Wednesday, 6 June 2018

IWSG June 2018

It's the first Wednesday of the month and of course you know that means it's time for another meeting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Created and hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh, it's a chance for writers of all kinds to air their insecurities without fear of being judged. Co-hosting duties this month are provided by Beverly Stowe McClureTyrean MartinsonTonja Drecker, and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor.


In terms of insecurities, I'm not doing too badly this month. In fact I'm nearing the end of final edits on book 2 of my trilogy, which should be a fairly jubilant time (notwithstanding the start of the nailbiting countdown to publication). In fact, one of my last tasks is very closely related to this month's IWSG question, which is:

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

So at that moment I'm christening the last few characters who still remain nameless. They're very well defined apart from that, I have a clear sense of who these people are, I just haven't worked out what to call them yet. This has meant CPs grappling with interplay between the likes of (?), (??) and (???) - luckily they have the patience of saints and have somehow managed to keep track of them!

And of course, the book also needs a title. Out of the two, this is the one I definitely struggle with the most. I have to come up with far many more character names than book titles, so if I found them equally as challenging then I'd be in trouble. Writing speculative stuff, I do enjoy coming up with unique, out-of-the-ordinary names that tell you something about that character - I'm very much inspired by the likes of Tolkien and Pratchett in that regard. Sometimes they seem obvious, other times (or most of the time) they take a long time in coming.

But coming up with a snappy title that sums up an entire book in a couple of words? It's one of the most insidious tasks an author has to face. Having said that, I'm very clear on the title for the final book in the series - I'm sure I came up with a title for this one too, I just have to find where it's written down. But then I might want to change it completely.
How would you answer this question? Did you participate in IWSG today? Find other insecure scribes here.

Also, there's plenty of other exciting stuff going on in the IWSG camp. We have the next anthology contest opening on September 5th, which is also when the theme will be announced. The genre this year is YA Romance.
And it's the return of the ever-growing phenomenon that is the IWSG Twitter Pitch party on July 19th. This event is set to be bigger than ever with hundreds of agents and publishers signed up to check out your pitches. Get polishing them and check out all the rules at the IWSG site.
Finally, next month IWSG will be held a day early - Tuesday July 3rd - instead of the usual Wednesday. It seems some folk might be having a bit of the party the following day.

That's it - excited about what's in store for the IWSG?

33 comments:

The Cynical Sailor said...

Congrats on being so close to the finish line! This year's anthology contest theme sounds fun. I don't read much YA romance, but looking forward to learning more about the genre when I read the winning entries. Cheers - Ellen

JeffO said...

Glad to hear you're having a relatively un-insecure (uh, what?) moment, Nick! It's definitely nice to feel that way and I hope it continues.

As for the question...hmm. For a while, I would have said titles, yet I've been finding that titles tend to present themselves to me at some point during the writing process, so those aren't too hard. Character names are tougher for me, especially because I grew up in a time and place that was filled with Davids and Michaels and Jennifers and the like. I tend to fill my stories with people with names like that.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Yeh for feeling more secure! And good luck with the second book and all that goes along with it!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Titles are a challenge. A whole book in a few words...
At least you put a set number of question marks. I just leave blanks. Do that for four or five characters and it becomes a bit confusing.

Natalie Aguirre said...

So funny about your character names. And I can relate to the difficulty coming up with a good title. My newest manuscript has the fantastic title of New Story until I figure it out.

Cherie Reich said...

Good luck figuring out a title and those last few characters' names. With my upcoming projects, I have titles but not a single character name yet. Heh.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That snappy title will come to you.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Nameless characters are my specialty, but I can give you a title.

Teresa c.

Crystal Collier said...

You know, when I struggle with finding character names, I dig into symbolism and search names related to the core element of a person. Then I weigh names against the time period, location, and popularity of the name--as well as weighing in the parental backstory. There you go. It's a formula, but it works for me. Titles are more interesting--since they're a branding.

Jennifer Hawes said...

My snappy titles come to me when I'm driving or my kid is rambling and I can't find my phone to write it down. Because if you don't write it down, BAM. It's gone. Good luck!!

Chrys Fey said...

Once, when I couldn't come up with the bad guy's name, I left a blank line _____ and sent it to my beta readers like that. lol

Diane Burton said...

LOL at Chrys' reply. I use xxx for a name I haven't figured out yet and highlight in yellow so I don't miss it. Good luck on the title and the names. I struggle with them, too. Congrats on getting to the finish line.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Nick - it must be difficult to have the naming blip around ... as the time frame rolls along - good luck with those. I don't know whether the title and names should come first and then write the book around them ... but I don't do that - trying to name blog articles sometimes ties me down. Take care and all the best - Hilary

Mark Noce said...

