Monday, October 26, 2015

Don't just read, reread

It's a common question, do you ever reread books? Most people who say no do so with the excuse there's too many books out there to read the same books over again. However, if you're a writer you're reading not just to enjoy the story along the way in the back of your mind you're probably noting things that annoy you maybe ways the story could be better. If it's really good though all you're doing is reading, so caught up in the story you couldn't careless about sentence structure or how the dialogue is smooth and real. It's those stories that you should be rereading. Those stories will allow you to see where you could be doing better, maybe even show you your own strengths and assuring yourself so you can focus on the other areas where you need work. Just like an athlete will watch game tapes to see an alternate view of their performance once you know how the story ends you'll be able to see all the things you didn't before. 

I've been rereading since I started reading, mainly because I didn't understand everything as I was too young to understand. Then I started reading Shakespeare and I had to read again and again and again to first understand then to enjoy. Even now there are books I go back to for sheer pleasure and others to learn from, moving them from state to state not even considering leaving them behind. Those books, they aren't the classics either, they are the everyday mystery, thriller, and romances I read for pure pleasure and want to write. I have read the classics some I enjoyed others felt like pure torture I honestly can't say I'm a better writer for having read them and I really don't care if it would make me a better writer, they aren't what I want to read or write so I'm not going to reread them. I'll stick to what I want to write. 

I'm not about to suggest rereading is the only way to be a better writer but really what better way to pass the day? Are there really no books out there that were so good you wouldn't enjoy one more time?

Saturday, October 3, 2015

What's in a name?

Flint, Beacon, Sterling, Ace, Dragon then there are the women Buttercup, Reese (for a girl?) Floraleaf, Ever ughh for reals? Okay, I get it Robert is not all that romantic, Beverly ehh not so much. I also understand that you want your characters to be memorable your hero strong and these days Alpha to the teeth the women soft and sweet and still somehow independent and brave enough to take on the hero. Even I can be accused of using not common names-one of my character's her name was Avery BUT I have heard it used before and I liked it and it sounded pretty. Ria, also a name I've heard and actually knew someone with the name. I've even taken my guys into other cultures so I could use not common names, Rafael, Dmitri but at least they were common names in those cultures. It worked well but it also helped in that it added an extra dimension to not just the characters but the stories themselves. 

Feel free to steal that idea, make one of your characters Asian, Hispanic, Filipino, or any of the myriad wonderful cultures that make us such a unique great country or take your character out of the States to somewhere interesting. Anything other than naming your character Blade.

Because I look at the descriptions with those crazy ass names and I just can't take them seriously. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one. Sure there's a concern that if writers use oh I don't ordinary regular names that the heroes could, in the reader's mind become a mish mash and hard to decipher one hero from another. However that's where you the writer come in. You make the story more memorable, you make your characters one of a kind so it doesn't matter if your character's name is one of a thousand John's from other books the reader remembers yours over another. Giving the characters some strange, one-of-a-weird name isn't going to make your character better, it isn't going to make your story better-only you can do that.   

So how about getting out that big book of baby names, I know every writer has-or you should have and give it a whirl but without going so outlandish it just becomes weird. How about leaving the names of colors to just the description of objects instead of naming your guy Blue, or Gray and your girl Lavender or Velvet you pick a name people have heard before that doesn't sound like a stripper name. 

Just a thought.