Tag Archive | books

How to Name Your Character

Let’s be honest…we’ve all been there.

Whether it’s being stuck on a character creation screen or agonizing over what your new book hero is going to be called, naming a character is one of the hardest things about creation. Do you go for something simple, or elaborate? What if the name you want doesn’t sound right or no one likes it? Just how many baby naming websites do you have to look up before you know you’ve found the perfect name?

Naming characters is hard, but it doesn’t have to stress you out. If you ever find yourself in a naming pickle, try some of these strategies to see if it makes things easier:

  1. Match your character’s name with his/her personality. When I was looking to name my main character, Edward, from The Ripple Affair, I sought out a name that would reflect the type of person he was. Edward is a guardian of the people he cares about, doing anything for them, and the meaning of his name (guardian or protector) fits that.
  2. Match your character’s name to his/her destiny or surroundings. Jacob Ichabod in The Ripple Affair is a knight destined to be ignored for his talents by the monarchy, which leads him to eventually betray his king. The meaning of his surname is “no glory”, and this reflects the struggles he’s going to have in the story.
  3. Match your character’s name to his/her culture or background. When developing the Recu people in The Ripple Affair, I knew I wanted their culture to be based on a Slavic naming system, so their names (such as Bohden, or Bohdan, as the original spelling is) reflects that.
  4. Match your character’s name to his/her time period. The 18th century popularized character traits and virtues for girls’ names. Being a woman of 18th century America, Charity from Captain Patty and the Boston Buccaneer needed to have a name that reflected the time period she was a part of.
  5. Go with your gut. Sometimes a character name just pops in your head and you know it’s the right fit. It might happen quickly or it might happen years down the road. When I was working on Captain Patty and the Nameless Navigator, I had no idea that Bateau was going to be a character until around 7 years after beginning the story. Before then, he didn’t exist. When I decided to add him, I had no clue what his name was, but in the back of my mind, the word “Bateau” kept repeating itself, like it sounded right. Keep in mind I spoke hardly any French at the time. After a few weeks, I decided to look up what Bateau meant. Sure enough, after looking up the meaning, I knew it was the right pick.

Whether you’re creating a game character or writing a story, naming a character can be tricky! What are some ways you come up with character names?

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January Happenings

Greetings, fellow readers!

I’m so sorry that I’ve been slow on updating.  Things have been a bit busy lately.  Between my grandpa’s cancer surgery/treatment, extra hours working, and getting in a car accident (me + icy roads = hello, ditch), it’s been hard to even find time to write.  The good news is I have gotten some writing done, and I’m happy to say that Heir of Vengeance is over half-way through!

I’ll admit that writing it has been a bit bittersweet, though.  Both Captain Patty and The Ripple Affair are nearing their series’ ends.  (So far it’s one more book for the former and about two more books for the latter.)  It’s hard to believe that these two projects, started over a decade ago, are almost complete!  I’m happy to say that there are more stories (and series) on the way, though.  Once these two are complete, I’m hoping to get a Captain Patty spin-off story and a sequel series to The Ripple Affair.   I’m also planning some separate fiction that will involve different worlds, different characters, and even different planets (what can I say?  I like sci-fi), so I’m excited for the days to come!

I hope you all are doing well.  Keep watching the site for updates on Heir of Vengeance and any news on upcoming promos for my already-published books.

Have a happy week!

 

Weekly Update – Reading Time!

As a writer, I don’t have much time to read anymore.  Between working, volunteering, and activities with friends and family, I hardly can pick up a book without having to get up and go.  But writing, as we all know, benefits from reading.  Not only does it allow us to study and develop our craft to make it better, but it also provides a great break from constantly staring at a computer screen and typing all day.

And so, in the midst of writing Heir of Vengeance and editing Captain Patty and Veronica’s Vengeance, I decided to set aside some time to read.  Typically it would be before bed after Bible devotions or during breakfast as I ate.  The first book I’ve set to tackle on my list is J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion.  Being a Lord of the Rings fan, I thought it fun to read the history of Middle Earth (and so far it’s been really good!)

