I know there are authors who come up with a character name, then fill out a character sheet like they’re doing a D&D game, and proceed from there unto the plot and story. I am not one of those people.
I know there are authors who put tons of research into their names, and crafting them carefully to match the world.
I know there are authors who have multiple baby-naming books or sites, and cruise through them until they get something that matches the character already in their heads.
Me? I often end up using placeholder names, of something that caught my eye, until I finally figure out (you know, about 25,000 words in) what the character’s actual name is. And then comes the find & replace joy. (Fun fact. Find and replace treats Seth, Seth’s, Seths & Seth’ as 4 separate words, and will only replace one at a time. So make sure you look for potential misspellings and possessive cases. And plurals. Or your (hopefully beta) readers will go “Who’s this?”)
How do you handle names? What resources do you use?
As some of you enter into your third day of NaNoWriMo, and others enter into your third day of thinking about whether you could catch up, or wishing you could do NaNo this year, I’ve just finished my month-of-writing. Here’s how my month of Inktober Prompts turned out!
The Goal: Using InkTober’s 2019 prompt list, write every day. Read more
There’s an old saying: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Of course, this presumes that you have refrigeration handy, and you’re eating it alone, where my husband’s stories of shot elephants seem to involve villagers turning up with great cast iron pots and firewood before dust from the creature hitting the ground settles. (Bush telegraph. Is faster than magic.)
They also involve the hilarities of villagers inside the elephant carving out meat above them up to the ribs, and more on top carving meat down to the ribs, and the screaming and cursing when an assegai or machete pokes out between and finds a human foot…
But realities aside, back to metaphors. Read more
I’m working on a story… wait, no. I’m working on three stories. Okay, maybe I’ve started and stopped on about seven, but I keep coming back to two stories?
I’d say my muse has ADOS (Attention Deficit… Ooh! Shiny!), but I’m terribly afraid it’s just me. Other people talk about writing to market and checking off the lists of tropes they’re going to use, and I’m over here going “this isn’t working because… I need a second POV? Do I have to go back and rewrite half the scenes? Or am I adding a second plotline in? No, no, bad brain. Just keep going forwa… okay, fine. Wait! I agreed! Why are you trying to throw a different story at me instead of the one I want to work on?”
Not that any of you know anything about that, eh?
We’re all familiar with the terrible trope of action movies (and cop shows) where a guy takes a bullet, and then in the end of the episode, he has his arm in a sling, but he’s all better by the end of the movie / very next episode. In the really real world, people don’t end up with a little artistic bruising or smudge of blood or soot, and walk, run, and fight perfectly…acrobatically and dramatically.
This one’s not a how-to; this one’s a request for help. Have you ever put down something you blocked hard on, only to pick it up months or years later, and go “Oh! That’s where it went wrong! …well, and there, too. And I could have done that better. And that’s not quite right… I should explore this bit of worldbuilding, and flesh that out…”
If so, how do you decide when to edit, when to rewrite, and when to rip the characters out and start anew?
Anthologies are a funny thing, for someone who started as indie: you write a short story, to a mandated length instead of “until it’s done”, and on a deadline. Sometimes, it has to be on a theme, sometimes in a particular universe. And then there’s the contracts: they range from life-of-copyright (an unthinkable contract for your own work… but what if you’re playing with someone else’s IP?) to reversion after a year just like a magazine. How do you decide to be in one?