On Writing Names

This week on Hide and Create, Joshua Essoe, Moses Siregar, Jordan Ellinger, and Diana Rowland talk about naming things in your stories.

When it comes to naming characters or stories, trust your ear. In fact, it’s always a good idea to try your names aloud. Especially if you’re planning an audio book. What might look great on paper could sound awful or unclear or confusing or unintentionally funny when spoken.

Some ways you can come up with a title:
1. Copy out of your draft a sentence that could serve as a title.
2. Write a sentence that’s not in the draft to use as a title.
3. Write a title that is a question beginning with Who, What, When, Where, How or Why.
4. Write a title that is a question beginning with Is/Are, Do/Does, or Will.
5. Pick out some concrete image—something the reader can hear, see, taste, smell, or feel.
6. Write a title beginning with an -ing verb (like “Writing Names”).
7. Write a title beginning with On (like “On Writing Names”).
Write a title that is a lie about the story.
9. Write a one-word title—the most obvious one, and this may help stimulate creativity.
10. Draw inspiration from a familiar saying, song, or movie.
11. Take one of your titles and twist it with a pun (look at Piers Anthony’s Xanth series).
12. Using two you’ve written, see if you can combine the best elements for a single title.

2 thoughts on “On Writing Names

  1. I agree the naming of places is very important as well. Places are part of setting tone, foreshadowing, and all that. Here is a resource I’ve found helpful for place names. (Bartholomew’s etymology of British place names):


    OR http://www.pbenyon.plus.com/Misc/Etymology.html

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