What’s In A Name?

nametag

 

I had never really given it much thought into how I go about naming my characters. It took me by surprise when members of my writing groups mentioned how they took time to research their names and meanings. My eyes were open as I realized how serious they were with this.

For my children’s book the main character is called Jasper in real life and I molded his personality from what I knew of him. The other names I just picked out of thin air. My book “ A Woman of Color” is based on true people though the names have been changed to protect their identity. But again I did not spend time in deciding what alternatives to use. When I write I toss in a name and keep on going.

So now I have these questions. Do you take the time to pick your character names? If so how do you go about it? What is the process? How do you start? Does it really matter?

Even as I research into this topic my mind set is still not big on picking any particular monikers for my writing. Maybe it is just me? Perhaps I am doing something wrong in not taking greater care of my characters. I am more focus on getting the story out on paper as the hook is developed, the plot unfolds and all is nice and neat at the end. To me being a good story-teller matters a bit more than the names I attach to the people involved in my novel.  As I asked more questions I am left wondering as the answers just don’t seem to connect the dots in how I process my writings. I want to understand how much does this impact my MS.

So to my viewers out there if you take time to naming your peeps can you give me some insight into this? I want my book to not only be read by others I want it to stand up and shine and be taken noticed. That is what we all want right?

Advertisements

The Rewrite

Recently I blogged about my awesome rejection letter. In the email the publisher pointed out why they were not going with my MS. He listed the reasons. When I asked if I could resubmit once revising he said yes he would check the book out again.

My initial reaction was days of glee and happiness. Okay it is still with me. But the days after I found out there is a cloud higher than nine and I was on it. After that came oh my gosh how the hell am I going to fix this the way it’s suppose to be? With that dread inside I contacted a few people for thoughts and suggestions on what to do. Once they responded I was ready to start.

Only problem is it took a few weeks before I had the guts to sit down and actually attempt this very important rewrite. The emotions that flooded me ranged from despair to frustration. I stopped dead.

Instead of getting started I stalled.

As the days flew by people asked me how much had I gotten done and sadly would have to reply that nothing had been accomplished. I mentally berated myself up for taking so long to get going on this. I repeatedly went back over the points that I had to fix, each time it screamed at me, “ You can’t do this, give up.”

Now that I have actually started, I believe this was all part of the plan. I needed to step away for a few weeks to gather my thoughts, get myself in check and when the time came it would happen. And it did.

This past week I redid the ending to the book. I went further and did a total rewrite of my first chapter. The only thing that remained the same was three paragraphs. I was on a roll. In that rewrite a new chapter emerged that I had not planned on. I kept going. Last night I wrote another chapter that brings conflict and internal tension to my main character. Something that was missing from my book. What I have left is two chapters to go. That means rereading it and making sure the holes have been filled.

The last week all that has been in my mind all that I could concentrate on was sitting down and revising this book. It has blossomed not just in word count but in strength. When I am finish it will go through the process like before. My editor Nancy will go over it and tighten it up. Will it be enough I am not sure. Every publisher has in mind what they are looking for and what works for their company.

Personally I am loving the changes. If when all is said and done this publishing house does not accept it, at least I know I have a better book now, then I did a few weeks ago. For that I thank the publisher for making me gut out my story, for making me toss things that did not work, for eliminating words regardless of word count, and for evaluating my story in a way that all writers should.

Thank you Mike.

Books Books Books

When I go to a used book store the first place that is sought out is the section on writing. There is usually something that can be useful. Lately I am finding that most of the books shelved are also on my bookcase at home. I am getting a nice collection of books on writing. In fact there are so many novels that I can run my own mini library if needed. Yes you would need to sign them out thank you very much. 🙂

Topics that I have books on:

-Two high school English books

-How to get a literary agent

-How to get your book published without an agent

-How to write for children

-How to write short stories

-How to get published

-How to write query letters/cover letters

-Every edition of Writer’s Digest for the past two years

-Writer’s Market for the last two years

-Children’s Market

The list goes on. I can not be alone on this right? The ones that I gravitate to and are within easy reach are:

-Story Engineering

-Stephen King On Writing

-Hook

-The Elements of Style

-Write Where You Are: How to Use Writing to Make Sense of Your Life

-The Essential Writer’s Companion

-MLA Handbook

There are so many books that one can get overwhelmed. Especially if you are just starting out. The fact I had to get a new bookcase just for these books said it all. Hopefully among the volumes of books you come across there will be useful information that you can apply to your own writings. If there are books out there that has helped you, let me know. What’s one more book, right?