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Monday, May 25, 2009

It's Getting Crowded Out There

As more and more romance novels are published, it gets tougher to come up with an original, easy to pronounce, heroic sounding character name. With my current work in progress, I’ve already been forced to ditch my first two name choices for my hero. When in doubt, Google, but be prepared for what a search turns up.

I found my first choice appeared in a Lisa Kleypas historical from several years ago. Even I had read the book, so I have to figure the name was stuck somewhere in my subconscious. So, I scrapped it. I immediately hit on a second choice and ran a search. Even worse, this one appears in a recent JR Ward novel—her famous BDB series—which I haven’t read. Go figure. I was under the impression that all her hero names are emotions—like rage and torment—with a superfluous “h” added to the spelling. I immediately scratched that one off my list, too. So now I find myself with a manuscript partially written and a hero with no name. The funny thing is, this never happens with heroines, only heroes. And it’s starting to be a real problem.

It’s the same with titles. When you come up with a title for your wonderfully unique novel, my advice to anyone would be to run a search. The easiest way is to go to Amazon and search there because if a book is for sell anywhere in the universe, it’s listed on Amazon. Type in your title and see how many books come up. If there are fifteen by various authors, I’d strongly suggest coming up with something else. While titles can’t be copyrighted, why would you want to compete with fifteen other romances out there by having yours coming up midway down, or even at the bottom of the list when someone does a search?

Read any good hero names lately? If so, don’t tell me about them or they might get stuck in my head. There are already too many great names floating around in there. Problem is, each of them already belongs to someone else’s character.



  1. Ouch. That would be tough. Once I have a hero or heroine's name in my head, if I had to change it I think it would be difficult to continue writing the story.

  2. I think names are kind of like stories. There isn't an original story out there, just different words. I'm sure you can probably find a duplicate name for anything you come up with. Sci-fi/paranormal might be a little better, because you can throw a bunch of letters together to create a new name.
    I don't know. I used to have pages of names I wanted to use in my stories, and I think I've worked through most of them.
    Good luck, I guess. That's hard.

  3. Magdalena, Jennifer, thanks for stopping in today. Hope you've been having a great extended weekend.

    This name thing is beginning to drive me a little bonkers. It appears my favorite names are also the favorites of a bunch of other people. I try switching around the combinations and still they come up in a search. Maybe I should just solve the problem by pretending Google doesn't exist. ;o)

    Here's something just a tad ridiculous. Well, maybe a lot ridiculous. I have a ms. I've been playing with for several years. I have a lot of it written. Here's the ridiculous part. The hero doesn't have a name. Everywhere his name should appear, there's an underline to show me where I should fill in the blank. I've tried out a ton of names and nothing fits. It's even occurred to me that maybe he doesn't want me to tell his story.


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