Should I change the names I already have to fit with the setting better?

So I made up the names of my three main characters before I realised that the setting I had decided on was kind of boring. Basically just a castle in the countryside, in a very similar area to a lot of my other stories taking place in this world. So I decided that I could change the location and the country I randomly thought of to draw inspiration from was Finland. I don’t know why I chose Finland specifically, but it was apparently one of the best writing decisions I have made in a while because when I looked up the climate, traditional clothes and other parts of the culture, it all fitted perfectly around what I had so far. And the traditional dress is amazing. But then I hit a problem. The name situation. I recently used this website to find ideas for names for the characters and came up with some good ones:

  • Biridabrynn Fable Arden Selen
  • Maysee Lelacarma Utter
  • Oreleira Luelle Selen-Elavorre

However, these are not very Finnish names and I feel like they should be at least partly similar. Should I change the names completely? Change the spellings where it works? Change the middle names (I would get rid of ‘Fable’ and ‘Luelle’)? Or just leave them? I probably wouldn’t make them all exactly match names commonly found in Finland but I would mix names from the language around a bit. If I do end up changing them then I’ll be okay finding the names on my own.
Edit: I might also change ‘Arden’ (Ar-den) to ‘Ardene’ (Ar-dean) so that the ‘en’ sound isn’t repeated.
Edit again: No one replied so I’m going to make a poll and then you won’t have to write an answer, you can just click a box.

  • Change the names completely
  • Change the spellings where it works
  • Change the middle names
  • Keep them the same
  • Something else
  • Change ‘Arden’ to ‘Ardene’ as well

0 voters

If the location is Finland, and you want the setting to be realistic and accurate, then change the names. If the location is simply based on Finland, then you’ll probably be fine.

If I opened a book claiming to take place in Finland though and saw these names, I’d probably wouldn’t believe the author knew what they were talking about/didn’t do their research.

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It takes place in an area similar to Finland, which is why I was looking at the traditional dress to see how it’s affected by the climate, and then got interested in the rest of the culture. I am, however, keeping things like the bright colours, vertical lines and white shirts the same in the clothing, so some of the similarities are more to do with the culture.
Another idea I thought of was that, in a story that takes place in a different part of the same world, there are a mixture of three types of name found: old names (names from our world from the time that part of the new world was first explored), new names (names completely made up by the people that lived there after they were trapped) and names that come from old names and are changed a bit over time after being passed down through generations. In this area, people arrived and wanted to cling to their memories of home, hence naming their children after parents or grandparents, and the richest and most powerful had family trees made to ensure their origins were remembered, meaning the richest were more likely to remember names from the old world. So the richer or more powerful you are, the more likely you are to have a name from the old world. What if, in the place the story I’m talking about in the main question takes place, it’s the opposite — these people are all about change, growth and innovation, especially the ones in power. So the people who stick to traditions, and traditional names, are the poorer, less powerful people who just want solidity and certainty in their lives. I found a Finnish name that could have Maysee as a nickname (Marja), and her circumstances fit best with this idea, so maybe she could have her name changed and I could leave the others? I’m not sure if this would make the problem better or worse.

That idea, while it took me a moment to understand, does sound pretty cool. If it’s explained in the story, then make sure you explain it as clearly as possible just so there isn’t a chance of someone missing a part of the explanation and then getting confused (like I almost did).
Funnily enough, I started writing a short story for a writing contest where I used my method of sticking words related to the character into Google Translate and then translating them to Finnish in order to get surnames. So I ended up with a character named [name_u]Janne[/name_u] [name_u]Kiva[/name_u], for example, who died of cancer and then her boyfriend killed himself a week after her funeral. ‘Kiva’ was the result I got for ‘love’, which is self-explanatory. [name_f]My[/name_f] main character was [name_f]Aurora[/name_f] Kalma (‘Kalma’ for ‘death’, I think?) who was named as such because she’s the undertaker’s daughter in the story. Anyway, that’s a tangent, but my point is probably that I’d definitely adjust the names a bit. Not really because of the setting, though that’s about 10% of it, but because your names (barring Maysee) are quite complicated.
Of course, it’s your decision on whether you’d like to change the names or not.