Lately, I met an Irish woman whose first name I simply love: Mairead. She told me it’s the Irish version of the name Margaret. I was fascinated. Margaret is a great name, but to my ear, Mairead sounds mysterious and a bit magic.
After a little bit of research, I found out that it’s believed the meaning of the name is ‘pearl.’ I’m convinced in one of my books a character called Mariead will show up.
That coincidence is one of the very few occasions so far that I met a person whose name I plan to use in one of my books.
Most of the time I have a ‘rough plan’ about a particular new character in my head already. Before the ‘fine tuning’ I most of the time need a name. In my head, I can only imagine a character as a person if he or she has a name.
XY is often in a fit of violent temper.
XY is well trained in controlling himself and playing a peaceful and prudent man.
XY occasionally twirls his beard when…
and so on. These things don’t work for me if I cannot address the person properly.
Erik is often in a fit of violent temper.
Wilbur Carstairs is well trained in controlling himself and playing a peaceful and prudent man.
Grandpa Ben occasionally twirls his beard when…
That’s much better. My head has a picture of Erik, Wilbur and Grandpa Ben now.
Imagine now I created a beautiful Irish woman with light skin, black hair and bright blue eyes. She’s filigree, but no matter how tender she looks, her magic makes her strong. Nobody knows what powers slumber inside of her.
Before going deeper into her character, find out her flaws, build her in detail, I want to be able to think about her as a person, not merely a ‘picture’ or a ‘draft.’ I have a good basic idea of how she will be. What I need now is her name. A name that in my opinion, matches her looks as well as her character (and what I have hidden inside of her).
My research will look like this. First names on the left, last names on the right. I researched the names and the meanings.
After taking notes of the basics, I’ll leave the paper for a while and later on I’m trying to figure out what I like about the names, how they match. I keep scribbling onto the note until it looks like this. (And of course my favorite is red).
And here we go: Welcome to my book, Aideen Brady.
Do you think this is too complicated? What is your process to find your character’s names? Are names really worth such efforts? Let me hear your thoughts, please.
A bit over a week ago I chatted with a friend of mine who I was going to have dinner with the same night. We’re always having a lot of fun. The lady is as smart as a tree full of owls and I’m proud to have her as a friend. She’s a librarian and a teacher and occasionally I’m very happy she can give me some advice.
This afternoon we had following conversation, starting harmless, just as women talk sometimes:
(M=me – F=Friend)
M: “We still need to get ready.”
F: “I’m just in my work clothes.”
M: “Yeah, but you’re always chic.”
F: “Not today. Comfy. I’m wearing a moo moo. Just kidding!”
M: “In that case I’ll be overdressed.”
F: “Just wearing black pants and black shirt. I look like I’m going to a funeral.”
M: “Yes… my hope died.”
M: “Maybe my hope hanged itself. Oops… is it hung? Wait! I’m a writer, I can do this!”
F: “Hanged is for humans.”
M: “My hope committed suicide.”
F: “Hope is being personified. So hanged is correct.”
M: “Wow. I’m proud of myself.”
F: “You had a 50/50 shot.”
M: “I should take this conversation and blog about it.”
And here it is. Let’s say, a ‘makes-no-sense-at-all’ conversation and still I learned something. I admit, sometimes life is amazing. And I’m once again realizing how grateful I am to have friends who support my writing, even in small things like this.
Thank you, my dear friend. (Does that conversation sound familiar to you?)
As for my hope: It is very much alive. If this wasn’t the case, I would not exist anymore.
A few weeks back I was going through my comments, since I had to approve a few of them, and was informed that I had something like 70 spam comments. You can see the spam file here, just when you’re in your comments:
Once again curiosity-driven I went through the spam file and scrolled through the different attempts. And I realized something: while a few months ago, these ‘cyber-impostors” were simply commenting on our blog posts, they had found out they might be more successful replying to one of the comments on our posts.
While a year ago, sales companies for mattresses, online drug stores, and internet Viagra were trying to use our blogs as a sales platform, this time I found that Russian sex sites tried the same thing.
I saw the statistics and realized that the number of spam comments was almost as high as my regular blog comments. Can you imagine if Akismet didn’t exist? We would be drowned in mattresses, bad internet Viagra and Russian whores.
I admit at this point I’m grateful for Akismet and WordPress protecting us from the worst. Some trigger words might make them turn a regular comment into a spam comment, but by going through our spam file regularly, we can still catch them.
Without Akismet our blogs were unreadable, and we would have to give them up.
I recommend you keep track of your spam folder to help them improve their service.
I heard from three writer friends so far that they’re currently writing their autobiography – or memoirs… I wouldn’t be a writer if I didn’t consider writing my own after getting the idea. But I had to see that this won’t work.
We all know the saying when a writer has the idea for a story in his/her head, it needs to get out and be written. It is a true saying. And that’s why after I got the idea of writing my memoirs two minutes later the idea had been disappeared out of my head again. I figured this meant that this story doesn’t want to be written.
There are many reasons for not writing my autobiography: I always considered great minds, great personalities, famous and respected people do have an autobiography or biography… but me? Who would want to read about my life? It has been normal! In fact, it was extremely normal I think it would be boring to read about it. Yes, there were struggles, so many that it wasn’t an easy life – but these struggles are only important to me! Compared to other people’s problems and challenges mine were so minor.
I understand there are people traumatized as children or young adults and writing down their story might help. I heard about an actress who wrote her memoirs when she was 18 years old. Come on! 18? At that age, you discover that you are legally an adult. Was your life so freaking bad as a teenager? If yes, fine; if no, would I have to read about 15 years of overly dramatic boredom? With me, it’s different!
