Wednesday, February 23, 2011
- Writing Techniques
- Character Development
- Fiction Plots & Pacing
- Writing Genre Fiction
- Writing Novels
- Writing Poetry
- Writing Short Stories
Tip 1: Make the name age-appropriate
The biggest mistake we see writers make is choosing a character name that is not age-appropriate. Many authors make the mistake of choosing a name that is popular now for an adult character—name that would have rarely been used around the time of the character's birth. Decide the age of your character and then calculate the year your character was born. If your character was born in the U.S., browse the Social Security Name Popularity List for that year. You will also want to take into account the character's ethnic background and the ethnic background of his/her parents.
Tip 2: Choose a name by meaning
Many writers give their characters names that have significance in the story. It could reflect major personality traits, or the character's role in the story. You may want to use our advanced search to search by literal meaning, or think of ways to
incorporate other meanings into your character's name. For example, if your character is a botanist, you may not want to name her Flower (too literal), but you may want to consider the names Linnea or Sage. Even if you choose not to name a character by meaning, you should look up the meaning of all your characters' names—there may be something that inspires you or, on the other hand, conflicts with your message.
Tip 3: Exotic names are for romance novels, soap operas and strippers
Romance novels and soap operas and strippers all have one thing in common—they evoke a fantasy of romance and/or sex. Characters in these genres tend to have names that are more exotic, like Chesapeake Divine or Rod Remington. If you are not writing a romance or soap opera, however, this kind of name can sound silly and out of place.
Tip 4: Science fiction names don't have to sound alien
It's difficult to predict what names will be popular in the year 3000, however you don't have to make your science fiction characters sound like they are from Mars (unless they are). When a person reads (or watches) your story, you don't want them to stumble over a name. The name Zyxnrid, for example, would be difficult to read or listen to every time the character is referenced—and may detract from your overall story. If you do choose to create your sci-fi name, you may want to:
- Combine two common names to make a less common, but pronounceable name. Example: Donica (Donna and Veronica).
- Use ancient mythological names, or combine two of them. Example: Ceres or Evadne.
- Make it easy to pronounce and spell. Example: Bilbo Baggins from Lord of the Rings.
Tip 5: Terms of Endearment
When writing your story, be aware that people who are close rarely use each other's full names. Couples will use nicknames, terms of endearment (honey, dear, boo). What nickname have your characters come up with for each other? Also, parents rarely call their children by their full names--unless they are admonishing them for bad behavior or testifying in court. If you have loving parent characters that are addressing their kids, use a nick name or term of endearment (sweetie, baby, D.J.). An exception to this would be if you want to show the parent character being cold and distant to their child.
Tip 6: Overused Names
For some reason, every writer loves to name his hero JACK. I know it's a tough-sounding, honest-working name, but naming your hero Jack is like naming your son AIDAN. It's overdone. Be a little more creative, so your reader will remember your particular protagonist as opposed to the umpteen-million other books they've read about Jack. Also, do not give your protagonist the initials J.C. as an alliteration to Jesus Christ. That tactic was overused in 60's/70's fiction and is almost laughable by today's standards.
Tip 7: Loaded Names
Watch out for what we call "loaded" names--names that have a popular association. These could be names associated with celebrities, historical or infamous people like Adolf, Oprah, or Kobe. They could also be names of famous literary, tv, or movie characters: Hannibal, Scarlett, Romeo, Bart. If you do choose to use "loaded" names, then you really should make it part of the story, part of the character. Your character's mother was obsessed with Gone With the Wind, so she was named Scarlett--how has it affected her throughout her life? How does it affect her in the story?
Tip 8: Have Fun With Names
Have fun with naming your characters and take time to see what "fits." What was your character's childhood nickname? Is that an embarrassment when his parents address him in front of his friends? Did your character change his name at any point in his/her life? If so, why? Does your female character want to change her surname when she gets married? Why or why not? Names are such an important part of one's identity, don't take it lightly with your story!
