I Dub Thee...I Dub Thee... in Writing More Like This
On the psychology and choosing of names
Brought to you by Super Editor
Many authors struggle with names. After coming up with a character who perfectly fits his or her intended role, planning personality traits, clothing, hobbies, and physical descriptions, now you have to sum all of that character's being up in a name!
There is an incredible number of ways to choose a name. Often authors are baffled by the vast array of first names and surnames that could be given to a character, and it's almost impossible to start. Whether you're hoping for a name that could belong to any girl on a street or a fantasy warrior from planet Xyla, there are infinite ways of choosing a name.
The best way to find ordinary names is a list. Sometimes one might choose a name that actually means something, while other times one might hope for an ordinary name with little more meaning than "her mom liked it."
Beating the BlockBeating the Block in Writing More Like This
brought to you by Super Editor
Please read this list slowly and carefully, considering not only the individual prompt but ways to bend it. You'll get much more out of it. (Thinking about specific characters and/or listening to your book's theme music while you read may help.)
This list is designed mainly to give ideas for characterization-related scenes. If your issue is more along the lines of "I don't know where I'm going," then this may not be as helpful. While you can read this anyway, meditation and logic are usually the things that work best.
If this gives you an idea, write it down! It's a long list, so you don't want to risk forgetting anything.
Not all of these thoughts and ideas will apply to your story, but perhaps one can give you an idea! I encourage you to modify the ideas below to better fit your characters' unique situation. This is just meant to get the ideas flowing. Let's get started!
Two characters are stuck under a br
Punctuating DialoguePunctuating Dialogue in Writing More Like This
For non-native English speakers and young readers: If you hover over a blue word, you'll see its definition.
Punctuating dialogue can be surprisingly difficult, even for people whose first language is English. It's one of the things that you see all the time in books, but you pay little attention to, and all your English teachers assume that you already know it. Sure, if you read a lot, you pick up the basics, but even then it can be difficult to unconsciously absorb all the rules. (Until 2012, I was making heinous mistakes with commas vs. periods. I'm still weeding out errors from my novel.)
Anyhow, for the sake of my fellow spirits who bemoan the lack of proper dialogue education, I've researched the subject and compiled this little guide. I hope that it answers your questions, and that it isn't too dull.
Note: I use American English. Other English-speaking countries may have slightly different rules.
Exercise: Your Character's Distinct VoiceExercise: Your Character's Distinct Voice in Writing More Like This
The purpose of this exercise is to see how much you've differentiated each of your main characters' voices from each other.
How to Use
Pick a few major characters in your story. (I recommend using between 3 and 6.) For each of the numbered prompts below, choose what each character would say in that circumstance. You may want to write a few sentences of dialogue from that character or a quick internal monologue.
These lines are meant to generate short pieces of dialogue (about 1-5 sentences), as it's easiest to compare lines to each other that way. If you start writing long paragraphs or another character's reply to your character, then stop. Copy and paste the text. Then place it in a Sta.sh Writer or other document and continue the scene there. If you like it, post it (and credit me for the prompt, if you please!). When you finish that and return to this exercise, write about 1-5 sentences for that character and c
Help! I have a Mary Sue!Help! I have a Mary Sue! in Writing More Like This
You know that you have a Mary Sue when she upsets the monochromatic color scheme of my Writer's Guides.
Mouse over blue text to see a note.
Internet communities often lash out at writers who create Mary Sues. Declaring the writing to be below their standards, they proceed to punish the creators. They mock the characters, verbally abuse the writers, and write hyperbolically about how much they wish the characters would die.
Bullying writers (who may be very young) is only going to make them afraid to write—and therefore improve—or share their work. Not only that, but it discourages other writers from speaking for fear of public mockery, and it may silence the voices that could someday become great.
If you've directly or indirectly suffered from the abuse of such individuals, let me first apologize on their behalf. I don't care if your story stinks so much that it can be smelled from fifty miles away; mocking you