#IWSG: Book Titles Vs. Character Names

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This month’s question: What’s harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?

 

For me, the book titles (or for any type of stories, short or long) are more difficult to come up with.  A title has to encompass the theme and message of the story, giving the reader some idea of what it may be about.  Because of this, it takes a while to come up with a title that “feels” right.  Many times I end up giving a story a working title until I can come up with a better one.

With some stories, any title I gave never felt right.  For these, I usually set them to one side for a while in the hope that the right title will magically pop in mind.  It does happen, but rare.  I’d end up settling for one that I could live with, and move on.

What about you?  Which one is more difficult for you to come up with a name?

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Friday Favorite: Captain Kirk (Quote)

 

I’ve long been a fan of the Star Trek television series and films, and out of all the Captains, James T. Kirk has always been one of my favorites.  Although I do enjoy the version by actor Chris Pine, the one portrayed by William Shatner will forever be the best.

The most memorable quote by Kirk (Star Trek V The Final Frontier):

(The full quote: “Damn it, Bones, you’re a doctor. You know that pain and guilt can’t be taken away with a wave of a magic wand. They’re the things we carry with us, the things that make us who we are. If we lose them, we lose ourselves. I don’t want my pain taken away! I need my pain!“)

This quote resonated with me on so many levels both personally and as a writer.  Our painful experiences deepen and enrich our lives, and make us the individuals we are.  Without painful experiences, how else are we able to sympathize and empathize with others?  They make us human.  Our painful experiences also enable us to be better writers.  To create real characters that our readers can identify with.

For me, on a personal level, I’ve decided to keep my pain instead of seeing shrinks to help ease them.  Not (just) to punish myself (yeah, morbid), but they help me craft better poetry and disturbing stories.

Sounds so Stephen Kingish, eh?

This is probably one of the reasons why I write dark stuff although lately I’m attempting to write Romance (but of course they’ll have some dark qualities in them).  Life is real, and it’s hard.  Life isn’t all roses and sweet.  But, it does have moments of hope and love and laughter.

Being human is complicated.  Full of layers.  Both good and not-so-good.

Like Captain Kirk.

What about you?  Do you have a favorite quote that resonates with you?

 

 

#WritersLife: The Dreamer In the Writer

Photo Credit: Pixabay Free Images

 

As a young child and still today,

I’d stare out a window

and dream

 

Of other realms and ages,

of people and creatures

large, small, but never

inanimate or dull

 

In my mind, they are all

alive and loud

 

Chattering, lots of chattering

which push me to the

edge of insanity

 

I then lose myself

in them as the pen

marks the paper…

 

and the story begins

 

 


 

To see this in video format, click HERE.

#IWSG: Why I Love #Romance

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Question for this month: What do you love about the genre you write in most often?

 

 

When I discovered writing as a girl, my first story I ever wrote was horror.  Ever since then, I’ve mostly wrote horror stories, or dark fantasy, or dark poetry.  Nothing truly had a happy ending.

Was this how I really felt about life in general?

Yeah, for a long time, I did.

But, there was always this other side of me that dared to hope, and dream, and wonder about the magical and beautiful aspects of life; and many times these involved this concept called…love.

I’ve always enjoyed reading both fantasy and horror books.

Romance novels?  I devoured them.  I never could get enough.  It was a wonderful feeling when you get to the end of a book, and there’s a happy ending!

Real life doesn’t always have a happy ending.  In fact, for many there’s only sadness and pain and emptiness.  It’s nice to be able to open up a book and get lost in it, in another person’s life, and be able to feel what they feel, and experience what they experience, and leave your own unhappy reality behind for a while.

These are some of the reasons why I love the Romance genre.  And why I’ve decided to write in this genre for my very first book.

What about you?  Which genre do you enjoy most, and why?

Writing: How Much of You Actually Ends Up In Your Characters?

I have a question for writers in regards to character development:

Now that you’ve given your answer, how much of this is actually intentional or accidental?

I’m getting ready to start the Planning stage for my first book, Storms of the Heart.   I have already mentioned this in an earlier post that I was going to include some PTSD issues for one or more of the major characters basing on some of my own personal experiences as well as of a loved one.  For this project, some of the things I’ll be writing into the characters will be intentional.  This got me to thinking…do we always do it intentionally, or do some bits of our soul just happen to end up in these fictional beings?

How much are we willing to bare it all for our readers?  Or, is it more for ourselves?

What do you think?

Writing: Favorite Supporting Character Archetype

Curious about DIY MFA? Click on the image for  more information about it!

In Gabriela Pereira’s book, DIY MFA Book, she talks about the protagonist and the supporting characters.  She believes “that every story has one (and only one) protagonist. This means that the job of every other character is to support that main character’s development.”  In this book, she talks about “the five main types of supporting characters—Villain, Love Interest, BFF/Sidekick, Mentor, and Fool—and the functions they serve in the story.” 