Monday, February 21, 2011
Saturday, February 19, 2011
206 Bones A Child's History of England A Christmas Carol A Clash of Kings A Clockwork Orange A Columbus of Space A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court A Crown of Swords A Daughter of the Snows A Dirty Job A Dog's Tale A Feast for Crows A Game of Thrones A Midsummer Night's Dream A Perfect Day for Bananafish Around the World in Eighty Days A Scandal in Bohemia A Storm of Swords A Study in Scarlet A Tale of Two Cities A Terrible Secret A Thousand Splendid Suns A Town Like Alice A Walk to Remember Adrift in New York Alice's Adventures in Wonderland All Together Dead American Assassin An American Robinson Crusoe An Echo in the Bone Angel Time Angels and Demons Before the Frost Black Beauty Blood Promise Bloodsucking Fiends Blue Bloods Brave New World Breakfast at Tiffany's Breaking Dawn - The Twilight Saga Breathless Bridget Jones Diary Brother Odd Brown Wolf and Other Jack London Stories Carrie Catch-22 Catcher in the Rye Catching Fire Change of Heart Charlie And the Chocolate Factory Choke City of Ashes City of Bones City of Glass Clockwork Angel Club Dead Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage Coraline Coyote Blue Crime and Punishment David Copperfield Dead and Gone Deadly Decisions Dead or Alive Dead Until Dark Decision Points Diary of a Wimpy Kid Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw Digital Fortress Dombey and Son Don Quixote Don't Judge A Girl By Her Cover Dracula East of Eden Eclipse - The Twilight Saga Eleven On Top Emma Evernight Fahrenheit 451 Fall of Giants Fearless Fourteen Fever Pitch Fight Club Finger Lickin' Fifteen Fire Five Little Peppers And How They Grew Flawless Pretty Little Liars Fluke Fool Ford County Four to Score Frankenstein - Lost Souls Frankenstein; The Modern Prometheus From Dead to Worse From the Dust Returned Frostbite Full Dark, No Stars Gathering Blue Gone With the Wind Gossip Girl Graceling Great Expectations Grimm's Fairy Tales Halfway to the Grave Handle With Care Hard Eight House of Night 5 Hunted Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Heartless Pretty Little Liars Hell's Corner High Five Hot Six House Atreides House Rules I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You I'm Not Who You Think I Am In Cold Blood Indulgence in Death Infinite Jest Inkdeath Inkheart Inkspell Invisible Monsters Island of the Sequined Love Nun Jack and Jill Jane Eyre Jerry of the Islands Killer Pretty Little Liars Lady Susan Lamb Lean Mean Thirteen Leaves of Grass Les Misérables Little Wizard Stories of Oz Little Women Living Dead in Dallas Lord of the Flies Love and Friendship Love, Eat, Pray Lullaby Madame Bovary Mansfield Park Martin Chuzzlewit Masquerade Memoirs Of A Geisha Messenger Midnight Sun Moby Dick Mockingjay My Horizontal Life New Moon Nineteen Minutes No Country for Old Men Full Dark, No Stars Northanger Abbey Of Mice and Men Oliver Twist One Door Away from Heaven One for the Money Othello - the Moor of Venice Our Mutual Friend Outlander Pandora Perfect Pretty Little Liars Persuasion Pet Sematary Peter Pan Phantasmagoria Pinocchio - The Tale of a Puppet Plain Truth Poems By Oscar Wilde Point Blanc Pretty Little Liars Pride and Prejudice Revelations Robinson Crusoe Romeo and Juliet Roughing It Sense and Sensibility Seven Up Shadow Kiss Siddhartha Sizzling Sixteen Snow-Bound: A Winter Idyl Snuff Someone Like You Songs of Innocence and Experience Songs of the Humpback Whale Southern Lights Speak Spider Bones Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk Survivor Tempted Ten Big Ones The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes The Adventures of Tom Sawyer The Alchemist The Alexandria Link The Antichrist The Art of Racing in the Rain The Awakening The Battle of the Labyrinth The Black Cat The Black Tulip The Butlerian Jihad The Call of the Wild The Canterville Ghost The Confession The Coral Island The Count of Monte Cristo The Crater The Cricket on the Hearth The Curious Case of Benjamin Button The Davinci Code The Deerslayer The Diary of a Young Girl The Enchanted Castle The Fall of the House of Usher The Fellowship of the Ring The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders The Further Adventures of Robinson Crusoe The Gambler The Gilded Age The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest The Girl Who Played With Fire The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo The Giver The Glass Castle The Grapes of Wrath The Great Gatsby The Haunted Hotel The Help The Hobbit The Host The Hound of the Baskervilles The Hunchback of