Coming Up With Memorable Names

Coming up with names for your characters is so important. You want these namesakes to stand out and embody the very essence of your characters. Of course, there are some genres that tend to use common everyday names, but a lot of writers seize the opportunity to use more flamboyant names like Phillius McFlinn – because why not? You want your characters to be memorable!

At the moment, I’m writing a fantasy novel, so I’ve been running wild with names for the places, characters and creatures that inhabit my world. Coming up with names can be a challenge, especially when you think about it too hard. The best names usually come to me quite instinctively through some sort of divine eureka moment.

If you’re having trouble naming your creations, then don’t worry. The beauty of naming things is that names are interchangeable and altering the names of your characters can be literally the last thing you do when redrafting. So if you’re struggling to find a name for Sergeant Grim-face, then just call him Sergeant Grim-face while writing – or Bob – until you find a name that fits.

There are thousands of name generators out there, whether it be for fantasy, sci-fi or any other genre. There are also baby name websites that have an untold amount of name options for you to peruse, which is probably why kids nowadays are called names like Neveah and Atticus. Let’s not even mention Khaleesi..

What I also do is keep a list of any interesting names I come across, as well as those that I ‘invent’, because one of them might end up being the perfect name for Sergeant Grim-face! Having a stockpile of awesome names on standby can save you a lot of pondering when it comes to naming things.

So have fun with naming your babies! You don’t have to worry about your literary children getting bullied for their outlandish name (unless that’s part of the plot) – name them whatever you bloody well like! Seize your creative liberty and revel in playing God!

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The Woes of a Writer

Why am I made to feel like a failure for not having a job? Why am I judged for following my passions? Every day, I work towards making my dreams a reality and yet because I’m not earning an income, nobody seems to agree with what I’m doing. Some people probably think that I’m taking advantage of my girlfriend – that it is unfair that she has to work and I don’t – but I didn’t create these circumstances. If there were jobs out there, then I would take one and help contribute to the household. I have done this before and I would happily do it again.

I truly admire my girlfriend for keeping a roof over our heads. When she gets frustrated with her job, I feel her pain because it dismays me when she is upset. Yes, the situation is unfair, but I can’t pluck a job out of thin air. And the last three times that I’ve landed myself a job, I haven’t even passed the probation period… what does that tell you? Dare I say that I’m not suited to certain working environments? Is it so wrong that I thrive best when I am my own boss creating my own work? Traditional employment has not worked out well for me so far, so where is the harm in me exploring other options?

Many people would tell me to grin and bear it, just because that’s what everyone else does… but I refuse. I refuse to submit to something that goes against my way of life. Sure, I might get jobs to help pay for the bills, but I will never give up on my dreams. My heart will never be invested in workplace politics and mundane tasks. There is a reason that I keep failing my probation and it has nothing to do with how much effort I put in (because I always give 100%, even when my heart isn’t in it)… the reason they keep letting me go is because I’m not suitable.

So why would I want to apply for certain jobs that I know I’m not suited to, just because they’re available? Must I apply for every job vacancy just because it’s a job? Will I only succeed in life once I become employed? Somehow, I get the impression that I will only be viewed as successful once I have a job, no matter what the job happens to be. And even if I become a published author, then I strongly suspect that some people still wouldn’t acknowledge my success, as it wouldn’t fit in with their ideas about traditional employment. But that doesn’t matter because I plan on following my dreams anyway.

Life is short, my friends! Do what you can with the time that is given to you. If you have a hobby or a passion, then don’t neglect it. I usually don’t care much for the opinions of others (especially those of naysayers) but occasionally, a narrow-minded remark can slip through your defenses, which is why I produced this angry rant. For those of you that can relate to my frustration, know that you are not alone. The problem lies not with you, but with the way that society works. Our greatest challenge in life is being ourselves in a world that wants us to be like everyone else… ignore the judgement of others and take the path that’s right for you.

Knowing when to stop

Sometimes, it is very important to take a break, even if it is from something that you love doing.

