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I've always had trouble with inventing names. They refuse to come, or when they do, they sound funny or cheesy. However, a name will occasionally pop into my head, fully formed and sounding perfect. The only problem is that all of the names I think up sound similar.
For example, I am developing a fantasy world. I have elves, dwarves, and other races of my own creation. I want all the names of one race to be similar to each other (elves are soft, dwarves are guttural, etc.) , but at the same time, they need to be different enough within the same species so that readers won't confuse them.
How can I accomplish this?
For elves, I've found that names ending with 'ir' or 'mir' work well, as well as names ending with 'in'. This is fine as far as it goes. But all I can think of are names that end like that, and some of them are too similar for readers to distinguish at first. How can I keep the names similar, yet different?
EDIT: The answer I found the most helpful, was the answer to the question linked to by James in the comments below.