I can't have a nameless character, even during a draft. I always need to know who they are:)

Patricia Lynne said...

If I don't have a name for a character, I usually pause and go figure it out before continuing.

Tyrean Martinson said...

I have had nameless characters like that. It's so frustrating. Titles are the worst, but having "the dark sorceress" or "the annoying friend" character without a name is hard to keep track of in a draft.
Glad to hear Book 2 is almost done! Way to go!
Happy June!

Loni Townsend said...

Heh. Usually if I don't have a name for a character, they'll end up being Charlie, Elsie, or Jensen until further change. Not sure why, but those ones seem to stick with me.

Best of luck naming your characters!

cleemckenzie said...

It has been so interesting reading the answers to this question. Everyone has a different way to describe the process and the difficulty.

Lee Lowery said...

Congrats on getting to final edits! Titles are relatively easy for me and I love doing cover mock-ups. Characters are harder. I've been known to use place holders like The Scot, or Kim's Sister. But I keep them on the character manifest so I can find/replace them all when the name finally comes.

Lynda R Young said...

Naming and titling does takes that extra bit of thought and sometimes pain ;)

Liz A. said...

When I can't come up with a good character name, I put in a placeholder name. Something I mean to change up later. Good luck naming your final characters.

Chemist Ken said...

No matter how hard I work at coming up with character names, it's usually those out of the blue ideas that work best. Good thing I'm a slow writer since it gives me plenty of time to decide on names.

dolorah said...

A lot of my character names just assert themselves. I stick with whatever comes to my head as I'm thinking/writing. The only time I have to change them is when the name eventually just doesn't fit the "character" development.

Titles though; I'm usually ready to submit the story before one clearly presents itself.

Good luck with the last of the editing.

Jamie Ayres said...

Names are always easy for me. I've been teaching for 16 years now, so I've heard them all & have a lot to choose from! Titles are the worst. I usually go for a run or walk to brainstorm those.

Christine Rains said...

Titles are insidious. They're just as difficult as writing blurbs. Thankfully we have great writer friends to help out. :)

Michelle Wallace said...

My nameless character becomes Mr.A or Miss Y or Mr.X until such time that a suitable name pops up!
Congrats on your progress!

Denise Covey said...

Nick, good luck with naming your characters. I'm working on a vampire trilogy but am not publishing until all 3 are done. Latest wisdom. See its benefits when I go between the 3, adding ideas etc, which should make the trilogy stronger. Least that's what I hope.
All the best for your release...

matway said...

الشركة تمتلك خبرة كبيرة ومعرفة تامة بكافة الحشرات التي تعيش بمدينة الرياض ونمتلك كافة المبيدات اللازمة للقضاء عليها ونحن بقسم شركة رش مبيدات بالرياض نهتم باقتناء احدث المبيدات المستعملة على الصعيد العالمي حيث نضمن باستيرادها افضل جودة لخدمتنا ونشكل جلسات عمل علي يد مختصين للتوعية واعطاء التعليمات الخاصة باستخدام المبيدات كل نوع منها على حدا لانها تمتاز بتنوع كبير وطرق استخدام مختلفة ونتائج ايضآ مختلفة
شركة رش مبيدات بالرياض
شركة مكافحة حشرات بالرياض
شركة مكافحة النمل الابيض بالرياض

Sherry Ellis said...

That's awesome that you're so close to the end of your book 2. You've got to feel good about that.

Title or character... I'd say character. For some reason, I'm pretty good at coming up with snappy titles. In fact, I usually start with a title.

Julie Flanders said...

Congrats on being close to the end of Book 2! Yay!!
You made me laugh with the question mark names! :D

Neurotic Workaholic said...

Good for you for being almost done with your book. That's great! It's hard for me to come up with a good title, especially because I know that a book's title is often the reader's first impression of a book. The title is often what causes me to pick up a book to find out more about it.

Heather R. Holden said...

LOL, love the question marks as stand-in names! I sometimes have characters who remain nameless for a long time, too. I tend to give 'em random nicknames till I can figure out what to really call 'em. XD

And I agree, titles can be pretty tough, as well. Good luck figuring out one for book 2, and wrapping up your final edits, too!

Annalisa Crawford said...

As it's a week later, fingers crossed you've found that title.

My current WIP doesn't have a title because I'm adapting it from a short story, but that title no longer fits. It's a bit daunting, to be honest.