Apr. 30th, 2013

jessicasteiner: (Fangirl Moment)
Today I'm going to talk about romance! Because it's a huge part of writing, so it deserves to have a post, I figure.

Now, I'm going to make one caveat, and that is that today's tip comes from the perspective of someone who really doesn't like romance novels. I love romance in other kinds of novels, but I have just never been interested in the genre itself. As such, my perspective here may not apply to that genre. But I'm pretty confident that they work for other genres that happen to contain romance.

I'm sure there are lots of other things I could say, but I can't think of anything at the moment, so here is what I want to talk about:

Never make a character whose only purpose is to be the romantic partner of another character

Every character you create should be a person. There's nothing more boring than realizing that a character was created only to be the partner of your main character, and that they really have no other role within the book than that. They should have desires outside of getting together with your other well-rounded character.

They should do more within the book than simply be the potential and then actual love interest of another character.

It's boring, and it sucks. I shouldn't have to tell you not to do it, but it happens all the time. So don't do it.
jessicasteiner: (Blank Paper)
Okay, I wasn't going to double up and instead was just going to finish on May 1st, but then I just decided to go for it and get this finished.

One of the things that I've always struggled with is names. Names of characters in particular. Now, I've already talked about language formation, and there is definitely some information in there that is helpful for making alien names. But what about the rest of the names?

Firstly, I try to think about what sort of name I want. I think about the feeling of the name - should it be short or long, smooth or harsh? Should the name evoke any particular ideas, or feelings? Is there any particular ethnicity or nationality that the character should come from? Do you want to reference anything with the name, such as a particular meaning or historical figure? The choices I make are helpful in settling on a name in the end.

For example, when I named the main character of Dreaming - Prescott Samuel Cox - I was naming a lawyer, from a family of lawyers. I wanted the name to sort of sound like that. I also wanted Sam to be embarrassed of his first name, because it was so traditional and old-fashioned, and so he goes by his middle name. In the Dream world, everyone calls him by his true name, Prescott. It's one way that I differentiate the book between when Sam is in the real world, or in the dream world.

Once I've figured out a few criteria, then I mine various sources for actual names to use. I get names from a couple sources. Sometimes I'll steal a first or last name from a person I know (A few characters' last or first names are the same as one of my clients - but never both!!)

Mostly all I do is google for baby names. There are a tonne of websites with first names that you can choose from. There are also a tonne of websites with lists of surnames by nationality. There are websites that allow you to search by letter, by nationality, by meaning. When you start scanning lists, you will probably find something you like.




I hope you've enjoyed this month and all of my tips. I'll be putting all of these posts together, editing them and fleshing them out, and putting out a book. If you've liked the information in these posts, I hope you like the final version.

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Jessica Steiner

February 2016

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