IWSG - May



I finally finished the outline for my novel last week, which is great - I think it's the first actual novel outline I've done. All my previous ones were just a couple of sentences - I used index cards for this one, writing out all the scenes I wanted to include, and then used the three act plan to outline the novel.

However, I've come to a bit of a standstill working on my characters - every time I sit down to do a character outline, I go blank and then get distracted. I'm blaming it on names; it's really hard to come up with character names! I think I'm overthinking it; I need to just choose some random names, at least for now, otherwise I can see it taking me way too long just to come up with names for all of my characters. In my notes, they all have nicknames like "Mentor Guy" and "Villain Guy" - maybe I should just stick with those!

Despite this, I'm not feeling too insecure this month. I published a piece of flash fiction for the WEP challenge a couple of weeks ago, and got some really good feedback for it. I was even awarded the Encouragement Award, which I was really pleased about. (If you want to read the flash, just click here.)

I'm pretty confident about the story I'm planning; it's certainly the furthest I've ever got in terms of actually plotting a story. Usually I do a kind of half plot, then get bored and just start writing. Then the writing doesn't go very well because of the lack of planning. I'm confident that when I get to actually writing this story (hopefully in July for Camp NaNo), I'll have done enough planning to actually get somewhere with it.

Comments

  1. I'm not much of a planner either, although there have been times I wish I'd got something written down.

    I have a couple of baby name books to help out in tricky naming situations - looking at the meanings of the names can help to narrow down the choice based on whether the meaning suits the personality you're writing about.

    Instead of Villain Guy, how about Guy Villers?? :-) :-)

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  2. Just go with random names or leave them blank. As the character develops, the right name will come to you.

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  3. Yay for progress! And what a nice overhaul of the blog. Loving the look. =)

    When I'm lacking a name, I like to plug in the character description in all caps as a place holder, then replace all when I've settled on an alias.

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  4. I had a character named "Mercenary Guy" for the longest time. When he did finally get a proper name, I made sure to keep one "Mercenary Guy" just as a wink to his origins. Currently, I have the following characters waiting for proper names: Detective This and Detective That, and Dr. So-and-So.

    I have an author friend who swears by outlining. I kind of outline, but regardless it's such a helpful tool, I find. Hope you find it works wonders for you!

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  5. Names are funny things. I recently changed a long-standing character name and he felt like a stranger at first! I do like researching the origins of names too. Sounds like your planning is progressing well, hope the words flow. Happy writing.

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  6. I have a couple unnamed characters in my MS, who only have initials like BF (best friend) or J1 (Jerk #1). Names are hard and have to click. (for me). I've gotten stuck on my MS too, although I also have a general outline. I've now taped these huge sheets of paper on the wall and am writing a summary out (more story like form of my outline) on them. For some reason, having things spread out on a wall in front of me helps me picture the whole thing better.
    Good luck!

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  7. Some characters remain unnamed. Others, you'll figure out later. Or if you're like me, you'll think of too many names with the same starting letter and have to change some of them. LOL! I do enjoy plotting out my story. Lately I've been using the outline I learned in Tick-Tock Plot for the "short" outline. Then I go through and do a chapter/scene outline so I know how many chapters I'll likely have. I probably should do more thinking on the characters, but I usually just write and have them come to me. Sometimes it works out. Sometimes it doesn't.

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  8. I actually don't do character outlines, When I get characters to write about, I develop the usual details first and then start writing immediately. I get to know them more as I write. There's been times when I wrote in blank lines in my manuscripts for characters I couldn't name.

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  9. We all become mired in some part of our WIP at some point. Characters can be a challenge, and I think names are really crucial. If I don't get the right name, I can't flesh the people out.

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  10. I have to have the right name for my characters before I start writing. Often times I research names and their meaning and try to find one that symbolically represents what my character is like.

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  11. I'm terrible at planning ahead, although I find that on the rare occasion I do plan, my writing is usually much better for it. Although character names is something I never plan, I usually just write (X) until a fitting name comes to me lol

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  12. I ran into a problem with names too. So I made a list from the obits. Lots of interesting names there, combining them, mixing them up. Etc. Then google searches for interesting baby names etc. Really helped, especially if you're looking for a particular meaning. Indian names was a recent search. Good luck with your writing - you'll conquer it!

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  13. Names are tough. Sometimes, I just have names jump out at me, but even then, they aren't necessarily the right ones by the time I'm finished. If you need to go with Mentor Guy and Villain Guy, then go for it!

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  14. Your blog looks really different since I was here last. I always pick my names early on, sometimes even before I figure out their personalities.

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  15. Work with what you have Laura. The other details will come.

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  16. Sarah, congrats again for your WEP story. And congrats for your outlining process. I'm becoming more of an outliner now with 6 unfinished novels to show for my pantsing efforts! And I've got critique partners helping me with plot and structure, my weaknesses. Yep. I hear you on those character profiles. It bores me silly, but it is good to freewrite for at least your main characters,,,but what they eat is a stretch too far for me.

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