Wednesday, June 06, 2018

IWSG: Names and Titles

Welcome to the June 2018 post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, a group to support fellow writers. Learn more about the IWSG on their website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed. Our hosts this month are Beverly Stowe McClure, Tyrean Martinson, and Ellen Jacobson.

Our question for this month is What's harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?

I would say book titles are more difficult for me because I change them more often than I do character names. For example, Twinned Universes was originally called To Thine Own Self Be True, then Across Two Universes (which I decided was too similar to Across the Universe, which was used for a YA SF title before I published my book) before I settled on the final title. Lyon's Legacy was originally titled Move Over Ms. L.,which was the title of a John Lennon song I quoted in an early draft. I ended up writing my own song lyrics instead to avoid legal issues. Short stories can go through several name changes as my understanding of the story evolves during writing and revising.

I generally don't change character names so often because they are core to the character. It does happen, however. In the Catalyst Chronicles series, Paul's full name was originally Paul Richard Lennon Harrison, a reference to the four Beatles. Currently it's just Paul Lyon Harrison. Sometimes I change character names if I decide to change their background. Julia is a secondary character in the Catalyst Chronicles series. I don't remember what her original surname was, but when I realized she was half-Navajo, her last name became Kee. Finally, in my current work in progress, I changed the name of a dryad prince when I realized I'd been naming the other dryads with adjective-noun combinations (Redbark, Longleaf) instead of more traditional human names. Now I just realized another character doesn't follow this naming convention. Back to brainstorming!

How often do you change names or titles? Feel free to share examples in the comments.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Book titles are harder although I've never changed one. I guess once I come up with one, usually long after the story have been written and editing, I cling to it. And two of my books I didn't even come up with the title.

Pat Dilloway said...

I don't change titles too often.

James Pailly said...

I usually have a title before I even start writing. Same with character names. I find it's a lot harder for me to change a character's name than a book's title, though.

emaginette said...

Looks like your titles evolve with your stories. Nice. :-)

Anna from elements of emaginette

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I did adjust the order of my series, putting the series title first where originally it was second.

Tyrean Martinson said...

I've had to struggle with both, but once I hit on a name I usually stick with it or only slightly change it. I did make the mistake of having twins with names that both started with K and then I messed up their names in the book and had to a line by line read followed by a search and replace to make sure I had them both right in every instance. Whew.
Happy June Writing!

Crystal Collier said...

I typically settle on character names right at the get go, occasionally changing one I really don't care for. Titles are static until I'm near completion. Then I start looking at them again. There are a few though that hit me in the middle.

Loni Townsend said...

I've changed more character names than titles, but I have more characters than books. :)

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