A Writer's Objectives

Posts tagged ‘writers’

What’s in a Name? Naming Your Characters: Part 2

I did a post back in January about Character Names and promised others. While the first one focused on easy to pronounce (but not too simple) names, this one is going to focus on name meanings.

I know a lot of writers who create a character and give them names based on their personality. For example; Merrick is a very powerful and well known individual among his kind. He is aware of his fame and power, but he doesn’t flaunt it. In fact, he tends to hide away from it as best as he can. Why is all this important? Because the name Merrick derives from words that mean ‘fame’ and ‘power’ and is always associated with very humble individuals. The name goes well with the personality and the character in general.

Sometimes, however, authors don’t take the time to make sure their perception if a names meaning is actually the true meaning. Some people choose names based on what societal belief of the meaning is, not the true meaning. For example; Lucifer is a very dark, mysterious and evil character.* He thrives on causing pain and suffering. No one gets in his way and if they do, they don’t live long to tell the tale. This doesn’t work; societal belief is that name Lucifer is evil. Wrong. Lucifer means ‘Bringing Light’. Thanks to (surprise) Hollywood, the name is forever immortalized as being evil, when in truth Lucifer is simply a fallen angel and not evil in the least.

If you wish to name your characters by meaning, please make sure you actually know what the meaning of the names are. While not all characters are named by meaning (we’ll talk more about that next time), ones that are, should be done correctly. Your strong, warrior heroine who has been surviving on her own for years should be given a name such as Valda or Bree, which mean ‘power’ rather than something like Lamis or Belinda, which mean ‘soft’. Your dark sorcerer who enjoys murdering innocent people and taking many an unwilling county lass to his bed should have  a name like Shyama or Ciar, which mean ‘black’ rather than something like Gil or Ronen, which mean ‘joy’ (unless you’re going for a humorous opposite effect, which we will discuss later).

Personally, one of the ways I use to help match name meanings to my characters (when I feel like doing so) is using baby name books and websites. One of the best that I have found and used many times is Behind the Name. This site has a large array of names and meanings and weeds out all the created names that people often mistake for others. I’ve used it for not only characters in stories, but also for characters in games (Dungeons and Dragons and World of Warcraft, mostly). It is a tool I utilize quite often and would highly recommend it to anyone interested in name meanings.

Now, I mentioned naming a character by meaning using the ‘humorous opposite effect’. There are some authors who, while they enjoy delving into name meanings, prefer to name their characters names that mean the opposite of what they are like. Let’s assume the creator of the character Lucifer (that I mentioned earlier) was going for this effect. It works, now. That tough-guy barbarian character you have could be named something that means ‘soft’, ‘gentle’ or ‘flower’.

Naming a character based on meanings can be taken in several directions, but it is important to make it clear what your intentions are. Simply naming them isn’t always enough. That barbarian named something soft and gentle should be aware what his name means and either hate it or find it hilariously ironic. Lucifer should wonder at his name, perhaps he believes that all the chaos he brings is his ‘light’ and that his name fits him perfectly.

Names are (in my opinion) more important to characters than most people recognize. Not only are they a way to identify a character, but they are also a means of giving them an existence. When naming your characters, no matter what your methods, please take care. You could have the next Harry Potter in the making; what name would you want to be immortalized for?

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Too Much of a Good Thing

I’m a writer (well damn, what a surprise that is!) and while some people may not believe it, I get tired of writing sometimes. It’s rare, but it happens.

I have a huge list of stuff to write, not least of which is homework related. I have fanfictions, short stories, a handful of novels, poems and other creative pieces, too. I have this blog, plus a collection of other blogs I update either daily or weekly. And the list just keeps growing. Why? Because I’m procrastinating. A LOT.

I have plenty of things to work on, obviously. I’ve worked on some of it now and again, but my writing spurts don’t last as long (or come as often) as they used. At first, my mojo was missing completely. Now that I have it back, it is less that I can’t write and more that there are more fun things to do.

Wait, there is stuff more fun than writing? That can’t be right…

I have a tight little group of friends that live with/near me. We have been spending a lot of time together, watching shows on Netflix, playing games (D&D and WoW) and just all around having fun. Last night, three of us went on an impromptu trip to a waterfall near my apartment (at 11PM, mind you) so that we could gaze at the stars without the added light from the houses, cars and street lamps. It was one of the most awe-inspiring and fun things I have done in years. Years I tell you! And that’s quite sad, in my opinion.

In my writing, I can do anything that comes to mind. I can fly on a dragon, dance in moonbeams, get married to a prince. But it’s all on paper (or laptop). None of it is something that I can actually experience. I can’t feel the mist of a waterfall on my face if I simply write about it.

I’m not saying I quit writing; one cannot rid themselves of their soul so readily. I’m just saying that I am probably going to take a much needed break from doing so much of it once I catch myself up on my to-do list. Now that I can write again, I can also choose not to. And as soon as these 14 pieces of writing get completed, that’s just what I am going to do (except blog posts; those are a constant. No worries!)

Someone Stole My Writing Mojo!