Notre-Dame The Hunger Games The Idiot The Iliad The Innocents Abroad The Jungle Book The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana The Kite Runner The Lancashire Witches The Last of the Mohicans The Last Olympian The Last Song The Legend of Sleepy Hollow The Light Princess The Lightning Thief The Little Prince The Lost Hero The Lost Symbol The Lost World The Lovely Bones The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove The Magic City The Man from Beijing The Man in the Iron Mask The Man Who was Thursday The Merchant of Venice The Midnight Queen The Moon Metal The Moonstone The Mysterious Affair at Styles The Mysterious Stranger The Mystery of Edwin Drood The Name of the Rose The Notebook The Obama Diaries The Odyssey The Offshore Pirate The Old Man And The Sea The Outsiders The Pact The Passage The Phantom of the Opera The Pickwick Papers The Picture of Dorian Gray The Pillars of the Earth The Poison Belt The Prince and the Pauper The Princess Diaries The Raven The Reckoning The Red Pyramid The Return of Sherlock Holmes The Return of the King The Road The Sea of Monsters The Sea-Wolf The Second Jungle Book The Secret Adversary The Secret Garden The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner The Sign of the Four The Snow Queen The Stand The Stolen White Elephant The Stupidest Angel The Subtle Knife The Sun Also Rises The Tales of Beedle the Bard The Tell Tale Heart The Tenth Circle The Third Twin Thirteen Reasons Why The Thirteenth Tale The Thirty-Nine Steps The Three Musketeers The Time Machine The Titan's Curse The Tragedy of Hamlet The Tragedy of Julius Caesar The Tragedy of Macbeth The Turn of the Screw The Two Towers The Valley of Fear The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Shadow Souls The White Company The Willows The Woman in White The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit Three to Get Deadly Through the Looking-Glass To Kill a Mockingbird Towers of Midnight Treasure Island True Blue True Grit Twelve Sharp Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas Twenty Years After Twilight Two for the Dough "U" Is for Undertow Uglies Ulysses Umney's Last Case Unbelievable Pretty Little Liars Vampire Academy Van Alen Legacy Wanted Pretty Little Liars War and Peace White Fang Wicked Pretty Little Liars Worth Dying For Wuthering Heights You Suck
Monday, February 14, 2011
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Agatha Christie Aldous Huxley Alexandre Dumas Algernon Blackwood Ally Carter Anna Sewell Anne Frank Anne Rice Anthony Burgess Anthony Horowitz Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Arthur Golden Brian Herbert Brothers Grimm Carlo Collodi Cassandra Clare Charlaine Harris Charles Dickens Charles Dudley Warner Charles Portis Charlotte Brontë Chelsea Handler Christopher Moore Chuck Palahniuk Claudia Gray Cormac McCarthy Cornelia Funke Dan Brown Daniel Defoe Danielle Steel David Baldacci David Foster Wallace David Sedaris Dean Koontz Diana Gabaldon Diane Setterfield Edgar Allan Poe Edith Nesbit Elizabeth Gilbert Emily Brontë Ernest Hemingway F. Scott Fitzgerald Friedrich Nietzsche Fyodor Dostoyevsky Garrett P. Serviss Garth Stein Gaston Leroux George MacDonald George R. R. Martin George W. Bush Gilbert Keith Chesterton Gustave Flaubert Harper Lee Helen Fielding Henry James Herbert George Wells Herman Melville Hermann Hesse Homer Horatio Alger J. K. Rowling J. M. Barrie J. R. R. Tolkien J.D. Robb Jack London James Fenimore Cooper James Joyce Jane Austen Janet Evanovich Jay Asher Jeaniene Frost Jeannette Walls Jeff Kinney Jerome David Salinger JL. J. Smith Jodi Picoult John Buchan John Greenleaf Whittier John Grisham John Steinbeck Joseph Heller Jules Verne Justin Cronin Kate Chopin Kathryn Stockett Kelley Armstrong Ken Follett Kevin J. Anderson Khaled Hosseini Kristin Cashore Kurt Vonnegut Lee Child Leo Tolstoy Lewis Carroll Lois Lowry Louisa May Alcott Mallanaga Vātsyāyana Margaret Mitchell Margaret Sidney Mark Twain Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley May Agnes Fleming Meg Cabot Melissa de la Cruz Neil Gaiman Nevil Shute Nicholas Sparks Nick Hornby Oscar Wilde P. C. Cast Peg Kehret Philip Pullman Ray Bradbury Richelle Mead Rick Riordan Robert Jordan Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Michael Ballantyne Rudyard Kipling Samuel B. Allison Sara Shepard Sarah Dessen Scott Westerfeld Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Stephen King Stephenie Meyer Steve Berry Stieg Larsson Sue Grafton Susan Eloise Hinton Suzanne Collins Tom Clancy Umberto Eco Victor Hugo Vince Flynn Walt Whitman