Top Ten Tuesday #1

Top Ten Character Names I Love

1. Gavriella

I know it’s kind of vain to have one of your own characters on this list, but I really like the way this name rolls off the tongue and it’s pretty without being too prissy. (Or at least that’s how I feel.)

2. Jace

Tawny eyes. Angel with a bad-boy streak. Total badass with a love complex. ‘Nuff said.

3. Fitzwilliam Darcy

I named my bloody CAR after this man. Darcy is an iconic name that instantly makes me think love, devotion, happiness, gushy girly feelings.

4. Coraline

I don’t even know, it’s just pretty and quirky and makes me feel good.

5. Dickon

The Secret Garden was a huge part of my childhood, and Dickon just inspires this feeling of hope and life and magic that instantly cheers me up.

6. Annabeth

Okay, so Percy Jackson isn’t, like, my favorite series ever or anything, although it was a fun read, but this name is just so bloody perfect. It’s sort of frilly but at the same time so down-to-business, and I love the names Anna and Beth individually so together=love.

7. Jesse Tuck

I mean, come on, Tuck Everlasting. How can I not love this name? It’s simple but romantic and meaningful and inspiring.

8. Harry Potter

Does this even need an explanation? HARRY. POTTER.

9. Wendy

Wendy Darling is basically the most perfect name ever. J. M. Barrie created a name that’s so iconic, it’s hard not to love it. Wendy is someone everyone wants to be, Wendy is the child that got to taste magic and adventure, Wendy is the girl who flew to the stars and back.

10. Gatsby

I can’t even…how do you explain why you love a name? I love this name because of what it brings to mind: passion, power, dreams, eternal hope, a slow fall into impossibilities. It’s a name that everyone knows, universal and timeless.

***Top Ten Tuesdays is hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish, with a new Top Ten prompt every week. Check it out!

Let It Be

*ignoring the fact that I’ve been gone for months* So one of my very best friends, who also happens to be a writer, decided some time ago to turn her novel into her senior project for high school graduation. This basically means she spent twenty hours with her fantastic mentor Greg Wilkey, (a local writer whose books and other funsies can be found here), completed and revised her novel over the summer (well actually she’s still working on it even though school starts on Thursday), and is supposed to present the final product this fall to judges. It’s apparently the wussy version of the big-bad-bullying college theses. But the reason I bring up my friend’s situation is because the fact that she actually has a literal NOVEL under her belt (albeit not entirely polished) really pisses me off if I’m honest. Authors generally have overcome the inherent laziness that plagues most writers (especially moi), and my friend seems to be coming along respectably well. And you would think her success would be motivation for my competitive self to catch a fast train and attack my baby manuscript with determination.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

My competitiveness only extends as far as my mouth. I want badly to show everyone else up, and like most people, I have a dreadful tendency to brag on the occasion I do take the lead. I love feeling superior. But I am, for the majority of the time, unwilling to act on my ambitions. A major flaw? I definitely think so.

My novel originally started as a tale about a little girl who could turn herself into a lioness. It became a story about five young people who come from completely different worlds who are chosen to fight for the freedom their lands have lost. And the sheer amount of characters, plotlines, backgrounds, and culture is incredibly intimidating at times. Most people would probably frown and question why I’m making everything so difficult for myself. But I suppose when you have a story that you feel has greatness in it, the kind of characters you wish to God were real, the kind of places you could spend forever exploring, there’s not much to do but let that story grow in your mind. Sometimes the best poems, the best stories, the best art, the best music, come from people who are by no means experts in the craft, but who allow themselves to reach high from the beginning.

Of course, I could laud the magic of amateur creativity for days, but still there lies a far-from-finished novel sitting in my hard drive and it’s frustrating, I won’t lie. But I have to keep believing in it. Even if it takes me years to actually get off my ass and write it, I refuse to simply want myself to complete the final product. I expect it. I owe it to myself to write the story in my head and heart. You owe it to yourself. These stories aren’t just bits of our brain that we’ve plucked out; they can live, they can breathe, they can be, if we can find it in ourselves to let them.

