29 April 2015

You Can Call Me...

**My theme for this year's A to Z Challenge is THE NAME GAME. Everything you'd want to know about naming characters.**

Having a name for your character is probably the most important thing to figure out. That name will be the most common way for the other characters in the story to address him. But another way to address a character is to use a title. Which ones you use will vary from character to character, and could depend on things like their gender, relationships, or profession.

The titles you'll use the most usually go with a character's last name. So if you're planning on using a title, you should probably figure out your character's last name first. You've got the basic four, of course: Mr., Mrs., Miss, and Ms. Mr. will be used for men, obviously, while the ones for women can depend on her marital status or personal preference. There will be plenty of characters and instances where you'll need to use these titles. Most kids will refer to their neighbors or friends' parents using Mr. & Mrs. Most teachers will also go by these titles (through high school, anyway). Basically any time a child has to address an adult, this is probably how he/she will do so.

A character may address an authority figure in the same fashion, such as a boss. These titles will also be used when someone is trying to be formal or professional, perhaps with a client. Using "Sir" or "Madam" is another way to address someone that doesn't actually use his or her name. Maybe your character needs to talk with a customer at their job and rather than forcing a name on the reader, this could be the easiest way to address them.

Plenty of characters will require a title in regards to their profession. If you're writing a mystery, you may have to use Detective or Officer before a character's name. There are religious titles used when addressing members of the clergy, such as Father or Reverend. A college teacher will most likely go by Professor. Doctor can refer to an actual medical doctor or anyone with a Ph.D. You may have had a few professors in college who demanded to be referred to as Doctor (I sure did!).

It all depends on your story how many different titles you'll need. You may have a Mayor, Governor, or President. A person's station in life could determine their title. You could also have a Lord or Lady, or royalty like Princess, King, or Queen. When addressing royalty, you may have to use "your Majesty," or "your Highness," rather than the character's name.

No matter what the situation, using a title will usually have a feeling of formality to it. Make sure the title you're using fits both the character it belongs to, and feels comfortable for the person saying it. Some situations may require titles, whereas others may not.

What sorts of titles pop up in your stories? Is that gif anyone else's favorite Reid moment ever??? (I'm sorry, I could only think of one real question. I need my coffee...)


  1. I've had a president. I think using "Mr President" to address them adds a lighthearted touch and takes some of the formality out of proceedings!

  2. Whenever I have to name a doctor or police officer, I always think of the last name first to make sure it sounds good with their title. :)

  3. I've had the basic Mr., Mrs., Dr., and Detective. So far, no great conflicts with title and name fitting together. But I have wondered about the difference between Pastor and Reverend. Thank goodness for Google.

  4. LOL! I love toying with names in my books. My characters usually have several, as we all do in real life.

  5. I think I've basically used every sort of title.

  6. It's definitely important to make sure names and titles are cohesive for characters. Too bad non-literary people don't have that choice in life, right?

    Good luck with the A to Z Challenge!
    A to Z Co-Host S. L. Hennessy

  7. In my book I had mostly Mr. and Mrs. or Ms.. I think it definitely tells you something about the type of character when they're addressed formally.

  8. There are also regional differences. In one of my books the character moves to the South and has to learn to address people who are her elders or someone she should show respect to with Miss or Mr. first name. That custom from the south has also been catching on here (CA) with preschool teachers requiring they be called Miss and their first name not their last.

  9. I think it's fun to play with titles, too. Something very formal for a panhandler, for example.

  10. Titles are awesome and can definitely help flesh out a character's well, character. ;)

  11. I have never used titles. My waitress character in one story calls the mc 'love' for a while.

    Annalisa, writing A-Z vignettes, at Wake Up, Eat, Write, Sleep

  12. Something which most Americans get wrong, Your Majesty is for a King or Queen, Your Highness is for a Prince or Princess.

  13. My current WIP I have a Miss, General, and Queen for titles.

    ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Member of C. Lee's Muffin Commando Squad
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

  14. I used lots of titles and then the editor would tell me I capitalize when I shouldn't and not when I should.