Sep 15 2010
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.”
- Action Scientists of Tesladyne
- the Suicide Squad
- Doom Patrol
- Slayers and, sort of separately, the Scooby Gang (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
- Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense
- Heroes, Inc.
- Nick Fury’s Howling Commandos
- the Office of Special Investigations
- the Men in Black
- the Ministry of Magic’s Aurors (Harry Potter)
- the Authority
2. “Guardians” are wildly cliche. The following is a list of (mostly) novels that use “Guardian” or a close variation as a rank, team name, or series/novel title.
- The Vampire Academy series
- Awakening of a Guardian
- The Riley Jensen, Guardian series (by Keri Arthur)
- The Aisling Grey, Guardian series (by Katie McAllister)
- The Guardian Circle
- The Conor and the Crossworlds series
- The Gift
- The Diana Tregarde Investigates series
- The Arm of the Stone
- Guardian of the Threshold
- Highland Guardian
- A Guardian’s Possession, in the Guardian Heart Crystal series
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
- (I did not include anything related to “guardian angels” or “legal guardians” because those have distinct connotations).
3. I would particularly recommend against using “Guardians” in a book title or series name. First, so many books have guardian in the title that your readers may have trouble finding your book on Google or Amazon. Additionally, you’ll be competing with a major media company on Google searches like [Guardian series]–good luck with that. If you are dead-set on using something as generic as guardians in a title or series name, I’d recommend adding an unusual, memorable modifier to help it stand out. Maybe something like Savage Guardian or Illegal Guardian.
Writing exercise: Come up with a name for a group, a rank, a superhero, a series or a book that uses “Guardian” well.