Grammar Girl hits on one of my periodic gripes about reading fantasies in Apostrophes in Science Fiction and Fantasy Names. If I read a story, I should be able to figure out how the name is generally pronounced — even if my pronunciation is wrong — from reading. Yet, I sometimes run into names that look like the author plucked random letters from a hat. It’s made worse when apostrophes are used to excess to make the names look different.
I’m not someone who notices a lot of details, so if I’m noticing the names, they’re probably annoying an awful lot of people!
A while back, I was reading a book that had a good dose of both. The author particularly liked apostrophes on common words. I finally got fed up with these strange names and on my next story I plucked them out of a baby book. Sent it off to a magazine, and the story was rejected — for the names!
Granted, the magazine editor was right, because my world building skills were, ahem, very lacking. I’d just picked names I’d like and didn’t try to fit them in with a world. I probably could’ve gotten away with it if I’d left the Russian name out!