[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]
And thank you to founder Alex J. Cavaugh 🙂
What does our name mean?
As a kid, I remember the first time I actually picked out my own first pet, a dog. She was a two-year old mix between a cocker spaniel and a sheltie. Her hair was black, soft and wavy. Her eyes were giant, brown and watery. Her nose wasn’t fat or thin and everything about her sweet face, her expressions, melted my heart. I took her home and bathed her and then I found her ear had been damaged from what I guessed had been a fight with the other larger dog in her previous home. I couldn’t stand it. I couldn’t believe someone had left the skin so dirty and crusted over. I cleaned it, cut her hair and sat with her on the back steps in the backyard, drumming my fingers on my knee pondering the perfect name for her. Naming her was the first difficult act and I spent several hours searching for just the right one. My dearest nightmare chaser, my waiting friend at the door when I’d return from school or sports. I called my sweet little lady, Sadie.
THis month’s IWSG question asks: “What’s harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?”
A name is identity, association, personality, even a secret if we don’t like what we get. I’m in the business of public relations and some days I stare at thousands of names as I’m preparing for specific events, publications and news stories. By staring at so many names, and watching so many student faces in school crowds, honors events, and social media feeds, I find it much easier to place a character with a name than titles.
Titles are like a brand. I have the worst time writing news headlines at work. I know they draw the eye in and if the headline doesn’t peek the curiously of the reader, and if you give away too much of the story in the headline, you lose the reader.
True, a brand is also identity. But a brand is far more than a name. It’s something you can remember. LIke an old 80’s jingle. A title is also a visual and it sets the tone for what a reader expects to find within a book. Titles further merge with image, photos and cover designs. I dread book titles. The first point of entry is so critical for any author or news writer. It’s the best victory in the world to finally settle on one. When I know it’s right, it feels really right, too.
Here’s my favorite commercial as a kid with the best motivating jingle song. Not sure how a tiger ever got associated with Frosted Flakes, but I loved the tiger more then the cereal and ate it every chance I could just to stare at the fun face on the box.
Do you have a favorite 80’s commercial? Does a jingle from your past occasionally float into your head and get stuck? Are names or headlines tougher to write?
Happy IWSG Day, all. Make it a “Great” day.
Fridays are all about celebrating the Small Things thanks to a weekly blog hop created by author Lexa Cain. Joint co-hosts this week are authors L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog The mission coincides with what I’m hoping to do with my own writing, inspire and focus on the light when those slippery shadows creep around our shoes. Want to sign up? Click Lexa Cain’s link to find out more.
Last night, I listened to my son at piano practice until suddenly the sounds on the piano silenced and his voice quivered with frustration and tears. I listened closer to the teacher as she slowed her voice and softened her tone. She offered him a glass of water and talked about pushing through our mistakes. How we have to slow down and correct our hands and our fingers to play the right keys. How we all have to learn sometimes, and not everything worth the struggle comes easily. I thought to myself, Thank goodness you take the time to listen and encourage. Thank goodness you allow him time to feel his discouragement and then set a time on that feeling before asking him to recharge and start over.
Because she’s right, and no matter our age, I believe we all need to remember we struggle at some point with something we love or care about. We all need to make ourselves do hard things sometimes to reap the greater reward. Practice, Practice, practice, I always tell my son. Giving up never gets us anywhere we want to be.
So what has happened to me this week I might celebrate through the struggles? Finally, my kiddos have made it through multiple illnesses from the stomach flu, to fevers, to tooth decay issues and then boom—allergies beyond sufferable. Finally, we’re all sleeping again. Finally, we’re all singing to our own little rhythms because I am a noisy mom and I apologize right now, but my children are noisy too, singing, whistling, singing louder in the shower, talking about their worlds and their adventures both good and bad—nonstop. I see me in them. I see them striving for joy no matter what happens in their days. I’m loving it. I’m also loving the fact that it’s their last day of school and I’m taking off early to walk them home, eat ice cream, a non-dairy kind for me, and celebrate all of our successes over the course of an academic year. I’m celebrating home improvement projects I’d like to begin, painting the trim and the cabinets in the bathroom from their golden oak color to white. And new curtains for the kids.
On the writing side, I’m celebrating several things: the end of historical Celtic research and the beginning of writing again. At least a little every day.
And while I’m talking about celebrations and books, I’m helping out a sweet friend Author C. Lee McKenzie, with her new Middle Grade Release: SOME VERY MESSY MEDIEVAL MAGIC.
Isn’t the cover lovely? I saw the playful text and it made me smile.
Here’s a bit about the book:
Pete’s stuck in medieval England!
Pete and his friend Weasel thought they’d closed the Time Lock. But a young page from medieval times, Peter of Bramwell, goes missing. His absence during a critical moment will forever alter history unless he’s found.
There’s only one solution – fledgling wizard Pete must take the page’s place. Accompanied by Weasel and Fanon, Pete’s alligator familiar, they travel to 1173 England.
But what if the page remains lost – will Pete know what to do when the critical moment arrives? Toss in a grumpy Fanon, the duke’s curious niece, a talking horse, and the Circle of Stones and Pete realizes he’s in over his young wizard head yet again…
Release date – May 15, 2018
Juvenile Fiction – Fantasy & Magic/Boys & Men
$13.95 Print ISBN 9781939844460
$3.99 EBook ISBN 9781939844477
About the Author
Lee McKenzie has a background in Linguistics and Inter-Cultural Communication, but these days her greatest passion is writing for young readers. When she’s not writing she’s hiking or traveling or practicing yoga or asking a lot questions about things she still doesn’t understand.http://cleemckenziebooks.com
Where can you get the book?
Happy Friday, all. May your weekend be great 🙂