Monday, March 31, 2014

Character Names: List #1

While daydreaming about one of the stories I'm dabbling in developing, I discovered a fantastic element to add to the story, but it required the creation of several more character names. I'm someone who loves naming characters and truly enjoys the process, however, after spending a long time having already come up with names for these characters, I was dragging in the idea of hunting for more.

So, in an exercise to help me create some more names, I decided I'd start creating a list we can all benefit from! I won't promise to add to this every month,  but I'll post a new list every now and then. Hopefully this will be fun for us all and help get some creative juices flowing. When you like a particular post's list, bookmark the page, or write it down and pin it up on your inspiration board or file it away for an easy go-to reference list! (I will do my best not to repeat names, but forgive me if down the road I miss one here and there!)

Today, the meanings and origins are taken from **Please be aware that some sites will post different meanings.**


Harper - meaning: Harp Player ; origin : English

Eden - meaning: Paradise ; origin : Hebrew

Nora - meaning: Honor ; origin : English

Charlotte - meaning: Free ; origin: English

Layla/Leila - meaning: Night/Black ; origin: Arabic

Rowan - meaning: from the Rowan tree ; origin: English

Louisa - meaning: Famous Warrior ; origin: English

Audrey/Audri - meaning: Noble Strength ; origin: English

Faye - meaning: Fairy or Elf ; origin: French

Wren - meaning: Small Bird ; origin: English

Clare/Claire/Klair  - meaning: Illustrious ; origin: French


Noah - meaning: Rest, Peace ; origin: Hebrew

Isaac - meaning: He Will Laugh ; origin: Hebrew

Liam - meaning: Strong-Willed Warrior ; origin: Irish

Henry - meaning: Ruler of the home ; origin: German

Aiden - meaning: Little Fire ; origin: Irish

Carson - meaning: Christian ; origin: American

Sebastian - meaning: Venerable ; origin: Greek

Connor  - meaning: Wolf lover ; origin: Irish

Luther - meaning: People army ; origin: English

Caius - meaning: Person of Earth ; origin: Latin

Austin - meaning: Great ; origin: English

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Taking My Own Advice: Personal Post

I've written many posts on writer's block and procrastination. Well, I haven't so much had writer's block as the latter one lately. I've been procrastinating horribly in my writing. My excuse has been my hours having gone up in my job, but that's such a lazy excuse.

I've also been struggling with the core of my Drasia story. In my last post, I talked about how our stories can hide a serious element that is the heart and soul of the story and gave some tips on how to recognize what is lacking. I've had to take my own advice and examine Drasia, because for a long time there has been something wrong with the story.

I discovered it was my perspective. I was too absorbed in comparing what I was writing to other stories in the fantasy genre, and by doing so I was literally killing my story. I was trying to make it something it really wasn't, and I was letting, simultaneously, pride and bashfulness prevent me from writing.

Why pride? I was trying to make Drasia the next best-selling fantasy series. Obviously I never have thought of this as a real possibility, but as someone who loves reading and watching good fantasy, it's nearly impossible not to make some sort of comparison. I was moving farther and farther away from writing simply for telling the story to wanting to write my story to be recognized. YUCK!

Why bashfulness? By comparing my writing to great works like The Lord of the Rings or whatever else it be, I was beating down my own work. I slowly fell into the pit of self-wallowing and discouragement and didn't consider my writing to be up to par. Is my story as good as others? I say no way, but then again that's not for me to say. What I have to remember is that I'm not J.R.R Tolkien. I'm not J.K. Rowling. My writing is my own; my story is my own. I have to focus on developing and making my writing better rather than constantly comparing myself to others.

Now I hope to be able to update all of you soon on the progression of my Drasia series and let you know what other things I discovered it to be lacking. I figured this confession was enough for one day :)

So take it from me — don't let yourself beat yourself down based on others. It's not going to help make your writing better. Only your hard work, consistency, and diligence will make you the writer you want to be.

(**I found this post on tumblr via a friend on Facebook. The writer talks about the fallen dreams of being teenage writer. It made me look back at my younger teenage years and chuckle at myself a bit, but in a way it also addresses comparisons. I encourage you to read it! I Was That Teenage Writer **)

Monday, March 3, 2014

What Is Your Story Lacking?

You've just come up with a brilliant story idea. The outline is created in detail and you can't wait to get started. Or perhaps you've already finished the first draft of your short story or novel. However, there's something nagging at you. You don't want to pay attention to it after all the hard work you've just put forth, but the feeling can't be ignored. Something isn't right. Something is missing.

Knowing something is lacking in your story is discouraging, but you don't have to allow it to become daunting. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to get started in delving into the root of the problem:

1. Get a Different Perspective

Look at your story through the eyes of a reader. Really make the effort to forget that you know this story inside and out; distance yourself. What might you, as a reader, expect to come next? What would you want from the story? (Tip: Pretend you're in the movie theater and imagine your story on the big screen. What are your hopes for the outcome of a good plot?)

2. Risk a Twist

Take your crucial moments and use a different scenario. What could bring something new and unexpected? New characters? An unexpected death? Secrets? Surprise yourself and you'll more than likely surprise your reader.

3. Boy, Girl…Neither?

Your male protagonist is a Black Ops agent,  but what if he was a she? How would that change your story's perspective and even overall message?

Perhaps your story is about three law or rule-breaking friends. What if your characters were animals? That would certainly add a twist to your perspective, setting, story lines, and perhaps your intended audience.

4. Personality

Your protagonist is naturally shy - or is she? Is she simply quiet, or is that a defense to hide a darker secret? By asking similar questions, you create opportunities for a deeper story line.

5. Driving Goals

I was once developing a story set in the 1940s. I could see the vision perfectly in my head…but there was something terribly wrong with the story, and I couldn't put my finger on it.
Finally, after doing some comparison with other story ideas to get to the root of the problem, I realized there was no focus in the plot. I'm not just talking about a theme. Look at it this way: What is it your characters are striving for? What's the one obstacle, whether physical or inner emotions, that your character has to overcome? How does this affect the story? (I recommend author K.M. Weiland's post on Most Common Writing Mistakes: Characters Who Lack Solid Story Goals. )

If you are struggling with your story, I hope this will give you some inspiration and heading in asking the right questions. Remember — that feeling of discouragement and insecurity about your story doesn't mean you have to start from scratch or throw the whole idea away. Be looking for ways to improve your story and characters. You'll eventually find the confidence you're looking for in a great tale.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Book Review: All Things Hidden by Tracie Peterson and Kimberly Woodhouse

**I received a free review copy of All Things Hidden from Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group**

I have to say I really enjoyed this book. The story was one of those where it took me a little while to get into, but by the middle of the book, I couldn't put it down. Overall, it was very sweet and the characters not only believable but likable. I enjoyed how Peterson and Woodhouse created a protagonist, Gwyn, who could at the same time be an excessive worrier (something I can relate to easily) but also hold an amazing amount of faith and strength. 

This book is also based on a true historical account, the settlement of the Matanuska-Susitna Valley in 1935, and real-life figures were woven into the story. It was very interesting to learn a bit of history about Alaska and see how it would've affected not only those settlers coming in but also the natives already occupying the land.

I have two grudges against the book: One, there were a couple of grammatical errors. I only counted two so I wasn't upset about it, but it's still disappointing to see that in a published book. Two, though the ending certainly had a bit of a twist which had me gasping a few times (I'm sure my parents thought I was going insane), there was something lacking as well. I feel like the authors skipped over some content that would've linked the ending together and satisfied the readers more. This is obviously more of a personal preference, however.

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Would I recommend this book to a reader interested in this genre: Definitely.