Monday, August 9, 2021

Maybe I should flip a coin

August 9, 2021

A spreadsheet can only get you so far. 

I have several spreadsheets which aid the author in not using the same names for our heroes. Does the author occasionally forget she used a name? Yes. Is it time to go with Tom, Dick, or Harry? Nope. Used Harry in Hot August Comes. Used Tom in Ride Your Luck. Used I have an Uncle Dick. The name game can become problematic. 

Just as problematic is the title game. It's rare to be able to zip over to Amazon and type in "[Suggested Title Here]" and not get a hit. Sometimes I don't want to use the same title as four hundred other writers, sometimes I don't care. The title fits the story too well to pick something lesser. You've got to know when to just go with it. 

Names and titles cannot be copyrighted and that's a good thing. There are those who have tried and they failed miserably, and in the full glare of the writing community, I may add. I recall an author trying to copyright the word "cocky." Quite the bru-ha-ha, that one. Or was it a tempest in a teapot? Whatever. 

Deciding on the best title for a story can sometimes be difficult. Many of my stories get their title from a line of dialogue. My characters will be chatting away and say something and I just know THAT is the real title and so I change it. But even that is not without pitfalls. 

Someone in a Facebook group tried to call me out on A Hard Habit to Break. That title came from within the story, which is about high school friends growing apart, coming home, and then becoming lovers as adult men. Is A Hard Habit to Break also an old song by the group Chicago? Yep, and it's a song I like so well it's on my car playlist (along with 1449 other songs stored on the memory stick that lives in the USB port). Did the song inspire the story or the title? Nope. It came from a line of text and I knew it was right for the story. I refused to take her bait and discuss the matter on Facebook. 

Having recently finished July Heat, I'm ready to roll on a sequel to Ride Your Luck. I've long wanted to revisit the Bar RC Ranch even though there is some "prevailing wisdom" that cowboy stories don't sell. I don't care. I like cowboys and I'm going there. The problem right now, if you want to call it that, is I can't decide on title and names. The title will come as the story progresses, but I do think I need the names NOW. It's hard to get a grip on a character who is nameless. 

That's where we are this morning in the writing realm. It's going to be a hot August day so I'm running errands as soon as this blog entry is posted and closing the blinds against the sun this afternoon and writing. The first order of business when I settle in my sunroom office with a large tumbler of iced tea will be to make a decision about names. 

After that, I'm willing to bet the next decision will be to speed up the ceiling fan from low to high. 


 KC Kendricks

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