And I won’t write about a life that is so full of happiness, greatness, adventures and fantastic pictures, which would paint a completely wrong person. Like people who live their life on Instagram. Their lives are full of fantasy, greatness, fun, happiness and impressive pics. How many times do I see some friends of friends posting pics of their vacation in Australia! All people with Koalas on their backs! They all are happily beaming into the camera (except the Koala, whose 400th pic it is that day). One could almost think Australia was only built for Koala vacation. And yes, I’m just kidding.
But I refuse to write about a colorful life that I never had. I don’t need to impress anyone; I don’t need to publish my mistakes and wrong decisions in my life. I only need to make sure one person is going to be good with my life – and that’s my former child-self.
I want that little AJ looking into the future and saying: “Okay, this is the AJ I want to become later. She might not always do what society tells her to. She might not always have decided for the best, and sometimes she’s clumsy and a bit helpless; she trusts people too easily and when she was younger. occasionally she was blind when it came to guys. But hey – she is herself. She’s always been herself. She still has jokes in her head and has incomparable humor. And even though when she’s on the ground, flat on her belly, she gets back up and fights. With pride in her heart and her chin high.”
And then there’s another reason: Writing my autobiography or memoirs, wouldn’t that mean, I never want to be forgotten? I want people to remember me. I figure, to the ones who have me in their heart, they’re going to keep me there. And I doubt I would ever find the impertinence to expect the entire world to keep me for eternity.
What IS eternity? – Yes, I know. The definition of eternity can be read in every dictionary, right? But that’s not what I mean.
From what I hear a priest has described eternity like this: “You see a dove picking up a sand grain at the beach, taking it into its beak, flying up to the moon, letting the sand grain fall. Then the dove flies back to the beach for centuries, picks up the next sand grain, flies up to the moon for centuries, lets the sand grain fall. And again it flies back to the beach, picks up the next sand grain, flies up to the moon, and so on; until it has transported the last sand grain of that beach up to the moon. By then – eternity has just started!”
Would I ever want to be remembered by people – in all eternity? (Or until the Earth explodes, but that’s another story). No, I don’t. I’m going to be at a place, where heaven is surrounding me. I wasn’t great; I wasn’t the best thing humankind has ever seen. Shoot the damned bird. LOL
I think you know what I mean.
Yes, my loved ones, my friends, and my family. Keep me in your hearts. But don’t expect me to write down all my life for people to read it. I keep secrets. At one point, let me go.
Do you write your autobiography or memoirs right now? What is your reason to write it down?
I would say, the majority of us writer’s cannot financially afford to lean back and spend their life writing, no matter how much we dream of becoming full-time writers. And believe me, I’m one of these dreamers, I know what I’m talking about.
I’m happiest when I write. I’m relaxed and in a good mood, smiling, sometimes chatty, and I felt alive and focused on my task when I see my pen gliding across the paper and build a fantasy world, with fantasy characters and fantasy creatures… you get the point.
I have read so many articles about the power of wishful thinking, the power of positive thinking, informing the reader that only someone who strongly believes in her/his talent, is going to be successful at the end. And to believe in ourselves means to not only “hope” to one day become a full-time author, but know that we will become a full-time author. And that’s why we should resign from our job and become a writer who spends his/her time writing.
I try to be a positive person and believe in myself – I dream of being a full-time writer, but I also have to be realistic. My wishful positive thinking won’t pay my bills.
To permit myself to write, to travel, to meet new people and ‘old’ friends, to see my family and to write, yes… to pay my editor, my copyright lawyer, my cover designer, I need to make money. And that’s why I have a fulltime job.
My job is demanding, as is any other writer’s job. Some days we work many more hours than the ones we should because the workload is enormous. So, when do I write?
I am a night owl. Very often I’m most productive between 11 pm and the early morning hours. Of course, I cannot use the entire night to write and then go to work with nearly no sleep. I need to be able to concentrate during the day.
When I come home, I permit myself a break to calm down, get my work out of my head, wash the day off in a shower, eat, feed the kitties and relax. After that, I get up, turn my computer on and go to work. Depending on how tired I am I might decide to type my draft into the computer or continue to draft the new story that’s in my head, waiting to be written.
I work for about four or five hours (which doesn’t mean I have never extended that time frame). Then I go to bed and get some sleep. Three days of the five I work I sleep for about 5 to 6 hours before getting up and driving to my job. Two days a week I sleep an hour longer. The weekends I catch up on sleep before continuing to write either book or blog posts, for example.
From what I found out, many writers are night owls; I’m not the only one. Danielle Steele and Honoré de Balzac wrote in night shifts as well, only to name two famous writers.
I think the time doesn’t matter. An author writes when he/she is most creative. Currently, my workload only permits me to write nights and weekends, but I got a vacation too, and often then I’m more creative than during the entire work year. My biggest writing progress usually takes part on vacation. Also, I guess, it depends on the writer’s preference and creativity. Some people are larks; some are owls. I am the owl.
And then there are the times when I’m unhappy. During a spiritual low like this, I’m mostly unable to write anything useful and keep on typing in what I drafted before.
Right now, writing this blog post, it is 1 am. And yes, according to my plan I should have gone to bed more than one hour ago. But I couldn’t resist finishing the post before permitting myself to go to bed.
I figure there are as many writing routines as there are writers. And this happens to be mine.
Would you like to share your writing routine with us in the comments below? Thank you!
March 5, 2018 I found a new achievement on WordPress:
I’m very excited to be a blogger of 3 years this month.
Writer’s Treasure Chest has grown significantly in the past year.
over 5,500 comments
almost 80 guests
I’m so lucky to be part of the blogging world with all your help. Without guests, friends, followers, supporters and people encouraging me again and again this blogging adventure would not have been progressing at this pace and wouldn’t have been as successful as it is.