This week I’m going to start with an extended question and I’d love to hear back from all of you in the comments below.
As many of you know, I’m working on a historical mystery set in the Hittite Empire. My question is this, should I shorten and simplify the long Hittite names of my characters? They tend to overburden and confuse the story for most readers. A couple of my long-time critique partners have said recently they really think I should shorten them. So what do you think? If I did, I would, of course, mention the changes in my author note.
My two main characters are famous within Hittite history, having ruled (after my book) for many decades, Puduhepa and Hattusili. There are three other characters whose names come down to us from history: Pentipsharri, Arma-Tahunda and Great King Muwattalli.
Then there is the group whose names I created, but using a list of known Hittite (or in one case Egyptian) names: Hepate, Naptera, Khety, Shalu, Kuna, Ilali, Daniti, Nakili, Akija.
So which of these, or all of them, would you shorten or abandon? And what to use instead?
Important follow up question: Propose non-silly nicknames for Puduhepa, Hattusili, Pentipsharri, Muwattalli and Pentipsharri.
Here are the posts I enjoyed around the web this week:
How to Write Dialog that Sounds like Real Speech. This is a no nonsense reminder of some tips for writing good dialogue. I enjoyed Linda Clare’s “before” and “after” models and her rule of 3 is a handy yardstick to keep in mind. On C.S. Lakin’s very helpful writing advice website (if you haven’t found it yet). Click here for “How to Write Dialog that Sounds like Real Speech” on Live Write Thrive C.S. Lakin’s website.
Many thanks to Debbie Hilcove for this wonderful article about Hand of Fire and writing fiction set in the ancient world. By Ishtar, I’m grateful for good writer friends! Click here for “Love Story Gone Awry” in The Wrangler
The site at Tel Kabri near Haifa, Israel overseen by Eric Cline and Assaf Yasur-Landau continues to amaze (1850-1600 BCE). Last season they found storage rooms of wine and this season uncovered more clay storage jars in a series of rooms. The similarities to Aegean palaces such as Knossos continues to grow—which has surprised everyone. I may have to send some character in my fiction to this location–we don’t know what it was called or who lived there, but one can imagine! Click here for Haaretz’s article “Canaanite Rules Liked their Wine Jars: Vast Collection Found at Tel Kabri”