IWSG: What’s in a name?

This is the part where I express my profound appreciation to writer J. H. Moncrieff for being so on top of things. You see, I leapt up and joined a group (the IWSG you see in the title; more in a moment) — and dutifully marked on my calendar that I needed to have a post completed for First Wednesday — and then … didn’t.

But J. H. did! She actually has a truly useful post about getting your novel into bookstores (a dream of all writers, surely). And as I’m on her newsletter list, I saw the post. At which point I muttered an expletive (directed at myself, of course). But I have a freshly poured cup of coffee (touch of milk) in front of me, and the world before me (at least until I need to leave for the day job), so here we go …

The suggested topic for this month’s post is: What’s harder to come up with, book titles or character names?

Whew. Thankfully, this is an easy one to answer: book titles are harder, of course.

Character namesΒ float in from that mysterious place where all the other first draft debris comes from, the flotsam (and occasional jetsam) that populates the emerging story like the contents of an antiques shop off the high street in some small town in East Anglia. Generally, they’re acknowledged to be entirely functional without too much tinkering, hammering out of dents, and with just a bit of polishing.

An aside: I must admit to a strong dislike (perhaps even a loathing) for cute character names. The ones that scream at you, every time you come across them in the book, that this is a fabrication. Not real. Forced. There are exceptions, of course. Mostly genre-based. Fantasy and romance (akin to each other as they are in their mysterious way) — those characters’ names don’t disturb me. But anything in the suspense/mystery/thriller range — you want me obsessing on what the hell is going on, entirely immersed in the story, and not coming to a jarring halt every time Biff or Suzie “Snap” Wilson or the like make an appearance. (Note: I made those up. No disrespect to any author who’s published books with those character names. Well, maybe the “Biff”.)

Book titles, on the other hand, are a serious business. They are agonizingly difficult. How does one summarize and yet intrigue? Those book titles will be front and center and follow you around forever. They, with the book cover, comprise the First Impression you want to wow and hook prospective readers. A HEAVY LOAD TO CARRY.

Book titles are hard. And worthy of some posts all their own. Which I will calendar to write. I promise.

Until then, keep writing! And keep reading! It’s magic.

Insecure Writer's Support Group #IWSGThe purpose of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! #IWSG



Photo from jannesglas at @unsplash


9 thoughts on “IWSG: What’s in a name?”

    1. Love your titles! _And_ book covers. Your struggles yielded great results. Thanks for visiting πŸ™‚

  1. Ha ha – I’m the opposite! I’m great with titles. Sadly, my first draft debris generator does not include the characters names – maybe it needs an upgrade. Totally agree about cutesy names – they generally detract from a story. Although, Back to the Future had a Biff. πŸ™‚

    1. I am one of the three people in the world who’s never seen BTTF. Yes. Sad, but true.

      PS: Laughed aloud at the peek into your angst-filled dialogue with yourself … especially the trademarked Grace and the killing KiKi. Thx!

  2. Very impressive writing this post over a cup of coffee before work. I struggle with pretty much anything until at least two cups of coffee have been consumed. πŸ™‚

    It’s great to have you part of this month’s blog hop!

    Book titles are so important – it’s one of the things I worry about. Are mine good enough to hook readers in or something they’ll just flick past.

    1. Great to be part of the loop — thanks for the welcome!

      I can tell you’re truly a cat-owned person (as am I) because, were I to pose that same question, my two would answer just as Simon. Perfect. Aren’t they adorable?

  3. I’ll hold you to that promise!
    Thanks for taking the time to visit and comment.
    And also for the nudge to watch “Annihilation”. I’d missed that.

  4. Hahaha, my mind went to back to the future too with Biff. I’m not sure if I have any “cute” names in my stories. I do have quite a few made up ones, though!

    Great to see you on your own site! I didn’t realize you had a blog until I got an email saying “Broken Links” and I saw your old links weren’t working. So I hopped on Twitter to find if you had a new one, and sure enough!

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