.)