As for me, I’m working on it.

The Hot Dog Technique

So in the past week I haven’t written a word of chapter 4. That isn’t to say I haven’t been writing; I have, just not what I’m technically supposed to be. I’ve been doing exercises, free-writes, diagrams, charts, lists, but nothing concrete to say for the actual rough draft. I think doing these exercises has helped a lot with de-blocking me for chapter 4…but wait, I should probably explain said blockage, huh?

Okay, so last week when I reached the fourth chapter I was feeling accomplished and great and overall writer-spiffy, but chapter 4 holds some important plotty events which I hadn’t quite worked out the technical aspects of at the time. So I got stuck, trying to dig out how exactly to write what happens. Enter in the Hot Dog Technique.

(Okay, so it isn’t really called that, but I like the name so what the hell.)

I read it somewhere a while back (sorry, but I honestly don’t remember a website or book to point y’all in the right direction), and at first I didn’t think much of it, but then I tried it just because, and wow. What you do is simply this: with no punctuation or fretting about sentence structure/grammar/spelling WHATSOEVER (that’s pretty much the most important aspect of the exercise), write to the middle of the page and when you get there go to the next line. It helps to fold the paper in half, hot dog style (the vast majority of people will remember this from elementary school) and only write to the crease of the fold, then to the next line, then the next. Like so:032
This technique helped a ton because its purpose is to free you from distractions like over-thinking  The only true rule there is to follow is to only write to the middle of the page, and even that isn’t required. It gets you out of those holes you dig yourself into, and it also loosens you up and forces you to stop thinking and just write. If you haven’t tried it before, I highly recommend it.

So now I’m sort of unblocked, and hopefully this chapter won’t be too rough on my nerves. I hope everyone else is having a great week!

 

Chapter 2!!!!

I am so beyond thrilled that in the course of a few days I have gotten to Chapter 2, and I’m actually liking where it’s going. I feel like not only has my story grown, but it actually makes a smidgen of sense.

So that’s that. Just, er, ordinary life o’ Ms. Bond. (NOT REALLY I CANNOT CONTAIN MY EXCITEMENT ABOUT THIS)

But what I really wanted to write about today is one of my big fears. I think letting it out might help with getting rid of said fear, so here it goes.

I have many fears about my writing. What writer doesn’t? If you don’t have fears, well frankly, you’re doing something wrong. I have a very specific fear, which results in a problem that has developed over time.

I have doubts. I’m very goal-oriented, and I know that my ultimate goal is to be published. Not self-publishing, because to me, I wouldn’t feel quite the same level of “I did it!” But when I write, I write with that goal in mind. And it gets in my way. I start wondering if there’s even a market for what I’m writing, if people will think it’s just a rip-off of other novels (it’s not, I promise, though obviously I have been inspired by some great stories like LOTR and the Inheritance series), if my writing is good enough, if people will get what I’m trying to say, if people will like what I’m saying, if it’s exciting enough, if the characters are good enough, if the plot is interesting enough.

What if everything is bad, and I spend hours and days and weeks and months and years writing and finishing and editing and creating this huge, complex story and no one wants it, no one cares, no one thinks it’s good?

That is one of my biggest fears, because what I’m working on is just massive. I have dozens of characters, plotlines,  backstories, cultures, spanning across 5 books of at least 500 pages each, and I’m creating languages, languages, for three different cultures, and I’m making calendars and weather patterns and maps and spreadsheets and diagrams.

And what if I get to the end, and I can’t sell it? What if I get to the end, and I’m the only one who cares?

It’s a fear that I’m constantly trying to overcome, because I don’t want it to be about what will or won’t sell, what I can or can’t publish. I want it to be about writing, and this beautiful story with adventures and passion and journeys and duty and love and friendship and fate and choosing to do what’s right instead of what’s easy.

That’s what writing should be. Nothing more, nothing less. It should be you, with a pen, with a keyboard, with a piece of chalk, telling a story.