Monday, June 28, 2010

A Rose by any other name still has thorns

How do I come up with character names? Thanks for asking. My protagonist in Bum's Rush, Jack Troy slid out of the tips of my fingers without slowing my pace on the keyboard. Jack is actually an overused name, but it's honest and easy to remember. Troy, I don't know where that came from.

Other names like Cole Sigaphoos is a misspelling of a real name, really. Penelope, Cole's wife was my sister's name. She died in 1995. I hope she doesn't mind sharing her name with a slightly devious person. My brother's name, William, is in here too. He's the real villion. I had a time with Jack's love interest, Kelli. She's had three last names.

Where did I come up with Skip Reynolds? I wish I knew. He used to be a sub-story in my first book, which was complete, then it wasn't, then it was, then I re-wrote it and now it's incomplete. Anyway, that novel was 100,000 words plus, so I took Skip's portion out of that book and it bloomed into Bum's Rush. But where did the name come from? To tell you the truth, I think it arose the same way Jack's name did, from my fingertips.

I know when my characters approve of their names, because they don't give me any grief about it. With Kelli's first and second last names, she screamed at me every time I wrote it. I think she likes her knew one.

I guess we need to listen to our characters and our fingers. I got the best names out of thin air.
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Saturday, June 26, 2010

An Interview With Your Characters

I don't do it. It's a waste of time and I'll never look at the form again. Really, who cares what your hero wanted, but didn't get for his last birthday? What their favorite food is, What they dreamed last night, unless it drives the story or is, at least, relevant. Granted, it's a good way to get to know your character, but I prefer seeing those things as they unfold in the story.

I've tried to do interviews. When I first heard about the concept, I got excited. Then I saw the questions: What is your biggest strength, Achilles heel. These are questions that when asked of me, I hyperventilate. When I tried answering for my character, I had the same reaction.

Things that will always come up at one time or another in a story: What kind of car does he/she drive, quirks, idiosyncratic, friends, acquaintances, occupation. How they look, the clothes they wear, are they wealthy or poor, etc. Things that define the character for the purpose of the story.

What matters most, in my humble opinion, is what happened to get them to where they are. Why they react the way they do. Did they have mommy or daddy issues, was there unfinished business that they need to resolve.

How much of the hero is the author? I'd say we, as authors, give some of our views to our characters and we, or I should say, I, bestow on them traits I would like to have myself. The most fun characters I write are those with quirky personalities. But that's another subject.

If interviews help you get to know your characters, then that's great. Some people love to fill out forms. That's not me. I feel like I'm going to break out in hives. I wish I could be organized like that, but organization is something my characters might have, that's not me. If it were, my novel would have, not only a character interview, but an outline, a pre-synopsis, proper formating from the get-go, correct punctuation, T's crossed, i's dotted.

Suffice it to say, we/I end up deferring to type.

Have a great weekend and God bless

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Tribute on Father's Day

This is a doctored up re-post. Happy Father's Day to all good fathers.

In the last year, or so of her life, every time anyone mentioned my father, my mother said, "Your father was a selfish man." My father has been gone since 1984.

Dad was a gruff, man who said little about himself, but had opinions about everything. He enjoyed a lively conversation about all the things we're told not to discuss in life.

After WWII, where my father served his country as a PT boat driver in the Navy, he worked in a sawmill for 30 some plus years. When the sawmill burnt to the ground--twice--he found work doing anything to support his family, sometimes he had to work two jobs while the mill was being rebuilt.

Dad wasn't a generous man, and a buck was a hard thing for him to part with. Mom had to do a lot of penny pinching, but at least we had pennies to pinch. Even so, if a friend or relative needed a helping hand, my father held out his.

Mon was a stay at home mom. She did seasonal work in a packing house in a little, blink or you'll miss it, town. She was a talented seamstress and could sew anything, and did. She had a garden and canned fruit and vegetables that kept us fed and healthy.

