As I've been reading on Book Country, I've been thinking about character names again. I complained in my previous post on this topic about names that are too consistent and not realistic. This is usually a problem when someone chooses some class of word (colors, types of stone, etc.) and applies it across the board as character names.
The problem I have with Book Country names is rather the opposite -- no consistency. I won't name names, but go to TV Tropes and read Aerith and Bob and you'll get an idea of what I'm talking about. (It's apparently a HUGE problem in fantasy, judging by all the examples in the "literature" section.) It's not just that people tend to use fantastic names (e.g. Aerith) alongside regular ones (e.g. Bob), but that they use a whole bunch of names with different origins for people who are all supposed to have come from the same place. It's like telling me there are five people named Lakshmi, Ahmed, Yiqun, Pablo, and Françoise, and they all hail from the same little village.
People fall into traps of really LIKING certain names, and using them for characters. Perhaps they're confused by the modern world, where you really might have people born (or living) in the same town in America called Kameha, Shalin, and Bryan. And sure, there were always foreigners who traveled far and wide; the ancient Roman empire was cosmopolitan.
But I maintain that it's weird for one third of characters to have French names, one third to have Roman/Latin names, and the rest to be a mixture of German and made-up fantasy names.
For my own manuscript, I separated names into racial and ethnic groups. So one group has French names, one Indian, one Arabic, one Celtic, and so on. There are a few characters outside of this convention, but it's not happenstance. There's a reason for it, and that will become apparent over the course of the series. This was a deliberate choice I made; I actually used a dictionary of first names to choose when I started running out.