Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Yeah, I'm kind of slow sometimes

It just hit me, why I'm writing Jay.

'Cause when writing "The Rules of Riding Shotgun", I never really got to write from Jackson's perspective.

And Jay is a lot like Jackson (and it's not just the 'J' name thing*). They are both confident, pushy, and selfish. Their needs come first, always, and if someone can't help them, then that person is disposable.

The reason why I'm saying that I'm slow, is 'cause every time I start a new story, the main aspect of the main character is something I wanted to explore more in whatever I was previously working on.

Project #1 had primarily female characters, and I hated my main female character. Yes, hated. As in, I plotted her destruction daily, but couldn't kill her off since she was (duh) the MC, so instead, she got beaten up a lot by other characters -> so I wanted to write from the male perspective, which I was more comfortable with anyways

Project #2 flipped between two brothers -> I really enjoyed writing from the younger one's perspective, since I had never written a character that young before, plus I knew the narrative was too distant, so I was toying with the idea of trying 1st person for a change, rather than my usual close-3rd POV and seeing how that went.

Project #3 is MG, not YA, 1st person, present tense (also a new/first-time thing for me) -> I wasn't confident I was pulling off a MG voice, and I wanted something more action-y (plot-wise), and I kind of liked how a preteen boys and girls can be nearly interchangeable in a lot of ways, especially since romantic relationships aren't the first thing on their brain when they interact with their peers.

Project #4 I went back to YA, there's a more action-y plot, genderless character who is pretty slow on the whole 'growing up/relationship thing', and I felt confident enough to swap between past/present, and keep it in 1st person -> but I didn't have a good handle on Jackson. Actually, that's still bugging me while I'm editing the 2nd draft. Since the MC is so 'Triss-focused', it's impossible to show Jackson as anything other than how the MC views him as: a dangerous, selfish jerk who is trying to take the MC's place (in a way). Jealousy sure throws up some strong blinders... and it bothers me that I can't show a more objective view of Jackson.

Project #5 I flipped a complete 180. Female MC who makes her choices/mistakes 'cause she loves her sister (not for selfish reasons), there's an actual *romantic* relationship that isn't weird/creepy, and I got to play with my own mythology (which is always awesome)... but then after NaNo was over, I went back to re-read Project #4 with fresh eyes, and all those things I was already thinking about resurfaced, so...

Project #6 has a male character who is similar (personality-wise) to Jackson, and since I'm in his head, I can actually focus on why he does what he does, not trying to pry small details out from an extremely difficult, Triss-obsessed character who only focuses on whether someone is going to hurt them or not. So, (contented sigh) I get to show a more objective view of an unlikable character and (somehow?) make him interesting enough that readers want to follow along on his journey. Although, it would probably be easier to kill him off, like Jackson ;)

See why I say I'm kindof slow? I have this clear pattern... and I only clued in 20 minutes ago as to why I'm writing such a difficult character as Jay.

OH, and after many hours of research**, I know Kell's "real" name now. HINT: it's an Arabic name meaning "good looking/beautiful". Since Jay wants to paint her, I figured that was appropriate.

It was a real pain trying to find a name with the sound 'kell' somewhere inside it, and have it come from the right part of the world.***

I also looked up names for Jay's ex girlfriend and a couple teachers, and chose them 'cause they "fit", not just 'cause I needed a name, and whatever fell off of my fingers and onto the screen was good enough. So that's a first-time thing for me too.

Although, I do realize I wasted hours on this yesterday... which is why I will probably go back to my usual lazy-naming-scheme. After all, I can always change names later :) Heck, that's what I do with titles, so names really aren't any different.

How about you guys? Do you put a lot of thought into your character names? What about weird quirks like my 'J-name' thing?

Do you have strange writing patterns like I do? What inspires you to write a new story, and is it usually the same kind of genre/characters/POV/etc, or do you mix it up?

* I mentioned this a long time ago in another post... but I have the tendency to use a lot of 'J' names. In Project #3, there was a kid names Jack (changed to 'Zach' after I started Project #4), and there are two of them in Project #1... not the MC, but the next important female and the... sort of (but not really) male 'interest'. I seriously can't call him a romantic interest 'cause... well, I just can't.

So far, Projects #2 & #5 are 'J-free', but I'm sure one or two will sneak in there when I'm not looking...

** also known as procrastination

*** Kell almost got a complete background re-write, instead of Arabic/Persian, there was one African name that worked, and like 4 or 5 Hawaiian names. But I'm glad I stuck it out.


  1. WOW, you've gotten really far with all your projects. That's awesome. And i'm glad you got some insight as to why you are writing those characters a little more, it's always nice to have that 'aha' moment.

    1. Well, not all of them are finished, of course :)

      But, I think being an over-analytical-type personality, the more I write, the more easily I'm finding problems in my writing... knowing what's not working and what I'm not satisfied with.

      I'm hoping that, as I keep going, my perspective will widen, and when returning to some of these half-written stories, I'll gain new insight and be able to re-write them so they work :)

  2. For my class I did research names cause they’re important. And all our stories flow one from the other in some way or another. Excuse the bad writing here but head is full of reading blogs doing homework etc And just came in from the cold. It snowed earlier but now it’s sunny

    Are you using hellwa For her name - I hope not

    I have to change the title of my screen play also - we’ll see what he thinks tomorrow

    You’re never slow and at least one of us is writing

    1. Nope, Kell's name is Shaleka.

      I am slow :) Probably because I can't multi-task to save my life :) Since I'm always running full-tilt with blinders on towards one thing, I miss what's going on around me until I stop, take a break, and look around.

  3. I also have a J-name thing!

    Most of my projects stay in first person, past tense. And most of them (although their personalities are hugely different) are coming-of-age and finding themselves for the first time.

    It sounds like Jay is a lot like my Anthony - which means the would be constantly fighting ;) Except, I think in the end Anthony has a really good heart - whereas it might be different for yours? Heh.

    1. Hahaha, another 'J-name' person! AWESOME!

      I don't know why I gravitate towards 'J-names', other than my name starts with 'k', and I often end up hitting the 'j' key by accident on the keyboard.

      I think Jay has a good heart... just, at the beginning of the story, he's pretty self-involved and prickly (like a cactus!). Watching the character grow is always pretty interesting :D

      I don't know about Jackson though ;) He didn't really have a good heart ;) Maybe if he didn't die, he would have grown out of that selfishness too... ah, who knows? :D


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