Posts Tagged ‘procrastination’

Well, it’s not the names that have problems. It’s more like that I have a lot of problems with names. I’ve talked a lot about names in my previous posts, but I decided to dedicate an entire post about them. Simply put, I’m not very good at making up names. This is especially a problem for me who writes epic fantasy, and has to make up exotic names. (I’m always hesitant about naming mythical creatures modern names like Jimmy, Jake, etc.)

As such, I generally change the names in my books often. I’ve told this story many times, but I’ll tell it again. In the Line of Corruption, I started the story with the names: Ryder and Simon. Those were the names of the two main characters. I was okay with them, but when I hit the 10k mark, I stopped and thought: “No… Definitely not a Ryder or a Simon.”

So, I asked my sister for random names, and I took them. They ended up becoming Ambrose and Larik. For one of the other characters, I translated a word into Latin, and used it. I’ve actually forgotten what it means, and I’m rather afraid it might ruin the image that I’ve made up for the character, looking back on it. But yes, that is how I ended up with Esurien. Now, the problem here is that I sometimes need to make up names on the spot. They end up being stereotypical, or too weird. So, the word replacement option on Word and Scrivener is a godsend for someone like me who can’t make up names properly. The reason I bring this up is because I want to know how other writers go about this. I read a topic awhile back about the names of a writer’s characters, and a lot of the other writers mention being attached to a name. Once they change the name, the character changes. So, I am curious to know if this is the same for anyone else, or are they like me. I’m sure I probably wouldn’t have been able to change their names past the 10k mark, since I definitely would have gotten attached. However, does anyone else struggle with names? Does anyone else look at a name of a central character, and think: “This name is so bad that I actually want to turn him into a villain now.”

Here’s a perfect example of how bad I am with names. For a religious figure in my book, I couldn’t think up of a name… so I just called him the Believer. It ended up actually working, but it could have been disastrous. In fact, it could still be disastrous, and I’m simply blind to it. (Lots of italics today, I know.)

So, yes, here’s my question for all of you cool writers: Are names integral to how you write a character, or are they merely dispensable? Another followup question: Are you actually good at making up exotic names?

Now I’m going to move unto the next topic. Titles. I think my problem with titles is much bigger. In comparison, I probably come up with titles a lot easier, however, my thoughts on them are very different. I’m okay with changing names willy nilly. But, when I start a story without a title, that’s practically all I think about. I reread what I’d just written, and while I do that, I see a phrase and think: “Huh. Wonder if I should make THAT the title… or THAT.”

So, before I actually wrote the Line of Corruption, I sat for an entire hour, and thought about the title. The basic outline I had for the story was this: This chosen one kills a lot of people, and is condemned as a villain. His legacy is passed unto a mercenary.

At some point, I actually thought the title should be, ‘The Chosen One that has a mercenary as a successor… Oh, he’s also dead. But because of magic… It’s a long story.’

A bit exaggerated, perhaps, but it really isn’t very far off from the truth. For Radio Silence, I came up with the title when I was thinking about submitting it to Jukepop Serials. The reason why I was able to live with it not having a title is because I planned on it being a story written for fun. I’d just finished writing Line of Corruption, and I wanted to write something for no reason. Just took an idea and jumped off a cliff with it, basically.

So, I’m going to tell you how I came up with the Line of Corruption, as well as Radio Silence.

For Line of Corruption, I planned the Prologue out in my head. You see, the character Larik decides that being the Chosen One is really awful. And in order to atone for many of his sins, he passes on his consciousness unto his successor right before he is killed.

 I will be passed unto his or her consciousness, to never let this person cross the line such as I did. I will safeguard this person’s abilities until I see that this person – the wielder of my power – will be turned away from evil, and from corruption.

Direct quotation from the Prologue of my book. That’s Larik’s final journal entry before he is killed. A lot of people have asked me why I made him seem so strict in his journal, even though he’s actually a sarcastic guy that likes to play mind games on Ambrose. It gives me great satisfaction not to reveal to them the reason why. ( Hehe.)

Anyways, as I thought of the last line, I thought: “Hmm. What about Dangers of Evil and Corruption? Sounds like… No… What about the Line? Sounds like a Richard Bachman novel… Line of Corruption. Doesn’t sound too good, but I’ll just make it the temporary title.”

Well, needless to say, I got attached to that title. But yes, that’s how I came up with the Line of Corruption. How I came up with Radio Silence is most likely a lot simpler. The thing about Radio Silence is that people are getting possessed. The only way the sheriff knows they’re possessed (aside from the whole attempted murder thing) is that stereos or radios suddenly begin to play a song.

So, a lot of the beginning is spent praying for the radio to be silent. Unfortunately for the main character, I’m not so merciful as to leave it completely silent. (insert evil laugh here)

Hence, Radio Silence came to be. I like it because it’s ironic, and there’s actually a line in the story where Gordon says it. (Although, it’s not really said in the same order. You’ll see.)

