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 Post subject: Unhappy with My Success
PostPosted: July 13th, 2008, 5:34 pm 
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Joined: January 2nd, 2006, 7:42 pm
Posts: 519
Hey everyone!

Some people may remember me and some may not have seen me since I've been MIA for a long time. Last time I was here, my non-fiction eBook career took off and I had morphed from fulltime ghostwriter to fulltime marketer of my own eBooks.

I'm now doing quite well, but about a week ago on vacation, I realized I'm just not fulfilled with this type of writing and it's driving me insane.

All my life I've wanted to write. First I wanted to write advertisements. Then news pieces. I wrote non-fiction because it was easy money. I was good at all three of those.

I want to write fiction. And it's the only genre I am horrible at (that I've tried I mean).

I've studied it. I've taken correspondence courses. I've read book after book after book.

I don't know what it is I'm doing wrong, but I do know that I feel I honestly have a book in me that can't get out.

I know what KIND of book I want to write. Not the light chick flik books. Here's what I want to write...

The kind of book where you see a short span in the life of a person. Or persons. You slowly see the backstory of the characters unfold as the current timeline thrusts itself forward and unveils a certain trauma or painful incident. Then the book wraps up nicely at the end so that you feel content knowing what probably happens in the future.

Books I've loved lately:

1.) The Kindness of Strangers (I loved the way the author shared multiple viewpoints)

2.) Good in Bed (this was more chick lit than I'd like - but basically, I liked the premise of the story)

3.) The Year of Fog

God I'm going nuts. I can't figure out where to start. I feell ike I can unfold it once I have my main characters in my head and I know the main event I want to unfold but guess where I'm getting stuck?

Character names.

Character names!!!!

I can't get past it and when I DO think of a name that might be good, I start mapping out her life (my main character) and what is she? She's me. I don't want to write a biography here.

Grrrrrrr...................

Anyway, there's my awkward re-emergence into this forum. I feel like if I start investing more into the craft maybe it'll pay off for me one day.
Tiff ;)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: July 13th, 2008, 5:42 pm 
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Joined: December 18th, 2004, 9:46 am
Posts: 1971
Location: Central Virginia
Put off naming characters. By that, I mean name the main female charcter Dora Rabbit, the main male character Donny Ferret, and so on. Then simply switch each name (universal find and replace, whole words) as the correct name comes to you.

Use the technology to free yourself.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: July 13th, 2008, 11:17 pm 
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Joined: January 13th, 2005, 3:18 pm
Posts: 1495
Location: Islandia
I'm going to tell you the complete opposite. Get a phonebook, close your eyes, open a page and point. Some name is better than none. Lay out a mind-map (google it) with your characters and how they inter-relate, then let it percolate for a while. You'll find the need to change some names you hate, some will just stick. I do all my character planning before they starting doing anything. I know them very well.... do you have one of those character questionaires to answer? I think there was a good one at NaNoWriMo's site. And Tiff... think about joining a group like Book in a Week and making yourself attempt to write fiction the first week of every month. Practice is what it's all about. Truly. I'm a non-fiction maven, too, and fiction doesn't come easily...but it's in there. And it will eventually come out. Trust me.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: July 14th, 2008, 3:28 am 
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Joined: March 8th, 2004, 4:38 am
Posts: 2101
Location: Botswana
Welcome back Tiff!

I also love fiction. I have told myself that I must write other things to pay for my fiction time- at least for the time being. When I started writing about 6 years ago I quickly sat down to my computer and wrote two novels. I thought they were wonderful. I sent them out to publishers and after rejections too many to count, I set them aside.

I told myself let's start small. Let's get this sorted out on a small scale first. So I write short stories, and my advice to you is to start there. I find novels too expansive, they allow me to become sloppy. I started writing flash fiction. It forces you to stick to your story, choose the only possible word that the story requires as you have no spare space and forces you to bring out characters and plots in interesting, short ways, without any waste.

