Beccalicious's Workshop: What is in a nam

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BeccaJS's Workshop: What is in a name?

This workshop is now CLOSED. Look below for a list of entries.

We've reached a total of 29 entries this time, the highest so far. Thank you for the participation and support!

As always, we encourage you to critique each other. BeccaJS is currently reading the entries and will respond with her top picks on February 2.

Cheers. :)


January 20, 2008

BeccaJS is one of the lit community's most active members. She works with DailyDeviants, WordCount and, of course, Writers-Workshop. She has a passion for script writing and has studied creative writing at university. The deviantART lit community also knows for her fabulous contests (The Addiction Contest and The Games and Darkness Contest come to mind).

She has a free-for-all challenge on characters for us:

:iconbeccajs:: Development of character in writing is one of those qualities that make a piece of literature interesting. As a reader, we like to connect or associate with these characters, whether we like them or not. We want the characters to be ‘human’, and enjoy seeing their strengths, weaknesses and their journey.

There are many components that come together when a writer ‘creates’ a character. Each one of these elements when crafted well together can create that memorable and well loved character. Although this workshop task may look like we’re looking at one aspect, its intention is to cover them all as much as possible.

So what makes a good character? Is it their appearance? How about what kind of background they have? Does the character have to be perfect or are flaws important? These questions are for you to consider and discuss. There has been a poll created in my journal to share your thoughts with others. You can discuss them with each other and maybe try to establish to yourself the answers to the questions. The poll asks What makes a good character in writing? and has already seen some interesting responses and opinions.

This task's main focus is how to draw your character from a name. A name can give that character extra depth that avoids the stereotypes that may come with it. Calling someone 'The Dark Wizard' or 'The Lady' and even 'her' will bring up lots of connotations that may not be associated with the character you want. You can lose things without that named character. It means instead of a person your readers can connect with, you end up with a cardboard cut-out or a silhouette. Even calling someone ‘Bob’ has a much greater effect on the reader than just ‘the man’, simply because ‘Bob’ humanises the character and suddenly we are brought into ‘Bob’s’ world.

Think about your favourite pieces of literature. Do they all have characters that you ended up adoring? What if Harry Potter was simply called ‘The teenage boy’? Or there was no ‘Darcy’ for every classic lit chick to fall in love with, but just some ‘man’? Even in terms of poetry, name establishment can really build a character. One of my favourite poems is a children’s classic called ‘Jim’ by Hillarie Belloc which without the name would probably lose its hilarity if he was just called ‘Boy’.

Have a good think about how you feel both as a reader and a writer when you come across a developed character. Is there a connection between you and the words that makes the character in text come to life? Do you feel their personality? Their reactions to situations? What is it in the writing that makes you fall for the character?

Workshop Task:

Using the list of names given below, pick one and write a piece about this character. Who are they? What do they do? What is their story? I want you to try and establish as much as you can about the person. There is no right or wrong as to who the person is- the names were plucked out of my head whilst sat on the train. There are 30 names to chose from, so hopefully there won’t be too many the same- but don’t worry if you have picked the same name as someone else, they are still your character and like in real life, you do get people who have the same names.

Female names: Maltilda Rouge, Tania Lark, Gwen Angel, Hazel Daziel, Valerie Snow, Parminder Williams, Rosie Bastion, Amber Faith, Melody Apple-Simpson, Lucinda Lennox

Male Names: Amos Bush, Edgar Stapleton-Cross, Christopher Bean, Nick Burberry, Amid Shaur, Clarke Clarkson, Andrew Middle, Arnold Feathers, Peter Lake, Brendan Eagles

No sex yet established: Diva D Donnelly, Governor Maroon, Hotshot Hamm, Tiny Tinkle, Buxton Hart, Bobbie La Flute, Dr Ballard, Natti Van Whitt, Pippop, Captain Diamond

After the deadline I will be coming around and asking you a few questions about your character, that as their creator you should know. These may be things you may not have thought about when writing the piece and these may seem odd, but may come instantly to you through your own understanding of them. An example of the questions may be: ‘If your character was an animal, what kind of animal would they be?’ or ‘Your character is at a party when suddenly gunshots are heard, what does your character do?’ I will be doing this to attempt to get an insight to your character, and to see how your answers reflect to the character you have written about.