How do you guys and gals feel about titles? Can you start a story without them? If you can, do you obsessively try to come up with a new title every waking second? Tell me about it in the comments. Hope you like, follow, and comment. Hopefully, all three. Thanks for reading.

~J.A. Romano

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Greatest reason to procrastinate

In all honesty, the picture above is really quite appealing to me right now. But, I don’t think I’ll make a lot of progress into my career as a writer if I always look to that picture for advice. So, the story today is how to avoid procrastinating.

I have to say, procrastinating is one of the most enjoyable things to do. I’m not even exaggerating here. You can do lots of things when you’re not writing. The problem is when you do so much other stuff that you don’t actually write. At all. This happens to me quite often, but I normally catch myself procrastinating before the day is over. I always feel like I have two personalities. There’s the one that wants to write, and then there’s the one that wants to watch Tv. I like the latter persona a lot more, to be honest. It’s not that writing cannot be fun, but you reach a certain point where you just want to stop looking at a blank page. And start looking at the antics of the cast of the Big Bang Theory, or see what Walt and Jesse do next. (By the way, go watch Breaking Bad right now, if you haven’t.)

But, at the end of the day, after a hard war has been fought, the annoying personality wins. Ugh! You see, my philosophy is that there doesn’t need to be a purpose to do anything, but having a purpose to do anything is a lot more fun. Super fun. My first book, Xenon Bane… While it wasn’t good, I did finish it. I worked on it for a year, and I finished it. I loved it like it was a part of myself, and now I hate it like it’s a mistake I made in the past. But, I did learn one thing about procrastination while working on it so many years ago. (Uh, Jian, that was four years ago…)

Pick a goal, stick to it, and let your brain and hands do the rest for you. For example, in my juvenile mind, I imagined defeating this author, Christopher Paolini. You see, Christopher Paolini wrote his book at the age of fifteen, but I didn’t really like Eragon. So, my goal was to write a better book ( from my PoV and taste, of course ) and do it before the age of fifteen. I finished my first book at eleven, started another book, and got to a hundred pages before moving unto my next work. The third story I started has to be my favorite. The City of Crime ( my second work ) was my take on Asian gangsters. But my third book, the Line of Corruption, was my take on fantasy and life as a whole. However, at the middle of the book, I started procrastinating. A lot. As in, I stopped writing for about four months. Didn’t do anything in that entire four months. It wasn’t like I was busy with school, even. I just didn’t write.

And when I finally came back, I’d forgotten the plot, and even the purpose of my characters. It was terrible, really. I then realized that I needed a new goal. After Xenon Bane, my original goal had been accomplished. It was done. Yet, when I thought about it, I did not write a better book than Eragon. A devious grin appeared on my face as I realized that my original goal could still be utilized, and I worked incredibly hard on my book until I was satisfied with it. That’s how I knew when I was past the original goal. When I finished my book, waited a few months, and I still looked at it fondly. With Xenon Bane, I was fond of it when I was finished it, but three months later, I never wanted to see it again.

So, Christopher Paolini, I owe you a lot. You literally got me to write my first two books. Also, interesting fact. At the time, I thought Paolini wrote Eragon at the age of fourteen, even though he actually wrote it at fifteen. So, when I was thirteen, I felt like the clock was ticking. So, I have never written as much as I did when I thought I would not be able to achieve my goal. Then I found out that I had another year. I literally finished my book a few weeks before turning fourteen. In all honesty, I would’ve liked to finish it about a second before midnight on my birthday. That would have been very dramatic, and I am pretty sure there would be a movie based on my story, if so.

What I wanted to say is: Find a goal, stick to it, and yeah. That’s how I avoid procrastinating too badly, and get to writing. I’m not saying you do the same as me, and have a “battle” with an author that doesn’t know you exist, of course. That works for me, and it may not work for you. I suggest you find a goal that suits you and do that. Whether your goal is: “I will finish this and rub it into the face of my English teacher who said I was horrible at writing,” or, “I will finish this to get rich and get my own mansion.”

Like I said, whatever works for you. All I know is that my old goal worked for me. Right now, my goal for writing is to get published and to take it from there. Although, my overall goal is for ten people that aren’t really close friends or relatives to read my book and like it. That would be, quite simply, great. Now, I’m going to write the third chapter of my story, Radio Silence. I’ll see you next time.

P.S: I really enjoyed writing this post. I didn’t actually find that picture myself, and it was actually forwarded to me as a suggestion. I like talking about my process a lot (as you’ve all noticed from my dreadfully long ramblings), and I really love it when people Like and Comment and Follow. I’d really appreciate if you did all three. Thanks to everyone that liked my last post and then followed and then commented. That was pretty great of everyone. Thanks again!

~J.A. Romano