Before I start, no, I did not lose my mojo again. Don’t panic; I’m back for good (I hope!).

Now, everyone calls their writing ability something different. Personally, I enjoy calling it mojo; it sounds silly. Recently, as I stated in previous entries, I lost my mojo. I’m pretty sure someone stole it, but that’s another story entirely. The point is that I was unable to write. Literally. I would get an idea for a story or poem or even for homework. I would sit down and start writing and after a few sentences it would just… stop. My ideas kept forming but hands wouldn’t type. It was like there was something stopping me from getting the ideas out. I’ve had a serial story on hold for almost two months, I have a huge list of requested short stories from friends that I haven’t done. My novels have all been severely neglected (though this really isn’t anything new). I even struggled with getting my D&D game going well because it was difficult pushing past the wall and allowing my creativity to shine.

Some would say it was just a form of writer’s block. I suppose I could agree; I wasn’t able to write anything. But it felt worse to me. I had all the ideas. The stories were forming in my head, including chapters for my novels. But when I would go to write them, I couldn’t. It was the worst feeling in the world. All this creativity in my head and I couldn’t get it out.

Sometimes it felt like my life force had been stolen from me. After I attempted to write and failed, I lost the energy to do just about anything. I read a lot, but it wasn’t doing much more than giving me ideas I couldn’t write down. My life was empty of the joy that writing brings. I enjoyed doing homework for classes because at least I was writing something (even if it was forced and far from my best work). To anyone who didn’t catch that, let me reiterate: I enjoyed doing homework. I feel like that was the low point. The point where I realized something was wrong and I needed to fix it.

Except I couldn’t fix it.

I tried all kinds of mind exercises to see if I could get the writing flow back. Nada. I tried telling stories to friends or reciting the poems that came to mind. Still couldn’t write them. Nothing was working. It terrified me. I honestly wondered if it was possible to have my writing mojo stolen because how could I ever be so careless as to lose something so precious to me?

At last, a few days ago while I was home sick, I sat down to browse the internet (as had become habit when I wanted to write but couldn’t) and before I knew what was going on, I had opened a document and was spewing the scene that had come to mind onto the pages before me. I got three pages typed up before I had to force myself to stop so I could go and eat dinner. Ever since, writing has been no problem.

I’m not sure where my mojo went (who stole it) or how it came back (why they gave it back to me), but I am more than glad it is back. I feel whole again, and like I can face anything that the world throws at me. I have a bounce in my step that was gone when my mojo was missing. And I don’t have to force out the painstakingly boring homework assignments; I can just toss them onto the page, add the citations needed and call it completed. And it looks good!

Life has been scary without my mojo. I rather felt like I wasn’t a whole person. Now that it is back, I have to figure out when to do creative writing; my homework piled up suddenly and I must have it completed much sooner than I would like. I do know, however, that it feels good to be whole again.

That’s what I’ve been going through (or at least some of it) lately. Has anyone else ever lost their ‘writing mojo’? Was it as scary for you as it was for me?

Hard Hit

Sometimes story ideas hit you harder when you are least expecting them.

You know what I mean, right? Let me paint the picture for you:

You’re walking along (or sitting watching television or something else fairly mindless) when BOOM, you have an idea for a story (or poem). And it isn’t just an idea, apparently, because the urge to write it is so strong it overrides every other need in your life. This is like some sort of Super Idea. Eating, sleeping, showering, peeing; they can wait. You’ve got an idea for a story and there’s no stopping it now. You lose control of yourself, surrendering to the writing. Your hands are typing words faster than your eyes can register them and you decide you’ll read them when you have finished. And it takes a lot less time to finish this than your usual writing; you don’t stop to check Facebook or deviantART several times, or to do something around the apartment. No, if you can’t pee, you can’t do anything else until this piece is done.

When you finally finish it, the idea releases you from the throes of writing. You’ve got a cramp in your left hand, your eyes ache from staring at the screen so long and your butt is numb from sitting so still in your chair. You read what you have written, despite sore eyes, and are amazed at the result. While part of your mind recognizes your writing style, you are mostly in shock at what you have produced. It’s some of the best work you’ve ever done, and it’s only a short story (or poem). Small, but far from insignificant.

This, my friends, is what being a writer is about. All the stories and poems you write that take you so very long to get down on paper are worth it, they are. They are still your creation and you love them as much as you can. But the pieces of writing that attack you, slam you into a chair and force you to write are the ones that you end up being most proud of. Maybe it is some sort of Stockholm syndrome, where we feel a deep love and affection for our captor. Whatever it is, this is the writing we long for. When we go weeks, or even months, without having a writing idea attack us we start to panic. We wonder if we’ve lost it, if the ability has left us. And then, just when we’ve given up, we get struck by an idea and willing fall captive once again.

