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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Neat Names, Titillating Titles, and Writer's Block

What is your formula for choosing a good title for a story, or for naming the characters in a book?

I owe an author I met on-line, Mike Wells, a huge debt for telling us how his journalist mother-in-law picks titles for his books. It works! His own book is called Lust, Money, and Murder. Alliterative and as I told him, with a title like that he doesn't have to write the book. He did, though, and it's very good.

Note to authors: you can Google names that were popular in specific years. This helps to appropriately name your characters. There's a site which also lists how popular a specific name was in a certain year if you type it in, but I've lost the link to that site, which was based on the U.S. Government Department of Statistics.

I mistakenly thought Quinn was a boy's name until I ran into a woman author called Quinn. I advised her I'd like to use the name in a story where Quinn is not a villain, and I did call a minor character Quinn in one of my horror novellas. So Quinn Mar is now a female police officer who shot my pore villain in the chest in the novella called Behind You Satan.

In my stories, I like to mix and match names of people I know or have met -- different first and last names. It's sort of fun and I hope they don't mind. The characters are like no one I've ever met, but their monikers often spring for me from a well of appreciation for an incident, a quality, or personality I like.

My own name was actually listed near the bottom of the 1000 most popular names since 1944. So someone else is named Kenna!
 
Yesterday I finished the second draft of the third novella in my horror anthology, Circle of Devils. Changed the titles frequently before I settled on something. I was looking at some book titles in a used bookstore today and am happy with what I chose, but that could change, too.

The three novellas have unusual titles befitting their horror paranormal genre and the unusual subject matter. The names of the characters were chosen carefully.

There's a lot to learn out there. Many motivational and helpful ebooks are available on-line, some of them free. I'll be sharing hints, odds and sods with my readers over the next few months until the Jive Hive is published.

Look for some original articles or flash fiction here based on what I've read and learned.

A note: had my first case of writer's block last week. I left the story for four or five days then attacked it viciously -- sat down and wrote 4000 words in one night, finished it this week. Followed some advice from Cheryl Tardif, left it, then followed further advice from someone on-line and wrote anything just to start, ha ha, like crap crap crap and then it flowed. Four thousand words later I had the story almost finished.

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