Names are tough.  They can be the second-hardest part about writing a book.

Author names:

As an author, my name is a pseudonym.  That’s not even the whole story.  My first name is correct, but my last name is more complicated to pronounce/spell than Christine.  It’s important to pick an easily pronounceable name, else readers won’t be able to recommend you to friends.

As a reader, I remember talking with a friend about Tamora Pierce.  You’d think a name like that would be easy to pronounce, but it wasn’t.  We argued about whether her name was Tam-OR-uh or TAM-er-uh.  I won’t even get started on how many friends argued with me on the correct way to pronounce Paolini.

Character names:

As an author, character names came from several places.  They came from either the Lion King (Lana came from Nala) or from Hamlet (Claur is a mix of Claudius and Scar) or from a mix of letters I thought sounded good.  Some were easy (Beerluck’s name came fully formed), and some were difficult (I went through many names before settling on Lesro for Lana’s brother).

As a reader, I notice how important it is to have the correct name.  If two names sound/look somewhat similar, I’ll get them mixed up.  (How dare an author use Lana and Leon in the same scene!)

Book names:

As an author, I wanted to call my trilogy Lion Royal.  My dad thought that was silly.  He helped me come up with Royal Deception, which is moroe epic.  I now wonder how things would have changed if I called it the Blade Shifter trilogy.

As a reader, I pay attention to titles.  Just like covers, the title of a book can give away genre and feel.  Is this book more about romance?  Action?  Intrigue?  Philosophy?  The title is yet another way for me to be hooked into reading (or scared away from) a new book.

Contributor names:

As an author, it feels weird to get stumped at the “Acknowledgments” page.  I can write 400-500 pages of story, and then I get caught at the blurb and acknowledgements.  Whom do I recognize?  Should I mention every alpha reader, every friend who encouraged my writing, every person who ever said “I hope you make it”?  Do I mention them by name?  Should I ask them first?  Should my cover designer be David Allen or David S Allen?  You see, it’s a struggle.

As a reader, I don’t care about contributors and acknowledgements.  Why would authors fret about those?  (Clearly, I’m of two minds on this issue.)

Above all those name problems, I believe the BLURB is the most difficult page to write.  Yes, I’m currently stuck on the blurb for Rebel Deception.  All help is appreciated.  (I have phrases like “runaway Princess” and “exiled Prince” and “overcome double lives” and “admit true identity” and “declared himself Regent” but nothing complete.)

Inventing Names

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