She goes on in detail describing the various functions of each type in chapter eight of her book (click here if you’d like to buy it); in the DIY MFA Virtual Book Club, Gabriela asked ” what’s your favorite supporting character archetype and why?”

Gabriela is big on archetypes.  She’d even developed a quiz to take to determine which protagonist archetype you most identified with just by determining your “storytelling superpower,” and I got Protector.

“Your favorite characters see their world in danger and will do whatever it takes to protect it and those they love in it.”

When I look at the word Protector, one of the first images to come to mind is of Merlin and Arthur in the BBC popular TV series, Merlin.  Unbeknownst to the once and future king, Prince Arthur, Merlin is destined to be his guardian and mentor.  But, he is also Arthur’s shield and protector who’s more than willing to give up his life for the prince as this picture above shows (one of the cups has poisoned wine; one must die in order to break the curse bestowed upon Camelot because Arthur accidentally killed a unicorn). Arthur felt it was his place and duty to die for his beloved Camelot, but of course, Merlin thought otherwise.

 

Here’s another time when a witch attempted to poison the prince, but Merlin stepped in to intervene in the nick of time.

King Uther did not believe Merlin, and instructed him to drink it to prove if the disguised witch was really trying to poison his son.

And Merlin did, and nearly died (Arthur would set out on a quest to find the antidote in time to save his servant).

Merlin is one of my favorite shows, and I tend to use it as a study on character development for my writing.

Why not books?

I learn best visually and hands-on.  I like to play out story lines and scenes in my mind, or even act them out in the privacy of my, wait for it, bathroom!  And because I learn best in these ways, I’ve dabbled in screenwriting (which by the way is a great tool to help one write more concise while cutting out all the unnecessary words) as well as turning my short writings and poems in to videos with images and music.

Now that we established how odd I really am…

Let’s move on 🙂

Of the five types of supporting character archetypes, I tend to bounce between the Love Interest and Mentor.

 

Guinevere is Merlin’s good friend whom he trusts and confides in (except for his most guarded secrets one being he’s a sorcerer but needs to conceal that for as long as magic was outlawed in the kingdom); she’s also Prince Arthur’s love interest.  She’s a key person in helping Merlin mold Arthur in to the kind of king Camelot needs.

 

Gaius is Merlin’s mentor, father-figure, and the only one (for a long time) who knew the truth about Merlin’s magical abilities.  Once a wizard himself turned physician of the king’s court under Uther (who was personally responsible for the law that forbade anyone to practice magic or face the death penalty) before serving under Arthur after King Uther’s death.  From time to time, Gaius himself plays the Protector of Merlin against Uther’s desire to rid his kingdom of magic at all costs, or against powerful witches or ancient magical creatures.

Why do I prefer these two types?

Even though I haven’t really written any romance stories yet, my mind is constantly filled with various couples and their relationships to one another. Bottom line, it’s all about connection.  That intimacy (and not just the physical part; true connection and intimacy run much deeper than that), the bond you share with that one person.  It’s something that touches me to the core, and I just can’t get enough of it. Hence, these are why I adore the Love Interest type.

Next, the mentor.  For me, a mentor tends to be a father-figure.  I suppose the reason is the close relationship I had with my own father, and how he always felt the need to protect me.  He’s been gone for over three years now, and I still crave his hugs.  They always made me feel safe, and that somehow everything will be okay.  So, in a sense, the mentor tends to also carry qualities of a Protector which then tends to rub off on the protagonist.

What about you?  Of the five supporting character archetypes (villain, love interest, BFF/sidekick, mentor and fool), which one(s) do you like to include in your stories?

 


 

Still on the fence about the DIY MFA Book, or need more info on what’s in it?  I wrote a book review of it here.

 

 

 

 

A Catch-Up Affair (Interactive Story Continues)

 

Chapter Two

 

 

The four-some now seated in chairs around the large oval oak table as the waiter retrieves the menus.

“I will get your orders in.” And the short black man walks away.

Julie’s brown eyes carefully study the faces around the table as she slowly sips at her wine. “So, Brad,” and turns them solely to the man sitting to her right, “What on earth have you been up to since I last saw you?”

Brad grins as he leans back. “Nothing exciting.  Just work.”

“Doing what?”

“Integrated marketing.”

“Marketing, huh?” She purses her lips, “For whom?”

“Altvision Communications.” He replies as he bit into a breadstick.

“Wow, one of the four media giants.” Her smile widen as she fingers her glass.  “You must be one of the lowly assistants working his way up the career rung by now.”

He chuckles, “Hardly. Try the Director of the Marketing Department.”

“Di-rec-tor…my heavens, that’s a far cry from being a lab rat with Dalton Co-Op.”

“A lab rat?” Eddie’s hazel-green eyes sparkle as he stares at Brad across the table.

Brad lets out a laugh, “That’s Julie’s way of calling any desk clerk who worked for Dalton back in the day.”

“They were directly responsible for polluting all the lakes upstate which cost taxpayers well over a billion dollars.”

“And you don’t feel the least bit guilty for forcing them out of business and driving hundreds of people out of work?”  Brad asks, the smile now gone.

