Wednesday, February 22, 2012

02/22/2012 Writing Wednesday!

Greetings all! So my attempt to do my post via my phone was unsuccessful. Something in the coding apparently makes a mobile interface SUPER strange. For instance: apparently punctuation and capitol letters are just as much for chumps as is getting out of bed at a decent time when you have the day off. So my apologies.

After must deliberation I've decided to do this entry about something that is simple, yet at the same time can make or break pretty much anything you do in writing: Naming Stuff. This goes for pretty much anything, titles, characters, objects, locations. Anything. Admittedly there are some that are harder than others (title, main character) but that doesn't mean they aren't all important, which is why I've chosen that as today's topic.

Now figuring out the title is important because it has many jobs to do. Next to your cover it's going to be the first thing a potential reader sees, so you want it to be strong enough to catch their attention while not make it too obvious what every plot twist and turn is going to be. Unless that of course is what you'd like to do, then by no means let me stop you! The title also needs to make sense for the genre, if you're writing hard-core science fiction space opera, having a title like "Working at the Old Dairy Farm" might seem a little strange, especially if your cover image has space ships shooting lasers at each other (again if you want to do this, by all means, go right ahead, that story might be incredibly entertaining.)

Next, the names of the characters in the story are also going to play an important role in everything that happens. If your story is a drama-mystery-ummm-horror type, having your Linkmain character be Frankie Jigglebotham is seriously going to take away from whatever atmosphere you were trying to create the second his name is said. (Satire however is excluded, do whatever you want, you glorious thing you!) Now there are glorious Random Name Generators out there that are incredibly helpful, especially when you're stuck on what to call people. I strongly suggest using them, if not for the whole name, then for at least parts or to help get the idea juices flowing.

Something else that someone very close to me has started doing is saying the names out loud before settling on them. They started doing this after they had a character, who was an investigator of sorts, that was trying to find the main characters named Hunter Chase. Needless to say that game was paused while the players collectively gave him a new name. This happened because he had come up with one part of the name first (if I remember correctly it was the last name, then the first name later) and on paper it looks awesome and might not have been caught on as quickly (see American Gods for my favorite example), but when spoken it makes things a little...different.

When it comes to naming locations and items you have a bit more leeway in what you can get away with. Things are often named so they get some kind of attention; like book titles. Or so that they're easier to remember. Or if you're an intrepid astrophysicist you can just name stuff after what they look like (black hole, black spot, wandering black hole, I'm not making any of these up.) As long as they seem to make sense for what they are, it will be fine. Now if you call something that's described as a cube and call it the 'Prismatic sphere' then well...more power to you I suppose?

I hope this was helpful at the very least. I have provided a link to my personal favorite random name generator as well. I look forward to seeing everyone here on Friday for my weekly review. Please forgive the lateness of my post, it's just that sleeping in was so wonderful!

No comments:

Post a Comment