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Book Titles vs. Character Names

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

For sure the book title is harder. It’s so immediate, so vital as a first impression, akin to the book cover. You can draw a reader in or shoo them away. The names of characters, while important are rarely deal-breakers as far as someone picking up the book or even continuing to read. Interesting and meaningful character names do not necessarily matter in many cases and analyzing why an author named a character yields few results except in obvious cases like Voldemort.

In fact, obscure or everyday names are chosen more often than not to no ill effect. I sometimes
choose names from the credits of a movie or by combining first and last names I’ve heard. Human names are easy to come by and many are unique and interesting or common and easy to remember. Titles that tell you something about the story are rare and give so much of a feel to the entire text, especially before you have a completed cover. It’s hard to overstate the pressure I feel when choosing a book title.

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  1. I have more trouble with character names than title. Choosing names from movie credits is something I have read on other blogs today – perhaps I’ll give that a look. I’m good with titles, but really, there is no pressure until it comes time to publish. 🙂

    • Gene Desrochers Gene Desrochers

      I hear that. You are right that you can have a working title and then change it. Sounds like you are good at that, maybe you should read my draft and give me the title next time!

  2. Movie credits – I’ll have to consider that. I make up all of the names in my stories and it would be easy to take one an morph it into a suitable science fiction name.

  3. Hi Gene.
    I struggle with character names. My characters remain Mrs. B, Mr. X and Miss Y for a very long time.
    Having said that, I read an IWSG post where the author commented on the fact that Fantasy writers should stop using character names with weird spellings like substituting a ‘y’ for an ‘i’ or an ‘e’ so the name looks exotic. Or making up a name that is impossible to pronounce.
    I suppose the fantasy genre lends itself to that.

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