Your Writing Cave or Anothers?

Life has been doing that crazy thing again where I have no time to breathe. And along with some changes, I’ve also made some discoveries. Like when I went to try and do my writing elsewhere, I found that I was more attached to my own writing cave than I thought.

Now, I’ve heard that others had trouble writing somewhere that wasn’t the norm. And, admittedly, I probably thought this would never affect me. After all, I was taking my laptop. I had all the usual files. I’d just find a quiet place and have no problem, right?

Yes, I can hear your quiet chuckles from here.

Things didn’t go so well. I knew I was a creature of habit, but I didn’t know I was quite so much a creature of habitat.

But, I have a plan, mostly because I hate to lose. My new plan: try again, but this time, try and replace some of the usual cues I use at home when things aren’t going well. Namely: headphones and music, to try and shut out the rest of the world, quiet part of my brain, and get on with the work, for goodness sake!

I shall report back if this helps or not.

What about you? Are you able to work easily no matter where you are? Have you adapted to working in different environments come what may? If so, how’d you do it?

Thanks for reading, and have a great week out there. πŸ™‚

All that’s in a Name?

 (Photo by me.)
(Photo by me.)

Yesterday, volunteering at the kidlet’s playschool, I was struck by the significance of names, which of course is probably in large part because I’m a writer and I think about that sort of thing.

Yet how could you not think of this when children with “stronger” or more forceful names tended to be the ones with stronger, more forceful personalities (aka: also the ones who aren’t quite as good at listening or playing nice; the kidlet falls into this category.) The ones with “quieter” names were likewise shy, quieter children.

Some of these connotations we associate with names has to do with our own personal experiences, certainly. But could it be that there’s some truth that a “Jennifer” is, well, a Jennifer? What about a name like Steven or Charlie? How often have you met a rather shy and reserved Matthew?* What makes us like some names and dislike others?

As writers, like parents, we give our characters names, and there is something chicken-and-egg about the scenario. If we give the character (or child) a softer, milder “type” of name, does that mean we expect and will create a softer, milder kind of character to match it? Does being called by that name start to squish and squash them until they suit the name?

When the kidlet was born, I had a hard time figuring out what to name her – she was an yet “unformed” creature to me. I’d hardly met her to know her personality. Characters, on the other hand, are different, since often before they even have a name, I’ve got a good idea about “who” they are, and will become.

Yet we must also be at least aware that our readers are going to bring to the reading experience different connotations that go with a name. In the book-that-won’t-die (and that I’m rewriting. Again. Sigh) my protagonist’s name is Logan. And you would not believe how many people are convinced he has dark hair (although in the book, he does not.) This is related to the connotations associated with the name, especially with a certain Wolverine character played most yummily by Hugh Jackman – with dark hair.

Now, by saying we should be at least aware of our reader’s preconceptions and connotations related to names (and story altogether), that is not to say I think we should follow type. After all, for every quiet, reserved Matthew, perhaps there is one out there who doesn’t suit his name, who is rambunctious, the life of the party. Does this mean he’s misnamed … or perhaps just that a person has their own personality regardless of their name?

Now it’s your turn to leave a comment. So what do you think? Do you have connotations associated with names? How do you approach them? Or am I the only one obsessed watching the playschool kids act out their named personalities? πŸ˜‰

*Do note, none of these are actual names of students.

Thanks for reading. Have a great week, happy writing, and see you next week.

How Many Revisions Is “Enough?”

Yet again, I must apologize for my tardiness in posting. Last week was the long weekend, so no entry for the Monday, and with Monday’s now becoming loco-manic-days, I may switch to Tuesdays. πŸ˜‰

Anyway, as I’ve gotten back a great beta read on a WIP that I’ve revised more times than I care to consider, it has me thinking: how many revisions is enough? When do you call it quits or just move on?

InΒ  my case, I was pretty sure I’d reached that number. That if this book still wasn’t ready to move and wasn’t at a point it needed to be, that was that and I’d bury it in a computer file, forget about it for some time. (Okay, one of the options I considered was also printing it off just so I could burn it, but I despite how wasteful that’d be.)

Then I got this beta read. Details, salient points I agreed with, but which really made concrete where and how it needed to be fixed where previously most suggestions had been too vague. And suddenly I could once more “see” the book I’d dreamed of, consider new possibilities. And even more? The characters are talking to me again, whispering their own suggestions for how this story can finally become what it was always meant to be.

So how many revisions does that make? As many as it takes. Just so long as you’re still willing.

It would be impossible for me to go back to this book without this new injection of enthusiasm – something I thought I’d never find for it again. And lo and behold, there it is. I still love this story. I still think there’s something I can fix, a way I can help my characters “live” their life and achieve their happily ever after. So know what I’m going to do? Tear it apart, and start writing again. Which is where I’m off to now.

What about you? How many revisions do you think it needs? What have your experiences been?

Thanks for reading, and wishing you a great reading week. πŸ™‚