Name Recognition

There is an episode of Grey’s Anatomy called “Don’t Stand So Close To Me.”  This title refers to physical contact and personal space, but that’s not the thought I had when I saw the title.  I immediately referenced the Sting/Police song about an inappropriate relationship between a teacher and his student.  Needless to say, it took me a little bit to get my focus in the right place (and to get that song out of my head).

This is something that we have to remember when we name people, places, or even stories.  There is nothing we can use that doesn’t carry baggage for someone.  That said, it’s impossible to avoid every name that one or two people might dislike; after all, we all have that ex-boyfriend/former friend/school bully in our lives that will forever taint a certain name.  But it doesn’t make sense (unless you want to draw comparisons) to name a young wizard Harry or a teenage vampire Edward.  Those names are already taken – avoid the baggage and pick something else.

It never hurts to Google a potential book title or enter a name into Wikipedia, just to make sure you avoid any particularly dangerous titles.  After all, if your book has nothing to do with a drag nightclub in Miami, choosing to call it The Birdcage might not get it to the target audience.  🙂


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