It’s been nice to take the time to read, short as it is during the day.  I almost forgot how much I enjoyed the written word, how it takes me to another world and puts me in the middle of adventure.  I may not get to read as much as I used to, but I definitely want to make more time for this fun and relaxing activity.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to read more of The Silmarillion!

Weekly Update – Oops…

I’m in the final edits of Captain Patty and Veronica’s Vengeance, and I have to tell you…I’m regretting something major that I’ve done in this series.

(Incoming spoilers in case you haven’t read the first book in the Captain Patty series or are not wanting some small snippets from the upcoming book.)

So…Patrick.

Yes, Patrick.  The original Patrick Peterson and the second Captain Patty’s husband.  If you recall, there’s a small blurb about him in Book One that says he was shot and killed by Rudiger Bartleby during a pirate raid.  Patty (the wife) and baby Reuben escaped and went on to become who we know them as today- a chocolate-addicted cartographer and a sassy pre-teen with a love for all things stink pot.

But as I’ve been working on Book Three, and writing Patty’s backstory on how she met and fell in love with Patrick, I find myself saying, “Oops!”  Maybe I shouldn’t have offed Patrick so quickly before I developed his character to something more than a name.  He’s been too fun to explore and he’s brought a lot of comedy and life to the story.  Should I have really ended it so soon?

It’s one of the struggles of being an author: when do you write off a character?  Grant it, Patrick’s death leads Patty to get her own ship and keeps her and Reuben safe for a while from Bartleby, but still…when you grow to love a character so much, it’s hard to part with them.  (Believe it or not, character write-offs are sometimes just as hard for the writers as it is for the readers.)

So I guess this post serves as a giant “Oops” to my readers.  If you enjoy Patrick as much as I, I’m sorry to say he doesn’t come back (what happens in Book One can’t exactly be erased).  I do hope that, despite his appearance in only one book, you’ll enjoy his presence and contributions to the story, short as it might be.

And if people really, really, really enjoy his character, well…I guess there’s always a spin-off.  😉

Have a wonderful week!

Weekly Update – The Ripple Affair Series Hashtag Game

Have you ever seen trending hashtags on Twitter?  They can be awfully fun to read sometimes.  Recently, a hashtag called #MovieSynopsisIn5Words had been trending, and many took to their phones to Tweet funny phrases describing movies using only five words.  

Well, book characters can do that too!  Only this time, they’ll be talking about what they know best – The Ripple Affair Series!

Listed below are what some of my book characters have written for their own hashtag game: #RippleAffairSynopsisIn5Words.

Edward, on The Ripple Affair…

Romance novel becomes soap opera.

Waffles on Reign of Change… 

Apples contain lots of fiber. 

Emmerich on When Dreams Break…

Nice guy finally gets girl.

Bernie on Heart of Deceit…

Bernie/Marcus becomes the new ship.

King Arden on Reign of Change…

Good king makes bad dad.

Queen Maria on When Dreams Break…

Dinner party fails despite plans.

Aldaric on When Dreams Break…

Ex holds grudge for decades.

Malum on Heart of Deceit…

Boss must do everything himself.

Bohden on When Dreams Break…

Mysterious prophet covers plot holes.

Sir Rikert on The Ripple Affair…

Wise guy ignored like always.

Stay tuned for next week where the characters for The Adventures of Captain Patty do the same!

Also, thoughts and prayers for everyone affected in Las Vegas today!

Weekly Update – You Mean Book Characters Aren’t Real???

Apologies for the late post, friends!  It was a busy weekend and I’m finally able to post!

A while back ago, I made the comment that I tended to know my book characters better than real people.  I meant it as a joke, of course, because as a writer, it’s part of my job creating, developing, and getting to know these characters from beginning to end.  But some of the reactions I got were quite comical, as some thought it meant I really, truly was being isolated from real people!

