titles or character names-www.themanuscriptshredder.com
IWSG-Insecure Writers Support Group

Character Names or Book Titles, which is more difficult?-IWSG

 It’s IWSG time again!

This is my monthly post on the blog hop The Insecure Writers Support Group: a blog hop therapy group for writers.

(If you’re here for my writing lessons and have no need for this warm-fuzzy-feeling stuff, I’ll see you Friday after next. I’m on vacation.)

The awesome co-hosts for the June 6 posting of the IWSG are Beverly Stowe McClure, Tyrean Martinson, Tonja Drecker, and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor!

June 6 question –

What’s harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?

Book titles, hands down.

titles or character names-www.themanuscriptshredder.comMaybe because I’m a pantser, but I never have any problem with character names. My entire writing process begins with a character. The characters begin with their names. If I don’t have a name, I don’t have a character. Next, I learn what this person wants. Followed by who is standing in the way. Once I have those things, I can determine how far he or she is willing to go to get it. Other bits I will pick up along the way. Nervous ticks? Physical description. These all come from the seed created by the name.

Why is the name so important? People are defined by their names. In some way a person’s name will have an effect on them throughout their lives. Winston Beaumont III or Billy Ray Jones? Whose scholarly article would you implicitly trust? Even if you personally don’t hold these prejudices, many people do, and a lifetime of reinforcement will have an effect on a person. Names are integral to identity.

As for the second half, finding a title for a book is an impossible quest. My working titles are usually named after the main character and the number in the series. Or I use sarcastic titles, for my own amusement. For example, in one WIP, the female character picked up an evil curse from a rock, so I called the book “Stoned.” I still don’t have a serious title for that one. Probably never will.

The idea of naming a book before it’s finished seems ludicrous to me. I have to have the entire story finished before I can pick a phrase to surmise the meaning. The only reason I follow any naming convention at all is because Scrivener forces me to name the file. That and I couldn’t keep calling all my books document1.

To continue on the blog hop

M.L. Keller is a freelance writer and editor. Her blog "The Manuscript Shredder" is focused on helping emerging writers hone their craft.


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