Tag Archives: Writing

Tips for deciding on names for your characters

Here are a few writing helps for you today, especially for finding names for the characters you are creating in your marvellous stories.

If you strive for authenticity in your stories, you might also want to consider the accuracy of the names you choose for your characters in certain time settings. I found a name/age calculator that could be of help to you in selecting a name that was/is used in the time frame of your story. It sets a wide range but focuses on the median – the midpoint when the name is most commonly used. GO HERE to find the NAME/AGE CALCULATORThis calculator is based on American names and notes that names before 1940 are estimates.

I also found a site that helps you select a name according to themes or qualities of your character. GO HERE to find NAME THEMES.

If you are looking for a unique name, perhaps from mythology or the Bible, or even a musical name for your character, GO HERE to find UNIQUE BABY NAME IDEAS.

To help you come up with a character by name and personality GO HERE to THE CHARACTER NAME GENERATOR.

I hope you have fun with these and find them to be helpful.

I’ve added the above links to my Writers’ Helps, Quotes & Workshops’ page. Look under Writers’ helps when you need them for your stories.

Do you have any suggestions for coming up with suitable character names that are not listed here or on my Writers helps page?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂

 

Writing, researching, & more waiting

I was talking to a writer friend today. She writes novels and is published. I haven’t completed the one I started six years ago during NaNoWriMo. She doesn’t write picture books. I am waiting/hoping to get mine published. It’s a waiting game no matter what you write.

She reminded me to not compare myself to other writers. I needed that reminder – again – because I have been thinking about my picture book submission earlier this week, and that many other writers submitted their manuscripts around the same time. Mine will get read but I will be astonished if it is accepted. Why? Because, I thought, the others will be better stories or more suited to the publisher’s interest, than mine. Through the process of elimination mine will be rejected. I thought, but I don’t KNOW. I’m waiting. My friend is waiting, too, for the next step in the progress of her latest novel.

She said if she were to compare she could be insecure because of my writing. WHAT! No way! Because, she told me, I write multiple stories in one year while she writes a story in about three years.  hmmm  My reply to that is it takes longer for her novel because of the length of her in-depth story and all the research she does for it. No matter if it’s world-building or just capturing a moment or incident, it all takes time and effort to create worlds or scenarios and scenes. It’s all writing. It’s all creative expression. It’s all work. And it’s an exercise in patience – definitely not one of my strengths.

I think writing a good novel (one that gets publish ) is an amazing and exciting accomplishment. I’d love to do that, but I don’t yet know if that is within my abilities. For now I am concentrating on picture books because that’s more where my passion lies in my writing. I have to stop comparing. I have to be who I am as a writer.

Look at this fabulous image I found on Twitter:

writing research

 

 

She’s a history professor from the future. She said to just carry on as if she’s not here.

Researching your topic is a very important part of writing your story. Even for the picture book I recently submitted, I researched what the characters would be interested in eating. I like things to be accurate.

I am usually very visual, so as I write a story I see it unfolding before me like a movie. I’ve been told that is quite common to writers. I hear what the characters are saying and what is happening around them, and often what they are feeling and thinking. In fact, here’s another oddity about me — in real life I often see the words people say to me in conversation. I see the words spelled out before me, in my mind’s eye. I wonder if that is an advantage for me in my writing … or if I am just strange. 🙂  

Questions for you:

  1. Do you visualize when writing stories? Do you when people talk to you, the way I see the words spoken to me?
  2. Do you research for your stories, or do you not bother much with the little details? 

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂

 

 

Writing and waiting

It’s been a hard summer for me as far as writing goes. I’ve been in a funk, a writing depression, a walled-in place of little inspiration. I realized I was/am experiencing burn-out from a combination of things, burn-out exhibiting itself as low-grade depression and writer’s block. That’s no fun!writer's block

 

 

 

… until a week ago, on August 23, when inspiration hit!

I was talking with one of my daughters about a frustrating, exasperating, tiring situation that’s ongoing (not as a caregiver) and that affects a few of us in the family. Pausing to consider it a moment, I said … “hmm … that could be a story for a picture book!” Shortly afterward I sat at my desk and wrote a very rough first draft of that story idea. I don’t have a satisfying ending for it yet, mainly because there has not been one found for the real-life situation, so that’s something I’ll have to dream up as is fitting for a picture book. I’m happy, though, because it is my August draft for 12×12.

And writer’s block was moved aside.

That’s always good news. Other good news happened today, too.

I’ve got some manuscripts which I haven’t submitted anywhere yet. It’s hard not ever hearing back, or getting rejection replies, so I think I was just not ready to chance it again. In 12×12, members were offered a special opportunity to submit to a publisher looking for new work, with the promise ALL would be read and our work would not be left in the ‘slush pile’. This evening (Aug 30) I took a chance and submitted the story I wrote in February. I did it! It’s gone, I received email confirmation that it was received, and now my wait has begun. If they are interested in working with me I’ll hear back within five months. If not … *sigh*

waiting quote

 

 

 

 

 

In the meantime, I have to get out my other work and get more of them submission ready. And continue writing new stories, of course. That will help fill in the time while playing the waiting game. I need positive creative distractions to keep myself writing.

How are you at waiting? 

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂

You can’t read all day.

You can’t read all day.  Huh?! And why not?  Well, besides doing all the things that HAVE to be done … why not?

Read it in full —

you can't read all day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ahhhhh!    I love it!  :)  

YOU CAN’T READ ALL DAY. If you don’t start in the morning.