I will then critique the pieces and the feedback will be focussed on whether you created a believable character and what you could do to make them more believable.

As this is a free for all, the piece can be written in any form of literature: poetry, prose, maybe even scripts or journalism- it’s your choice!

Please try to keep the word limit below 3000 words. Although this is not a strict limit, the reason we have one is because there are lots of pieces to read in a short space of time. There is nothing stopping you extending them after the workshop.

How to Submit

After submitting your entry as a new deviation or scrap, send us a note with a link to your poem. Include the subject line "CHARACTER: <name chosen>" in your note. The deadline is midnight January 30, 2008. All times are set for GMT. BeccaJS will respond to the entries on February 3, 2008.

A note from Writers-Workshop: Please note that this is a free-for-all workshop, meaning that you can submit work in both prose and poetry. Happy writing. :)

:postit: On Accepting Critique

:bulletblue: Always thank the critic. This gratitude must be as sincere as possible, even if you did not like the critique given, because the critic has taken time to offer his/her opinion of the piece.
:bulletblue: If you do not like the critique, it is not necessary to mention so. Simply thank the critic and move on. You can always ignore their suggestions, while not making a scene of it.
:bulletblue: If you are unsure of what the critique means, feel free to ask the critic what s/he meant. Building rapport with your critic is one of the best ways to survive in a workshop and to learn. If you want examples, ask. Similarly, if you like the suggestions given, mention it. Critic's have feelings too. :)
:bulletblue: In the unlikely case that a critic offers rude/sexist/racist/etc comments, feel free to contact Writers-Workshop in a note and we will try to help you. A decision regarding the rudeness of the critique will be taken, and if we're not sure ourselves, we will consult with one of the GDs or anyone else high up on deviantART.

:+fav: our news article.


January 30, 2008

Entries (in reverse alphabetical order of deviant's username)


Foolish Artists by X-lesbian-X (Lucinda Lennox)
A Lap-Dance in the Canvas Sky by X-lesbian-X (Valerie Snow)
Giving Birth to Natti by mwiings (Natti Van Whitt)
Andrew Middle by MaskedVengeance (Andrew Middle)
the tale of Andrew Middle by inrealityimcrying (Andrew Middle)
Arnold Feathers by ghostfly (Arnold Feathers)
Arnold Feathers by Drunken-Splice (Arnold Feathers)
Arnold Feathers by BurntMark (Arnold Feathers)
On the Starboard Bow by AvariceEpiphany (Captain Diamond)


Remembering Hazel by xCamix (Hazel Daziel)
Valerie Snow by Tuye-t (Valerie Snow)
Captain Diamond by tonks204 (Captain Diamond)
Captain Diamond by Queen-of-Marigold (Captain Diamond)
Valerie Snow by Mesoterra (Valerie Snow)
Nick of Time by Memnalar (Nick Burberry)
Natalee and her Daemon by Loebas667 (Natti Van Whitt)
Character Matilda Rouge by lil-monkey-94 (Matilda Rouge)
Sweet Melody by leoraigarath (Melody Apple-Simpson)
The Ballad of Valerie Snow by LadyLincoln (Valerie Snow)
Cobwebs and Cons by kittyfantastic24 (Bobbie La Flute)
Ministry-Melody Apple-Simpson by itzjusdrama (Melody Apple-Simpson)
Chance by illuminara (Amber Faith)
Valerie Snow by HALCALI (Valerie Snow)
Edgar Stapleton-Cross by EvenAfterTwelve (Edgar Stapleton-Cross)
Heartless Mr. Hart by Erin88 (Buxton Hart)
Amber Faith by doverangel13 (Amber Faith)
Character Workshop by darksouldream (Valerie Snow)
Reason in madness by conorschild (Arnold Feathers)
On a Lark by JessaMar (Tania Lark)

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fense's avatar
Ah no I didn't enter! Gah oh well...