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First Impressions Make and Break Books #IWSG

[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]

This month’s awesome hosts are: Beverly Stowe McClure, Tyrean Martinson, and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor!

And thank you to founder Alex J. Cavaugh 🙂

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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.