This month, for example, I took part in a writing challenge called NanoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), where you try to write 50,000 words of a novel throughout November. I was doing very well for the first three weeks, but then I started to grow weary and decided to call an end to the challenge. For the sake of my health and the quality of my book, I simply had to recuperate and stop writing for a few days.

However, with 40,000 words in the bag, I don’t feel like I have “lost”. There is no losing when you take part in NanoWriMo, as any word count that you produce is better than what you started with! And without the challenge, I would not have been spurred on to write such a large quantity of material.

But of course, it’s not all about the quantity. I’m a great believer of getting something right the first time, and so I put a lot of effort into producing an excellent first draft, which saves time later on when redrafting. This month, after three weeks of intense writing, I started to feel the quality of my work begin to slip, which is when I knew that I needed to rest.

Now that I have recovered from my mental exhaustion, I feel ready to carry on writing. I am nearly halfway through the book now, so I’m very excited to deal with the latter half of the narrative =)

Woaaah I’m halfway theeere! Woooaaah, living on a prayer!

So far, NaNoWriMo is going rather well!

I’m halfway through the writing challenge now and I’m generally managing to keep up with the daily word targets. Some days I fall behind, but I make up for that on super-productive days that bring me back up to speed! In addition to that, I am extremely pleased with how the book and the characters are coming to life =)

This year, the writing challenge is so much easier. For a start, I have grown leaps and bounds in self-confidence, so I am not afraid to pursue my goals and have lots of faith in myself. And also, I’m not putting too much pressure on myself, as this has hindered my progress in the past.

All things considered, I think I’m actually in with a good chance to write 50,000 words! Of course, it helps that I have bags on time on my hands, which I am extremely grateful for. Lots of other people taking part in the challenge will be doing their writing alongside their jobs, so I count myself lucky that I have more time than most.

If you’re taking part in Nano, then I wish you the best of luck with your novel! If you’re not taking part in Nano, then I highly suggest that you try it out one day! They say that everyone has a book inside them, and I totally agree with this statement because everyone is unique and has something to say about our crazy world. So why not write a novel folks? It’s fun, I promise you!

For more information on NaNoWriMo, please visit my previous post: https://nickpetersonblog.wordpress.com/2013/10/18/as-one-book-ends-another-begins/

NaNoWriMo: The Pros and Cons

For anybody interested in writing, then NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) could be the thing for you!

But “what is NaNoWriMo?” I hear some of you cry! Essentially, it is a challenge to write 50,000 words in one month. People from all around the world take part and chart their progress on the Nano website. Also, there are local groups where you can meet up with other Nano writers for moral support and a good old chinwag.

So yeah, I did the challenge last November and it’s one of the best things I ever did! I already had my story all planned out, ready to be written, but I was tinkering around with little ammendments, rather hesitant to actually start… I think was afraid that my writing wouldn’t be good enough! But then I heard about Nano, the challenge to write 50,000 words of a novel in one month, and thought: it’s now or never baby!

What the Nano challenge did was give me a mighty kick up the arse. The pressure of having a deadline, of telling people you have committed yourself to a challenge, really makes you want to succeed. So you keep on writing no matter what, even if some days you are churning out complete shite.

It was often hard to meet the 1667 daily target. Nonetheless, I persisted and thoroughly enjoyed seeing my story emerge on paper. To escape into a different world, to spill your crafted prose onto a blank page, to control your characters… these are the joys of writing. Only through writing can you determine if you enjoy it, and in November, I reawakened my passion.

In the end, I finished the challenge on 40k. This may not have been the 50k target, but I made the executive decision to slow down in the name of decent quality (to reach the target on time, I would have had to spew out shite). The roughness of the first draft (often called the zero draft because it is so messy) can be an issue for perfectionists, though the idea is that once you have got down all your words on paper, you can redraft and polish the piece to your heart’s content. If you can get over that inner editor, then you’re laughing!

Three months later, I’m still writing, though not as intensely. Without the pressure of Nano’s daily word count, and the pressure of completing a challenge, you naturally write less. However, I am proud to say that I am still making good progress, all thanks to the kickstart from Nano!

Thanks Nano!