“What they were doing was criminal, and it was my job to expose them.” Julie’s eyes now slits.

“Yeah, well, the timing couldn’t have been worse.” Brad grabs another breadstick. “You could have at least waited until after Christmas to break the story.”

“Are you a reporter?” Eddie’s interest now piqued as he focuses on the curly red head between Brad and Laura.

Julie shrugs, “Yeah, a crime beat reporter,” and takes another sip of the red wine.

“You don’t sound very enthused.” He says.

“It’s a job.”

“Don’t let her fool you, Ed.” Brad points a half-eaten breadstick at his friend. “Journalism’s in her blood just like her father, and her grandfather.”

“I see.” Eddie drinks from a bottle of beer. “A generational legacy that you don’t seem to relish much of.”

“It comes natural, and it made sense at the time.” She says.

“Writing comes natural to Julie all right.  Did you know she’s also a published author?” Laura smiles at Julie who frowns back.

“Oh, really?” Brad says, “What do you write?”

“Guilty pleasure.  Let’s not make a big deal out of it.” Julie replies.

“She writes horror.” Laura answers for her friend.

“A crime beat reporter slash horror writer.  Wow, never saw that one coming.” Brad sneers.

“Whatever.” Julie flicks her long hair off her shoulders and turns to face Eddie. “What of you?  Let me guess, an international spy?” She asks in a leering tone.

“You’re not too far off the mark.” Eddie replies. “I’m a freelance Threat Analyst.”

“What the heck is that?” Julie’s nose crinkles at him.

“Mainly I hunt the web for any malicious activities, and put a stop to them.”

“That sounds–interesting I suppose.” Julie says.

It was Eddie’s turn to laugh as he drinks more of the beer. “Oh, it can get very interesting.”

“What about you, Laura?” Brad asks.

Laura leans forward as she studies the flickering candle at the table’s center which casts shadows across her fair face. “I’m currently doing my Forensic Pathology Residency at North Peak’s Regional Medical Center.”

“Fascinating.  We have a budding doctor with us.” Brad smiles at her.

“You did it.” Eddie says. “You’ve accomplished one of your dreams.” His warm smile causes Laura’s cheeks to color.

“It’s still a work in progress, but yeah, I’m getting there.” She returns his smile.

His expression then grows more somber. “I’m sorry I haven’t kept in touch. I never meant to leave like that.”

Laura shrugs, “You had a family emergency that required you to leave the country.  Besides, it was for the best.  For us, anyway.”

Eddie nods. “You’ve always been so understanding, Laurie.  You deserve someone to be equally so.”  His accent now more pronounced.

“Oh my, here’s our dinner!” Julie blurts out as the waiter came to their table with a tray full of food.  “I’m starving!”

 

End of Chapter Two

 

Be sure to vote below!

 

 

*Note: You can also follow this story over at my other site — Story Interactive  🙂

Writing: NaNoWriMo So Far

 

Today I’m sitting on 3,374 words which is quite poor IF I was shooting for 50,000.  I could be called (sort of) a NaNo Rebel in that I’m marching to my own tune this month.  I’m juggling three different writing projects:

  1. Serial fiction, The Hidden Realm: I haven’t started to work on this yet but the plan is to finish the second half of Part One.
  2. Novelette, Untitled: written 2,417 words so far.  Genre: suspense/thriller
  3. Interactive story, Untitled: wrote chapter one, A Snowy Reunion, which has posted on this blog earlier in the week.  Genre: TBD

Speaking of #3, be sure to read the chapter and vote in the poll included to determine future outcome of the overall story line.  The poll closes soon so I can start writing the next chapter so don’t wait any longer!  🙂

What about you?  How’s your writing going so far this month?

Writing: How Much Of “Me” Actually Goes in the Stories?

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This month’s question: “Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?”

 

 

Hmm, an intriguing question posed by IWSG.  “Personal” could mean just about anything in my mind so I’d have to answer this honestly with a YES.

Many of my main characters have pieces of me injected in them which make the stories I write personal and meaningful to me.   They entice me to finish each story so not to leave them incomplete which borders tragic in my mind.

The characters may have some of my physical attributes, but mostly I inject events and emotions that I’ve experienced in hope to make the stories more dramatic and real to the reader.

Granted, majority of the stories I write are short so it’s relatively easy to finish.  Writing a book-length story is a different matter in that I’ve yet to complete a full first draft since 2008 (my first and only full draft from NaNoWriMo which still sits on my hard-drive).    However, this year I hope to change that.   I will post more about this later this week.

 

What about you?  How much of yourself do you include in your writing?

Fantastical Friday: Harry Potter

 

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,  the first book in an iconic fantasy series, was released on 26 June 1997, and boy did it change everything.

Then comes the movie (released 2001) and a whole new magical world is opened up for both kids and adults alike.

 

I enjoy reading and watching series of all kinds, but I’m a HUGE fan of Harry Potter’s!

 

What about you?  Do you have a favorite book or movie series?