I also think you can take courses forever but you must find YOUR WAY or you are just part of the crowd and of no interest. To learn to write you must write. What are you scared of? The worst thing that can happen is you get a rejection- water off a duck's back- nothing at all.

As for names- I agree with Charlie. I do that a lot, especially with my characters with Setswana names. I find if I start my story with Setswana names I find the (mis)perception of Africa seeps in and I can't tell my story the way I want, it goes all two dimensional. If I give them English names first I am free of that hang-up and can write how I want. Then I use find/change to replace the names later. Nothing is written in stone.

Though, Ele, I use the phone book sometimes for names too- so I think that advice is good as well when finally choosing names.

Please, Tiff, follow your heart.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: July 14th, 2008, 5:19 am 
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Joined: December 18th, 2004, 9:46 am
Posts: 1971
Location: Central Virginia
Ele wrote:
I'm going to tell you the complete opposite. Get a phonebook, close your eyes, open a page and point. Some name is better than none. Lay out a mind-map (google it) with your characters and how they inter-relate, then let it percolate for a while. You'll find the need to change some names you hate, some will just stick. I do all my character planning before they starting doing anything. I know them very well.... do you have one of those character questionaires to answer? I think there was a good one at NaNoWriMo's site. And Tiff... think about joining a group like Book in a Week and making yourself attempt to write fiction the first week of every month. Practice is what it's all about. Truly. I'm a non-fiction maven, too, and fiction doesn't come easily...but it's in there. And it will eventually come out. Trust me.


It used to be possible to buy baby naming books, too. These were/are little books, a couple dozen or 36 pages long, smaller than a regular paperback novel. Most linked traditional qualities--courage, honesty, etc.--to the names. Read the names, and qualities, and see which fit the characters roaming around in your head.

But, please, no Brandi, Candi, Britney or such.

Good luck.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: July 14th, 2008, 10:35 am 
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Joined: January 13th, 2005, 3:18 pm
Posts: 1495
Location: Islandia
And as luck would have it, a post related to characters at one of the group mystery writers blogs:

http://www.cozychicksblog.com/

This sort of thing only happens when you've been writing fiction a while. Remember, the voices are still in YOUR head. LOL.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: July 14th, 2008, 12:41 pm 
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Joined: January 2nd, 2006, 7:42 pm
Posts: 519
It feels good to be back. I don't know WHY I'm so scared of fiction or unable to do it.

Lats night, I sat down and used "mom" and "daughter" as my two main character names. I quickly wrote a 2 page synopsis of what my storyline would be. You have no idea how proud I was of that - I haven't gotten that far in well, forever!

So now I know the main storyline and as I go through my day, little ideas pop into my head and I jot them down for scenes to be in the book.

I'm not familiar with flash fiction but I will look into that.

I am SO excited. I will try to stay in touch here to keep myself grounded to what it is I always wanted to be - a novel writer - and not lose touch with that for the sake of making more money.
Tiff ;)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: July 14th, 2008, 1:37 pm 
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Joined: March 4th, 2004, 9:36 pm
Posts: 777
Location: Murphy, NC Copy Desk
Hi Tiff,
Temporary character names that you might resonate with are Birdie, Bogey, Mashie, and Wedge.

Dave

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: July 14th, 2008, 6:29 pm 
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Joined: January 13th, 2005, 3:18 pm
Posts: 1495
Location: Islandia
Snort!

Tiff, do you know how to mindmap? I've been doing outlines like that for decades having first learned the technique through a Tony Buzan book. You can google his name or mindmapping for tons of info and even software to mindmap on the computer. It is such a good visual way to plot and set-up on the interconnections between characters... really helps when it comes time to crap out the first draft.

Blog book tour when you're there, gal. :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: July 14th, 2008, 9:15 pm 
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Joined: January 2nd, 2006, 7:42 pm
Posts: 519
I haven't tried mind mapping yet. I had to do some project with it for a boring business non-fiction topic, but never for characters.

I'll look into that, too.
tiff ;)

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