In the middle-grade series I'm working on, there are two organizations: one led by the antagonist, and one that opposes them, which the protagonists join. In the setting of the series, a very small percentage of the population are born with genes that enable them to develop powers after exposure to a solar eclipse. Since eclipses are so important in the books, I decided to give the two organizations eclipse-themed names: the antagonists are in a group known as the Umbra, while the group the protagonists are in is called the Corona.

I was all set.

And then the Wuhan coronavirus broke out, even coming to the town where I live. I don't think naming an organization the Corona would be a good idea anymore.

Do you guys have any ideas? I'm looking for a name that has something to do with a solar eclipse.

Update: Thanks for answering! Most of you have reassured me that I'll be fine, so I'm going to keep the Corona as it is. However, when someone suggested the name Prominence, I found that I really liked that. I've decided to rename the Umbra the Prominence, as it fits with the solar theme while also fitting with their ideology of people with powers being put on this world to "fix" it.

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    The protagonists of Archer, if I recall correctly, belong to a group named ISIS, so you're not the first person to run into this sort of dilemma.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Feb 8, 2020 at 20:15
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    @F1Krazy They used to. The year ISIS started making the news, the writers of Archer ditched ISIS. They didn't retcon the name, they had the organization shut down.
    – Ryan_L
    Commented Feb 8, 2020 at 22:40
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    I'm wondering if your aware that Heroes (the tv series, maybe comic book too I'm unsure) has exactly that happening - some peoples genes start expressing superpowers, due to a solar eclipse... Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 14:49
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    After giving a specific name to a very unsavory character (think BTK killer), I was in church in another town and a young man introduced himself to me by that exact name. I renamed the character.
    – EvilSnack
    Commented Feb 10, 2020 at 3:01
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    I hardly believe coronavirus will be remembered in 3 months from now, and even if it is, readers will quickly get over it.
    – lvella
    Commented Feb 10, 2020 at 16:54

5 Answers 5


Worry about this later

Names are easy. A quick run of Find/Replace, and suddenly, every mention of Corona is replaced with Prominence, or Flare, or whatever you want. Write your story using whatever name you are most comfortable with, and worry about the name once you get closer to publication.

You should make note of any instances of the name that won't be easily caught by find and replace (such as the name getting cut short, puns on the name, or symbols based on the name, etc) so that you remember to change them later.

That said, you probably don't have much to worry about. It sounds like you have clear sun related imagery in the book, so unless Corona is the first sun-related name mentioned in the book readers should have no problem making the proper associations. This is particularly true if your story is set in a secondary world, which will further isolate the readers from associations with real current events.

Give yourself some time to wait until the current crisis is past and the media frenzy has died down, then give your book to beta readers and see if they comment on the name. If your beta readers report that the name Corona is pulling them out of the story, then worry about changing it. Not before.

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    Just need to check that the evil guys don't try to set off a bomb during a prominencetion (or flaretion), and that no-one orders Prominence beer at a Mexican restaurant.
    – IMil
    Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 12:29
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    Also, wait to see if the word corona will be as prominent in the news in a couple of years. You're not publishing tomorrow, are you?
    – Rad80
    Commented Feb 10, 2020 at 8:00
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    Just make sure you don't end up with a book full of dawizard when you do that.
    – Belle
    Commented Feb 10, 2020 at 17:15
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    I heard a story once of a writer who did a last minute change of character name from David to Jeff. Luckily, the printer proof-read it and called her up; Was she sure there was a statue in Florence known as Michelangelo's Jeff? Commented Feb 11, 2020 at 13:58

Corona in Latin means halo or crown.

The coronavirus was first documented in the 1960's.

Toyota manufactured the Corona from 1957 to 2002 - for 45 years.

Corona has been used in botany for oh, I don't know how many years. As it comes from Latin, I would imagine hundreds.

By the time it's all said and done, I doubt that this coronavirus outbreak will seriously blacken the reputation of a word with that much history.

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    Also, Corona Beer, brewed since 1925, did not change its name in the 60s but continued to use it.
    – Polygnome
    Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 14:02

In your specific case you can probably ignore it. "Coronavirus" is the temporary, generic name. It's about to be given a real one: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-51371770

The virus theme relates to a previous "it will fade away" answer. The story I heard mentioned previous news-making coronaviruses: SARS, MERS, N1H1. I think today you could name a dog Mers or Ni-Hi, and no-one would think twice

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    N1H1 is a strain of influenza virus, not that it makes any difference. Coronavirus is the name of the family of viruses, and that's not going to change. The temporary code for this particular strain: 2019-nCov may change.
    – James K
    Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 15:33

Diamond (like the diamond ring shape)
Saros (you'd have to get specific with some aspects for this one)
Shadow/Band(s) of Shadow
(This is a good website I found with some vocab: https://eclipse.aas.org/eclipse-america/eclipse-glossary)

You could use the sciency words and go off of those, whether they are about the sun and moon specifically, or what happens to animal life, etc. You could mix them together or with other words. You could think about what feelings eclipses evoke and tap into those. If the Umbra is the antagonist group (great name by the way), what's the opposite of Umbra for the protagonist group? Is there one?

The Corona is a great name. This current event stuff (tragic) will lose publicity once enough time passes, so maybe you shouldn't even worry about it. Or you could modify the spelling to steer readers' brains away from the virus.

Not sure if this will help - but good luck and have fun.

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    I like your suggestion. I was going to suggest spelling it with a K. It's strange how a subtle change can do the trick. "Korona" doesn't quite look the same and to me it's got no connection to the virus.
    – OldBat
    Commented Feb 8, 2020 at 18:15

I would never associate the Corona with the Corona virus, even though the media are going wall-to-wall with coverage of it right now, and I happen to be reading all of those publications in The Economist, Time, The Wall Street Journal etc, which never fail to have something on it. So relax. Also, consider this: by the time you actually have the book published, chances are, the virus will have been long forgotten.

  • 11 months later... Ha! This is funny. The virus is very very far from forgotten now! Commented Jan 25, 2021 at 2:21
  • I know, right?!
    – Phi Kay
    Commented Nov 3, 2021 at 21:19

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