Name Theory: My Process for Blogging, Writing, and Naming

How do you choose what to write? How do you choose what to blog?

Most often I choose a Character of the Week (Monday) posting based on genre, or a general feeling that I have something to say about it, and then on Wednesday I continue my line of thought into a general riff on character naming or writing.

Sometimes I have an idea that I want to write about for a Wednesday post, so I choose a Character of the Week that ties into that topic.

Sometimes I just start writing and hope I come to a point.

I think that my blogging process is similar to my writing process. Often I have a character in need of a plot, other times I have a plot in need of a character, and sometimes I just start.

I hate the times that I just start. I want a goal. I want a midpoint to write to, although I’m comfortable with not knowing the climax. I need a general idea of my main characters and my main story.

As they say, you can’t always get what you want. Sometimes you just have to work with what you get.

I’m writing that story now. A little defined character, a watery plot, a vague and nebulous something that is probably better suited to a short story than a novel.

Except, I suck at writing short stories. I’m not a short story writer. It’s not my thing.

I don’t think it helps me that this story is not YA. I’m out of my element, and it’s showing in the story’s voice.

This is a good thing.

I’ve written three first drafts of novels, and scenes for other novels, and since I write in first person and since I have a strong personal voice all of my writing tends to have a similar flavor.

What I started yesterday is less me, and more Alexa.

That’s her name. My main character is Alexa. I think I like her, and I’m looking forward to getting to know her better.

I can only hope I write a plot that is worthy of the woman she is becoming. She is, after all, only a “new adult” at 21.

I challenge you all to write something you haven’t planned, if only just for the experience of learning what you can truly make out of nothing.


PS I have an Alexa in this story, which will necessarily preclude me from using: Alexia, Alexis, Alexandra, Alexandria, Alexander, Alex, Alec, Xander, Zander, Lexi, Alejandro, and any number of other related names. These names are essentially the same name. I cannot allow myself to have two characters with essentially the same name, unless there is a good reason related to the plot.

I beg you not to use names that are essentially the same in your stories, so no Michael and Michelle; no Steven and Stephanie; no Christopher and Christine, or Christopher and Christian; no Joseph and Josie; no Nicholas and Nicole; no Daniel and Dana; no Andrew and Andrea; no Jesse and Jessica.

With all the wonderful names in the world, don’t fall into the trap of using variations on a name.

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