Archive for September 15th, 2010

Sep 15 2010

Please Don’t Use “Guardian” as a Name for a Character, Rank, Group or Series

I provide advice about how to write novels, comic books and graphic novels. Most of my content applies to fiction-writing in general, but I also provide articles specifically about superhero stories.

When your hero joins an organization, I would highly recommend naming the organization something besides the Guardians, and making his rank something other than a Guardian, and above all naming the series and/or book something better than something like “The Guardian.”


1. It’s generic and forgettable.  “Guardian” can apply to pretty much every superhero, every Jedi-like character, every law enforcement character, every pseudo-governmental character like Harry Potter’s Aurors, most urban fantasy protagonists, a ton of fantasy protagonists (particularly in epic fantasy), and many anime/manga characters.  Using a word that is so poorly-tailored to your particular story will probably make your characters and plots feel pretty bland.  It is generally more effective to use a more descriptive name that provides more specific information about what the organization/position does or what the series is about, the threat they’re guarding against, who’s doing the guarding, what the mood of the story is like, what their modus operandi is like, etc. Here are some examples of names that are more informative and interesting than “the Guardians.”

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