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Names and Titles

My least favorite part about writing is coming up with names for my characters. I struggle with finding the right names. It takes me a great deal of time. I have a collection of baby books at home that I have combed through countless times. Please note that I’ve had some of these books prior to having a child.

It doesn’t matter if I’m naming a fictional character or a real live person. I was in my third trimester before my husband and I could come up with a name for our son. We joked he would be born before we decided on a name. Fortunately for naming him all we had to consider was 1) we liked the name, 2) it worked with our last name. Done.

Fictional characters, on the other hand, are a bit more complicated. Readers need to be able to pronounce the names. Readers also need to not be confused by characters with similar names.

Case in point, my first novel has a main character named Lila, and a minor character named Lisa. Or rather, my first novel has a character formerly known as Lisa. She is currently masquerading as Hope.

I’ve changed several characters in this fashion, realizing that I’ve overused certain alphabet letters to the point of abuse. Keep in mind this novel is over a decade old. I fear someone will mention the character Hope and my response will be “I have a character named Hope?”

Titles have turned into my other hardship. I tend to throw a title to a work early on, and then change it if another comes up. My first title for my first book was horrible, I won’t even admit it here. My second title was Project Torture. The problem being that the story is a lighthearted Women’s Fiction/Romance. Project Torture is a real phrase that is used in the novel and works, once you’ve read the story.

A title is used to attract a reader. Torture sounds… well… like torture. Therefore it was not the right title for my book. So, much like changing Lisa, I now struggled to come up with a new title.

To add insult to injury another novel, still working through the drafts, was said to have a title that didn’t work. Much like Project Torture the title was too dark. Apparently I need to be channeling my inner clown during title naming sessions.


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