Avoiding Story Title and Character Name Problems by Starla Kaye
A writer likes to dive into a project, let the excitement of this new story pull you forward. That is great, but many of us soon run into little problems almost immediately. These nuisances can take the steam out of rolling merrily on with the writing. Here are some of those challenges and suggestions for dealing with the problem of choosing a story title and handling issues with character names:
Choosing a Story Title: Some writers have no problem coming up with a title or at least a working title. Try to pick something that applies to the theme of the story or the characters and keep it short. But if this is a problem that you spend too much time sweating over, use something easy like “Romance BVS” or “Working Title” and get on with the task of writing. After you have finished the story (or maybe when you’re part way into it), the perfect title will come to you.
Character Names-Fitting the Personality: Names are important and they need to fit the personality of the character you have in mind. Certain names invoke images of a rough, tough, Alpha man (Colt, Sam, Morgan) while certain names give images of a less strong, less aggressive man (Theopolis, Thornton, Horace—okay these are from historical works I have written). The same goes for female names, whether you want something clearly bimbo-like, sexy, intellectual, etc. Think seriously about the character’s traits and how the name fits the person.
Character Names-Spelling Issues: It is so easy to come up with a really unique name that fits the character…and yet turns out to be a nightmare for the writer. For example having to type Theopolis or Gloriana or Devereaux or Boudreaux or many of the uniquely spelled sci-fi or fantasy names can be a real typing challenge. A typing challenge slows the writer down and can cause issues with needing to get on with your thought at the moment. One way around these name writing challenges is to assign them a specific filler name (like THS for Theopolis) and then use find and replace later putting in the correct name.
Character Names-Too Many That Sound the Same: In order not to confuse your reader (or yourself), try to use a cast of characters with names that don’t sound too much alike (Mandy and Candy). Also try not to have character names that start with the same letter (Chase, Colt, and Casey).
Character names-Using the Same in Too Many Books: If you are writing your first book or even your first few books, it is fairly easy to remember your characters. I have 43 published novels and novellas and it is impossible to recall all of their names. And a writer tends to have names you like and come quickly to mind when you start a new story. That is when you have a problem…okay, when I have a problem. For some reason I like the name Maggie and I used it in three stories. A way around this is to keep a list of names you have used in different stories. My list is huge, especially when you consider side characters, too.
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