How to Develop Some Bad@$$ Character Names

As you will know if you’ve been following this blog, I’ve been doing a few posts on character development. Well, for today’s post, I wanted to finish that series by talking about how I come up with character names.

The truth is, it’s not hard. There are a lot of resources out there that writers can use to come up with character names, even fantasy characters like the ones I write. Baby name websites are pretty good, and while some of the names suck, there are gems among them. One of my book’s characters is named Aldric Rookwood. If my memory is serving me correctly, “Aldric” came from one of these sites (it’s French and Italian). “Rookwood,” on the other hand, comes from the Harry Potter books, and is the name of a Death Eater.

So you have two possible places you can look right there. But online and in books aren’t the only places you can find character names. Street names are good choices, as are city names (particularly in the case of last names). So, a phone book and an atlas are two places you can look. You can also steal names of people you know, and if you are writing something not taking place on earth, you can try your hand at inventing names.

Jor-El, for example, sounds like it could be the name of a dish soap, so you can always take brands of products on the shelf at Walmart and try to change it up a little to invent a completely new name. This is how I came up with the name of an elfish town in one of my stories, called “Kaja Reaz.” The bottom line is, there’re lots of tools available if you want to come up with names that are unique sounding to the reader.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

–N.L., 2017

Character Development: Supporting Characters

A few of my recent posts have centered around the idea of developing characters, so for today’s post I figured I’d finish it off with supporting characters. These are the characters that are neither protagonists or antagonists, but are just as vital to the story as a whole.

To develop supporting characters for your story, it is important to remember that they are the protagonist of their own story. Therefore, they need to have their own goals that are in some way different than what the protagonist wants. This will make them realistic in a lot of ways.

For example, take Snape from the Harry Potter books. His love for Lily Potter has caused Snape to risk his own life to help Harry and work for Dumbledore, which is something he would not be interested in if he wasn’t in love with Lily in the first place. The bottom line is, you need to give your supporting characters something that will help the protagonist. If they don’t, they’re nothing more than a second antagonist.

I think it goes without saying that the supporting cast doesn’t want the same thing as the protagonist for the same reasons, but it’s very important to give them some common goals.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

–N.L., 2017

How to Not Get Burnt Out on Writing

Sometimes, I have a hard time getting words on the page. This isn’t because of a lack of planning, or writer’s block, or something else entirely. The truth is, writing a lot on the same story is something that can cause you to get burnt out. It’s happened to me. For Kingslayer, I worked on that story for 10, so by the time I was done nitpicking and changing words around, I was sick of writing everything and anything. This is part of the reason my blogs will sometimes not get posted, but I digress.

The real question is, how do we avoid getting burnt out? Well, that’s a great question. I feel like most writers should be able to slow things down and live a little. Experience the world, hang out with friends, yada, yada, yada. Now, that’s not to say don’t write during your scheduled writing periods; however, you have to be willing to take a break and explore the world. For instance, I’m going on a trip to Houston in a couple of weeks, and I will likely not do any fiction writing during large portions of that trip.

Now, writing is important if you want to see your work in print, but for goodness sake, don’t burn yourself out in the process. If need be, take Saturdays off (or some other day of the week). Just give yourself some time to do other things, because too much of a good thing can be bad for your mental health.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

–N.L., 2017

Dealing with Nay-Sayers

Negativity is a crushing thing for a writer, and unfortunately, most of us will have to deal with it in one form or another at one point in our writing life. Personally, I can’t count the number of times I’ve had someone act all negative or critical when they discovered I wanted to be a writer.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a published author or someone who aspires to be one. At some point, you’re going to have to deal with negativity. Negativity is going to show up in several ways. The most common, in my experience, is going to be that person that keeps telling you that you’re just not going to be successful and make any money off your writing.

But you know, even if you get published, you’re still going to have to deal with jerks saying crap about your books. In other words, you’ll have to deal with reviews. That doesn’t mean you have to listen. Opinions are like buttholes: everyone has one. What you got to do is learn to filter it out and only listen to encouraging comments. Those other guys don’t give a crap, and they’re usually not the kinds of people you want to go to for writing advice anyway.

The bottom line is that people are going to criticize you for wanting to be a writer. Even J.K. Rowling gets criticized for her work, so don’t let it bother you. Being a writer means that dealing with stuff like this is a fact of life. If you can’t take it, you really can’t be a writer.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

–N.L., 2017

Character Development: Antagonists

In a previous post, I wrote about how a protagonist operates in a story. This is very important, mainly because your story would be pointless without them, but one type of character that is equally important is the antagonist.

As its name suggests, the antagonist is the antithesis of the protagonist. Remember that your protagonist wants something, no matter how simple it may be. For argument’s sake, let’s say the protagonist wants a glass of water. Sounds kind of silly, you could say a story is all about that. Well, your antagonist wants something that conflicts with what the protagonist wants. Say they want that same glass of water to drink, or they want to use it to water a plant. In a nutshell that’s what an antagonist is.

The important thing to remember is that this is a very good way to create conflict in your story, which is important because without conflict, there is no story. So to create a good antagonist, give them character traits that conflict with the protagonist so the two–by their nature–want different things. If you can do that, you’ve got a good conflict.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

–N.L., 2017

Taking Care of Yourself As a Writer

If you’re a writer (like me), then you probably spend a fair deal of time writing stories. But where does all that time to write come from? If I was being entirely honest, I’d have to say most writers make sacrifices in order to get their writing done. And in my case at least, making certain sacrifices can result in not taking care of myself very well. So, I figured I’d discuss the importance of taking care of yourself as a writer.

There are a lot of ways writers are terrible at taking care of themselves. Personally, I get into a panic if I’m not working on a story. This means I often forget to eat, and my hygiene actually sucks at times. I also am not your typical guru for fitness and wellness. Bodily exercise is a friend I need to see more, but because I’m a writer I usually spend more time writing. And don’t get me started on my social life. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate people, but sometimes I focus more on getting a story written.

The truth is, all of the above are some of the most common problems writers have when it comes to taking care of themselves, and additionally, every single example is something I struggle with personally.

If you’re a writer, it’s okay to write every day. But for goodness sake, eat a well balanced diet every day, and keep up with your hygiene. Also exercise, and don’t forget to have friends you spend time with (even if it’s only on the weekends). All of the above are important things in every person’s life (writer or otherwise), and if you forget that then there’s a real problem.

Obviously this shouldn’t be stated, but if you’re a writer, you’re more prone to these problems than the general population. And if you struggle with these problems like I do, just know you’re not alone.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

–N.L., 2017

Character Development: The Protagonist

When you look at your favorite stories, whether it be as grand as Harry Potter or as simple as The Perks of Being a Wallflower, those stories are lost without their characters. And of course, at the heart of it all, each of those stories has one character that stands out more than all the rest, otherwise known as the protagonist.

The protagonist is usually the good guy of the story, but not always. Sometimes they are the bad guy disguised as the book’s hero. Beyond anything else, however, they are the one the story focuses on the most, and at some point during the story, that character changes as a result of the story’s progression. This is a key trait among protagonists. If there isn’t something challenging them, your story will come off as boring to the reader.

It is important to note that, as I mentioned in a previous blog post, characters are people that have flaws and strengths. This makes them just like your average person. The point is, your main character should be relatable and your reader should be able to identify with them. If there is nothing to relate to, there is a big problem with your story. So, make them react to the story’s challenges appropriately. Only you will know how to do that, since you’re the character’s creator, so it is up to you to figure out how to do that best.

These are just a few tips, but I hope this helps.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

–N.L., 2017