I had to explain that it was a writer joke, and we all had some good laughs over it, but the truth is there is a special bond that develops between a writer (or even a reader, in many cases) and a book character.  We see what’s inside their head, we learn what makes them happy or sad, we witness their proudest accomplishments and greatest defeats.  And though we know (deep down inside) that fiction book characters aren’t real (unless we’re dealing with historical fiction, lol), we still develop a great love, loyalty, and understanding between them, often similarly like we do with real people.

Though I can’t speak for others, I find myself rejoicing in the fact that I have such a great “relationship” with my characters.  Like real people, I learn about myself and others through my interactions with them.  And though I can’t replace real people with them (as much as I’d love to get a hug from Marcus Peterson, it’s just not going to happen…*cries*), I can still be swept away on incredible journeys and exciting escapes with every page.

I have fun with my friends and I have fun with my book characters, and I’m happy to say that both have made me into who I am today.  Who are some characters that have made a big impact on your life?

Weekly Update – Book Shows!

I had a book signing today at an author showcase – the first in a long line of weekends full of selling books, signing books, and talking about books!  As you can see from the picture above, Ralph the parrot made a special appearance (thankfully not annoying customers like he does for Captain Patty), and the day was a lot of fun!
But what are book shows and what can you expect from them?  When I was a newer author, I wasn’t quite sure what to do or how to start.  Not all shows/signings are the same, and it’s important to learn about them to make the experience less stressful.  

Here are some things I’ve learned after doing a variety of in-person shows…

  • Not all shows are successful…

You’ll learn quickly that some shows will not help you earn money or exposure.   It may be weather, poor turnout, uninterested customers, or just plain bad luck.  Don’t fret – just because a show has poor turnout or sales one year doesn’t mean it will always be that way.

  • …But they aren’t all a flop, either.

Some shows may surprise you.  Even if turnout is low, you may find yourself getting a profit.  Do your best, pray for good weather, and stay positive.  Good shows do happen, and when they do, there’s no greater feeling.

  • It’s a great time to connect. 

I spent a good half hour talking with two readers who happen to be inspiring writers, and it was a blast!  Book shows are a great way to learn what your readers are looking for and what they’re wanting to read.  You also get a chance to share your experiences about writing and what makes your book(s) great!

But readers aren’t the only ones you can connect to.  There are plenty of other writers that you can get to know as well.  Not only can you make new friends, but you also create great connections and find ways to help fellow writers out (or they can help you!)

  • You learn how to market your book(s).

Being at book shows and connecting with others allows you great practice in perfecting your sales pitch.  You’ll learn quickly what hooks potential readers and be able to use that for future shows.

  • You can learn about how other books are doing in your field.

Let’s be honest – we authors are curious about how our peers are doing.  How are sales?  What genres seem to do well?  Is the market changing?  What are good strategies for marketing?  What are good shows to attend?  You can learn a lot through observation and speaking with your peers!

  • You gain increased exposure, even if a profit isn’t made right away.

Even though some shows have flopped, those same failed-signings occasionally brought me good things, such as connections with magazines and newspapers, invitations to other shows, and opportunities to speak at book clubs and schools.  You never know who you’ll meet at a book show!

  • You might improve your eBook sales.

Not everyone wants to spend the extra dollars in buying a paperback, so it’s important to have business cards at the ready for e-readers to take and remember you.  Though I haven’t seen a dramatic increase in my Kindle sales (yet) from shows, I’ve gained a handful of readers through people taking my card and buying the e-book version later.

Book shows can be a lot of fun (and sometimes a lot of work!). The profit isn’t always right away, and sometimes they may seem like a waste.  Weigh your options and see what works best for you, but if you’re willing to give book shows a try, don’t worry!  Just have fun.  🙂