You can check out my progress for 2016 HERE. It’s not as much as I would like to read and if you could see my TBR (to be read) stash you’d agree I will probably never read enough. Although I have many paper books and more on my Kindle Fire (on which I can also listen to books on Audible.com) on the go, I just can’t seem to stop buying MORE BOOKS! I picked up a few more secondhand ones yesterday. Somebody STOP ME!  … On second thought, don’t even risk trying.  🙂

On the other side of things, I haven’t felt inspired to write for quite a while — until this morning; I wrote a little story for 12×12! It’s a very rough draft and needs a lot of work, but it’s a good beginning.

Enjoy a day of reading, as much as possible as often as possible.

How is YOUR reading coming along? Or are you writing more? 

Thanks for being a reader, and … Creative Musings!🙂

One more day to win! & Life goes on

The time has passed quickly, it seems, to when I will announce my June giveaway winner. Tomorrow evening I will use random.org name picker to find out who receives this beautiful bag. 

butterfly bag5

 

 

 

If you have a postal address in Canada or the United States and would like a chance to win this bag, maybe as a gift for someone else, please be sure to get your name into the draw by leaving a comment on this post. You have until 9:00 PM EST July 15. I’ll be announcing the winner Thursday morning, July 16. I’m now thinking about what I can offer for July’s giveaway. 🙂

June is a busy month for this family. Last Friday marked a year since my father-in-law’s passing from this life … a whole year already. Somehow, life goes on. My sister’s (mumble mumble) birthday was last week. Tomorrow is my dad’s 91st birthday! The day after that is my grandson’s 11th birthday and his graduation from elementary school is at the end of the month. My sister-in-law’s birthday falls on Father’s Day this year, which may hold sadness for her this time. For my husband too, and really for all of us missing someone dear and important to us.  As I said – somehow, life goes on.

Last weekend my husband and I were guests at a small, lovely, outdoor wedding at a location overlooking the bay. Two of our four daughters were able to be there, one was the maid-of-honour – close friends with the bride for twenty-six years. Vows were said while waves rippled over the beach. It was a gorgeous sunny day set in the middle of cooler rainy ones.

Since I’m in a bit of a writing slump lately, my focus pulled this way and that, I’d like to ask you: What is the time of year that seems to work best for your writing? Is there something about one season that inspires you more than others? 

Thanks for writing, and … Creative Musings! 🙂

 

More change; Valley Sunshine

Starting near the end of last year and continuing in January of this year I shared with you my thoughts and other people’s quotes regarding CHANGE.  I felt there was marked change going to occur – specifically, but not only, in my own life.

2016 is definitely shaping up to be my year of change.

A long chapter of my life ended this week. It was so hard to let it go.

When I was in my early 30’s, and the mother of three young children (a fourth born later), I started a friendship newsletter – called Valley Sunshine – that quickly turned into a Christian one which developed into a type of ministry. I started with about three dozen ‘members’, a number that rapidly increased to over 500 worldwide! It was phenomenal to me. That’s with no advertising except word-of-mouth, except for a few mentions in others’ newsletters. (Once there was a half page article in the provincial newspaper about me/Valley Sunshine!) For over ten years that continued – run on donations – no subscription fee, with mail coming to me almost daily from all over the world, occasional phone calls, and a surprise package now and again. It was like a huge family of friends who encouraged one another. I know the Lord touched lives through that little homegrown publication; it was my joy to be part of it, and I look forward to one day knowing all He did through that humble publication. With the passing of my mother (my greatest “fan”), I took a long break from VS publishing.  A few years ago I started it up again on a much smaller scale by subscription as requested. (It remained non-profit.) Finally, this week, I sent the final issue out. It was a hard decision to come to, but a necessary one. Trying to compile that last issue I mourned the loss of this connection with people I’d grown to love, this change of calling on my life, the hard choices; however, eventually I sensed the relief of admitting it’s done – it’s run its course. I still feel the loss, and I will for a long time. But …

It’s time to allow change in my life to have its own space.

As a caregiver one’s time is used very differently, it’s taxed in a way one does not expect. The things that used to be easily addressed cannot be handled the same way. I had to accept it was time to let change happen and allow the Lord to redirect my life.

Writing in other ways has floated to the top of my life. As you may know, I’ve been interested in writing for MANY years, have taken courses and participated in various online writer’s groups. Now I’m working on children’s stories again. I have a writing coach/buddy. I’m a member of an online critique group, and recently joined an in-person writer’s group (mixed writing genres) that meets once a week. I’m a member of 12×12 and participate in PiBoIdMo and ReFoReMo. All these things are intended to help me learn and improve. Life is still busy. Writing is a huge part of that for me.

Now I’ve told you much more than I had intended to when I started this post. I was going to give you a fun quiz to do, and the above was going to be the lead-in. It just grew and grew!  Next post will be the quiz.🙂

Much love to you.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to let go because it’s time so that you can move on to other things in your creative life?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂

Giveaway #4; We have a winner!

Thank you to the two people who entered my April giveaway contest!

We have a winner!

The prize is this pretty keepsake photo pen:

photo pen.2

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used Random.org name picker and found out that the winner …

with this comment:

I agree with you that finding a pen is a problem at times. …  I am using jack Miner pot(cup size broken) to keep at my desk. Also I have one note books which has a place for a pen on one side as long as it is not too fat.

is

JANE!

I will get this into the mail to you soon, Jane.

To everyone who is interested in my giveaways, I’ve been watching for and setting aside fun things that have to do with reading and/or writing.  The May giveaway will be posted in a couple of weeks.  Stay tuned!

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!