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?

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POV

How comfortable are you in using different POVs for your characters and books? Do you stray outside the box and try different aspects? Or rather do you stick to the norm? I have taken three creative writing class, two under the same instructor. I firmly believe there is always something out there for me to learn to improve me as a person and a writer.

One particular class the instructor challenged us to change our POV. We were to check our stories that we had written and try writing from a person we had not thought to do before. He gave us an example. We were to think of a children’s story but to write it from someone’s else viewpoint. I chose the “The Three Little Pigs” and in it I wrote through the wolf’s eyes. It did not end with a happily ever after. But just doing that one story opened my eyes to new avenues that I had never thought of before. And by keeping myself in a box I was leaving a lot of potential amazing stories unwritten due to my mind being closed to this facet of writing.

At the time one of the novels I was working on was based on my war with my back yard squirrels. Taking a note from that WIP I wrote a collection of short stories with each one having a different POV from the characters of my novel.  I had so much fun exploring this and what came out of it was a comedy that I did no know existed inside of me. I am grateful for Mr. Wynn for bringing this up in class. Since then I have written a few short stories and another novel. But now when they are done I rewrite them giving them a different spin.

The potential has increased on what I can write about. So again I ask are you comfortable using different POVs in your stories or do you like to stay inside the box?

My Online Platform

Writer’s Digest is a magazine I inhale. About a year and a half ago I was reading this article where the writer in her following credits listed her twitter name. The article was on online platform and how one can use it to further one’s works. That one little name got me started on establishing my presence.

A lot of people have told me well I don’t have a book out we should wait. That is the opposite of what you should do. No matter what magazine you read that is on writing or webinar you have seen the topic of online platform is bound to be talked about.

This is a tool that indie writers use to promote their works. But it is not just for indie writers, traditional houses are now following suit.

When you are a new author you need all the help you can get in promoting your works. This is done in a variety of ways from Twitter, FB, Goodreads and other forms of publicity.

In March of 2011 I made the move to getting my name out there. What I had to my credit was a number of complete books, short stories and my soon to be 2011 NaNo book but nothing in print. But that was okay. You want to start ahead before you release a book. You want people to know who you are and what you are about.

Doing it when you have a book out and then shouting, “ Hey hey look at me! I wrote a book come check it out” will get you some looks but not as much if you had planned ahead and started working on your platform.

By doing this in advance I have gotten a lot of positive feed back. One major woohoo was a small indie publishing company wanting to include two of my short stories in their anthology e-book. Something I am still pretty proud of for now I can say I been published. From that I met my current editor who is a dream and worth her weight in gold. It continues to meeting a publisher who helped me with my query letter that got my MS to being read by a few publishing houses. This all done before I had one single book out in print or in e-book format.

Pretty cool right? By doing all this people are starting to know me and what kind of stuff I write about. When I have up and down days they are there to help me with encouragement, suggestions and tips to help me along the way. I have a circle of publishers, editors, authors and bloggers to turn to in time of need. To say they are incredible is a gross understatement. These are people who are well established but take the time to help me out. Why? Because they know me from the various mediums we belong too. People who are making it in the business that I am attempting to break into. They are there for me because they have come to known me. I am no longer the new kid on the block. That is something that I can not put a price on.

Because of the people I have met my book is getting a second look at by a publisher. Something I can not say would have happened if I had done this alone. It would be a lonely walk if I had waited until my first book came out whether it was self publish or in print.  If the publisher decides to publish my book it would partly due to the people I have met through my online platform. And that would be freaken amazing.  Over the next few weeks I will dedicate one post a week to the various social medias I use in hopes of passing along to others what I have learned over the last year and a half.