Monthly Archives: February 2013

Someday I Want …

Or, The Writer’s Lament

by Ava Mylne

I have to go do the dishes.

How is it that every time I want to do something, there is always something more important to be done? For instance, I sat down at the computer, got down three sentences of mediocre dialogue and found myself thinking about the mountain of dishes in the sink. Dinner is in one hour and I haven’t the foggiest notion of what I am going to make. I call the dinner quandary the “Eternal Question” because it is never answered.

Someday I want a maid.

Better yet, someday I want to know that if I don’t cook, the only person going hungry will be me.

Someday I want a vacation. On a beach. A warm beach, without cold wind and blowing sand, and while I am dreaming, I want a beach chair with the comfort ratio of a Saturday afternoon nap and a blanket. Just in case there is a cool breeze.

Someday I want a cruise. An Alaskan cruise. For a whole two weeks. Someday I want to see the British Isles, and every castle in the world, And I want to dabble my toes in the waves of the Mediterranean Sea.

Someday I want to know that every frustration I stifled, every stinging word I swallowed, every unjust anger that I harbored will be blown away like a spent storm. Someday I want the best that is in me to shine through and the worst to become a nothing so distant that I don’t have to think about it anymore, that I don’t even have to pretend that it isn’t there.

Someday I want to be perfect.

Until then, I will settle for burned oatmeal and a week’s worth of folded laundry used to create a bird’s nest for my three year old on the living room floor. Someday all this will be over, and I will miss it.

Someday I want life to be paradise. But not today.


A Character By Any Other Name . . .

By Jocelyn Nash Carlin

How do you name your characters?

Creating character names is a dilemma that all fiction authors encounter on a regular basis. We need to put labels on the personalities running rampant in our brains before we can corral them into printed words.

The importance of character names is different for every writer. Some authors need to find their character’s names before they can truly get to know them, while other authors will use generic placeholder names and develop the character independent of their true name, only christening them when the story is complete. Wherever you fall on that spectrum, eventually you will have to pick some names.

We are fortunate, in this technological age, to have vast name-listing resources available on the internet.

Baby name websites are a great resource. My two favorites are BabyNames.com, and BehindTheName.com. Both sites include multiple search criteria to help you narrow down your choices, and both include historical etymology, name meanings and language of origin information.

For fantasy or historical stories, I like to choose specific countries of origin for my names to help create a more authentic cultural milieu. In my new novel, I have characters from two different countries. I’ve chosen to model those countries after real historical regions, so I’ve picked one set of names with Norwegian origins, and the other set of names with Italian origins. This helps me to mentally distinguish my two cultures and to keep track of the differences between the characters.

For contemporary stories, you have even more options. But you still need to keep in mind things like your character’s ethnicity, social class, regional trends, the personality of their parents, etc. You might still want to look at name meanings or origins, or you just might want to find a name that “feels” right for your character.

You also need to make sure you have good variety in your character names. If your characters have names that are too similar, it can be confusing for your readers. (When I read Pride and Prejudice for the first time as a teen, it drove me crazy that nearly all the Bennet sisters were sometimes refered to as “Miss Bennet,” and that two men – who were cousins and friends – were named Fitzwilliam Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam. What? Don’t do that to your readers.) And try not to give your lead characters names that are difficult to pronounce, unless you plan on giving them a simpler nickname.

Here are a few other web resources that might be usual to you:

Genealogy websites such as Ancestry.com

This list of novelty name generators might give you some fun name ideas.

The Medieval Names Archive can be useful to writers of fantasy or historical fiction.

Now go have fun losing yourselves in name databases for hours and hours! I know I have.


Eighteen months

Eighteen months ago I quit my job to spend a year focused on my writing.  I had enough money to last a year (on a minimal budget) and I finally took the step in August of 2011.  If you want the whole story you’ll have to look at the “Lessons Learned” series on my blog, Eclectic (http://lauren-ritz.blogspot.com/2012/04/lessons-learned-1.html).

Sometimes I feel guilty, knowing that I’ve been able to get up in the morning and spend the day writing.  For almost two years I’ve been doing what I love.  I rather expected that I would start to hate it, or at least not enjoy the writing as much over time, but that hasn’t happened.

Although I won’t want to go back into the workforce I have accomplished a lot of what I wanted.

Goals for the next two months:

Finish two novels (i.e., beginning middle and end)

Finish editing two of the existing novels

Query more

Try not to get depressed over going back.  I won’t say “back to work” because I have been working…

By Lauren Ritz


How Music Can Improve Your Writing, Part 3

By Nichole Roundy Jarnigan

The brain emits four types of waves: Delta, Theta, Alpha, and Beta. Your state of consciousness determines the phase you are in. For example, when you’re in that unconscious state of deep sleep you are emitting delta waves. Theta waves occur during periods of deeper sleep and meditation.

Our normal day to day routines are governed by beta waves. It’s our logical, rational, “left brain” thinking that gets stuff done. Beta brain has an important role in writing— forming an outline, revising, correcting grammar and punctuation. Think of it as that pesky internal editor.

Of particular interest to we as writers are alpha waves—those associated with creativity, intuition, and those “aha” moments. It occurs during that initial phase of writing where you rely on a flow of ideas such as brainstorming, free writing, or getting down that first draft. Part three of my music series focuses on cuing our brains to switch from beta state alpha mode.

Classical music, Baroque in particular, induces what’s called Alpha State. When alpha waves are stimulated on both the left and right hemispheres, it allows you to access both intellect and creativity at the same time. In other words, by luring your brain into a state of relaxation you get the best of both worlds.

If you find writing while listening to music distracting, try listening beforehand. The tempo will slow down those crazy, busy brain waves and put you in a writing state of mind. What I like about this method is there’s really nothing you have to do because it happens subconsciously. It’s working smarter, not harder.