</end rant>

Wild Card Day- Life Update and More

Hey everyone! First of all, sorry for not posting Thursday and Friday! Thursday I couldn’t think of a list of 13 (shocking, I know) and Friday we had a big storm hit where I live and I got snowed in at a friend’s house without internet. I just wanted you to know I wasn’t going to vanish on you again =p

Today is a Wild Card day! Lately I’ve been doing some really intense posts with writing tips. I’m wondering if my readers would like me to continue with these? I have a nice little list of ideas, but I want to make sure they are useful and that everyone is enjoying them before I continue; no sense in doing more if it is just going to bore every one to death =p

I want to promote a dear friend of mine who has started a serial story over at her blog. Jo Ramsey is a Young Adult author who is best known for her Dark Lines series and her Reality Shift series. She’s started the serial story on her blog to give young adults (and anyone else who is interested) a little something extra when they read her blog. So head on over and check out Supernuisance every Saturday.

 

I’ll be posting for Six Sentence Sunday tomorrow with some bits and pieces from Dark Blood, so be sure to come by to check that out. Please leave a comment and let me know what you would like to see on Wild Card days: more writing tips? Or something else you can suggest?

As always, thanks so much for reading! Comments are always welcome, as are suggestions, requests and questions. =)

I Choose You….

It’s Wednesday, which means it is time for a writing prompt!

Today I asked a friend for a random topic so she gave me: Pokemon. Random enough for you?  Here’s today’s writing prompt:

 

Write about one of your pets as though they are a Pokemon and you are a Pokemon master training them.

 

 

I ask that, if anyone chooses to use these prompts, they share with me. In the comment section, post the link to wherever your piece of writing can be found(deviantART, writing forums, your own blog, etc.) If you do not have anywhere online to post the writing, you are welcome to either use the comment section to place your story, or email me at: FantasieAutor@gmail.com with either an attachment or the story as the body of the email. The most I would do, aside from reading the stories, would be to share them here on this blog. I will give full credit to the authors; I have no desire to steal anything from anyone. I have my own stories to write. 😉 

Pay Attention to Detail

I recently started reading a book. No surprise there, right? Here’s a big surprise: I stopped reading it after four chapters. The plot was sound, the characters were great and just about everything about it was interesting. The problem? Details. Every new scene had so many details crammed in that it was difficult to recall what was going on. Two pages describing a single building later, and I couldn’t remember why the characters were even at the house in the first place. But, at least I had a very very very clear image of the house in my head, right?

Wrong.

There’s an invisible line drawn in the sand when it comes to details. A lot of authors either cross it (a lot) or don’t even reach the line. There are very few authors capable of standing on the line; how does one stand on something they can’t see, anyway? I’m hoping this entry will help some of you to at least get a little closer to the line.

Because I’m tired of huge blocks of text, which means I am sure you are as well, I’ll do this in bullet form. If you like it better than the past entries I’ve done, I’ll try to stick with bullet form rather than assault you with long blocks of text.

Let’s talk about too much detail, first:

  • If you find yourself describing every outfit your character wears in so much detail that it takes several paragraphs to describe… you’ve got too much detail. Try only describing really important outfits (ball gowns, fancy dress clothes, etc). The readers only need a brief idea of what the character wears day-to-day, not paragraphs of detail about it.
  • Describing a new place can be exciting. Sometimes, however, the reader only wants to know the basics. If your character is breaking into a house, don’t spend two pages describing the house so completely there isn’t a chance you’ve missed a single detail. Touch on what the house is made of, what the windows look like and what the doors look like; that’s what your character will be most concerned about anyway.
  • If you have a character (or a group of characters) that travel fairly often, they will move to various types of environment; towns, forests, mountains, cities, etc. Don’t spend all your time describing the change in scenery. A nice view of what the environment is like spread over the entire time the characters are in the area is better than describing it all in exact detail in a matter of a few pages. Let your character think about the large oak trees that seem to rule the forest, or the cobblestone road they saw that was completely destroyed, but don’t focus only on those details. What else is going on?

Describing too much isn’t always the problem…

  • Opposite of describing your character’s clothes too much, is describing them to little. The readers want to have an idea of what type of style exists in your story; don’t neglect the clothing completely for fear of too much detail! The readers may know that the character wouldn’t be traveling naked, but without some idea of what their clothes are like, that might be where their minds go!
  • It’s tricky knowing how much detail to put in. Just because I said don’t spend forever describing a new place, doesn’t mean you should neglect detail completely. Look at: “The house was brick” versus “The rust and mud colored bricks were cool against her skin as she pressed against the wall of the house.” The second sentence says the same thing as the first, but gives the reader a little more detail.
  • When entering a new place, make sure there are enough details that the reader knows what it looks like. If your character has entered into a large meadow, make that clear. Is the meadow dead grass and skeletal trees? Or is it lush green with a few trees scattered here and there. Don’t spend forever describing it, but at least let the readers know what the character is seeing.

I feel like my bullets were pointless, though they did help keep me from rambling. Anywho! Hopefully this has been helpful to anyone who has difficulty with detail. Too much can be boring and make a great story seem drawn out, while too little detail could cause your readers to picture you characters or landscape completely naked and void of detail. It’s a difficult line to balance on, that invisible line, but getting close to it is better than nothing.