Dad loved to fish and camp and surrounded himself with family and friends. What wonderful memories we had of those wondrous days.

When mom contracted Tuberculosis back in the days when they sent you away. Dad worked two jobs for nine months to pay for the hospital stay, and drove a hundred miles every weekend to visit. As a surprise, when she returned home, there was a nice, new dishwasher waiting for her. It was a big deal back then.

Later, when it was just me left at home, Dad bought a little pickup camper. When he could afford it, he upgraded to a fifth-wheel and a boat. One boat turned into a bigger boat, then an even bigger boat. He named them Sue Ann I, II, III, mine and my sister's middle names. What fun we had water skying and fishing as a family.

Dad loved his grandchildren like he never had time to love his own children. It was a surprising transformation. In all the years my dad worked, he bought savings bonds. When he died, there was a nice little nest egg to fall back on if needed.

In their empty nest days, Mom and Dad took square dance lessons. They would camp and travel with their square dance club and have a great time doing it. Sadly, that's what they were doing when he suddenly died.

Dad was all about family. He was the glue that held us together. He had so many friends and relatives, when he died, there was standing room only at his funeral.
A selfish man? I think not. In the last year or so of her life, Mom suffered a little dementia. I think she was confused, but as I write this, I can't be too angry. My dad may have been a difficult husband, after all.

This is my tribute to my father, on Father's Day. It may be late in coming, but I just want you to know, Dad, I love you.

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Friday, June 18, 2010

New Ideas

I remember, not too long ago I was whining about my lack of story ideas. Oh, those were the days. I now have three and they are all going to land me on the top ten best selling list in the WORLD. My ship has docked.

I've decided to change my genre to Young Adults. Adults can be so boring. I'm going to use all my old characters. I'm excited.

I'd also like to thank Glynis for the meat and potatoes award. Visit her beautiful blog here

I know this is short, I'll try and do better next time.

Until then, God bless
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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hurry Up and Wait

I've completed my editing portion, printed the MS, wrapped it all up into a neat package, and I'm ready to send it off for it's final proofing. Enclosed in this package is a cover letter, a query letter, and a synopsis. Hopefully my friend won't take six months to get it back to me with corrections. Unfortunately, my friend is not computer literate, so sending her an attachment via email is out of the question. Thus begins my first period of "hurry up and wait."

It's a grueling process, I think. The problem as I see it is I'm not getting any younger. I'll send it out a few times to see if I can get an agent, but if I have to wait for years to get this thing published, I may opt to self-publish in order to see it completed before I die. The fun is in writing it anyway.

For my next project, I'd like to write something fun. I'm having a hard time coming up with ideas. Anyone have any suggestions they're not going to use? Oh well, it will come to me. It's just hard to leave my characters. They are like family. The nice thing about that is I can always visit them in print.

Have a great Sunday, everyone, and for those going back to work tomorrow, try to have a great week.
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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I'm training someone to back me up at work so's I can be sick and go on vacation and stuff. I don't mind training if I don't feel rushed, but I work with patients and most of them are tolerant, but it is still nerve wracking.

We had a severe thunderstorm last night, Sirens going off, emergency radio spouting warning after warning. I worry, my husband doesn't. He was getting ready to go to a meeting, to leave me home alone to deal with the storm. He's fearless, I'm a scardy cat. Then the storm hit--he had second thoughts and when we looked at the trees across the street and noticed they were being blown in a circle. We headed for the basement. Burrr. The electricity went out. Now, we're in a basement that is underground and has no windows, and is pitch black. Luckily, years ago, we installed an emergency light that comes on when we lose power. It doesn't give much light, but enough.

I had my netbook with me. I love my netbook. The battery will keep for up to ten hours, so I had some entertainment, at least. My husband watched a movie on his iPod. I love technology.

Long story short, twenty minutes later we emerged from the basement and an hour and half later, the lights came back on.

Don't you just love spring?
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