Progress Update: Week #7

This past week I have stayed away from writing. I felt I could use a break. There is some sort of creativity sink going on in my mind that I need to address. Instead I tried to do some plotting and outlining. Hopefully that will manifest itself in a far superior word count next week.

Victorian Horror: 5,207 words (+0)
Urban Supernatural: 8,806 words (±0)
Dystopian SciFi: 1,671 words (±0)
Urban Horror: 508 words (±0)
Epic Fantasy: 5,155 words (±0)
Post Apocalypse: 4,140 words (+1,562)

Total: 25,487 words (+1,562)

Progress Update: Week #6

As hinted in the previous post, this week has been abysmal in terms of writing. But I have come to a conclusion, namely to focus on one story. That story is my latest one, which started as more of an excercise to be honest. It is post apocalyptic with a touch of horror and supernatural. For some reason it really grabbed me, and I feel a real need to know how it ends. It is a discovery type story, meaning I have little to none outline. In fact, the only thing I started with was that its setting was post apocalypse, and the main character was an older man. Everything past that has been a discovery for me. Anyways, here are the numbers. Abysmal indeed.

Victorian Horror: 5,207 words (+0)
Urban Supernatural: 8,806 words (±0)
Dystopian SciFi: 1,671 words (±0)
Urban Horror: 508 words (±0)
Epic Fantasy: 5,155 words (±0)
Post Apocalypse: 2,578 words (+1,742)

Total: 23,925 words (+1,742)

The Sports Made Me Do It!

Much to my chagrin, it seems I have been sucked into a vortex of procrastination lately. Last couple of days I have been occupying myself with something very uncharacteristic: watching sports. Namely the World Athletics Championship in London. I am so not a sports guy, but sometimes I get caught up in these things. Not for the medal count, but simply for the strength and elegance of the contestants. Besides, being from Sweden, the medal count is always meager indeed. In a way I suppose this is simply a preemptive excuse for my abysmal word count progress this week. And with that being said, I better get at it. It is not Monday yet. Fingers to keyboard, silly Swede!

Progress Update: Week #5

This past week has seen very little writing. Almost embarrassingly so. I have been feeling a bit under the weather, sleeping like crazy on the oddest hours, and lacking in energy all day. Perhaps I am coming down with something. But it will pass soon enough, and then we will clamber back on that bucking horse of writing. I did manage to start a new story, though. I mean, we didn’t have enough of those already. It’s a post apocalypse story, but instead of the usual zombies or aliens causing the fall of civilization, this is more of an opening the gates of hell sort of deal. Didn’t write all that much, but it is the one story that takes the most of my imagination and planning at the moment. The numbers are quite abysmal, but we will regain the momentum before long, just you wait and see.

Victorian Horror: 5,207 words (+95)
Urban Supernatural: 8,806 words (±0)
Dystopian SciFi: 1,671 words (±0)
Urban Horror: 508 words (±0)
Epic Fantasy: 5,155 words (±0)
Post Apocalypse: 836 words (+836)

Total: 22,183 words (+931)

Name, Please!

What is in a name? In real life, not all that much to be honest. Out in the real world we get to see how people look, we get to form an opinion on how they behave. The way we view others are based on actual experience. Not so when it comes to fiction. No matter how detailed a description may be, it will never be as chock-full of information as reality. The amount of data we acquire just by looking at a face for a few seconds would be enough to fill a whole novel. So in the fictional world, a name can be an enhancer, it can add flavour to a character.

If you imagine a man named Jack and a man named Jake, the mental images will undoubtedly differ. A woman named Helen and a woman named Helena will conjure up two distinct faces. The differences may be huge or they may be tiny, but there are always differences, no matter how minute. This is of course due to our brain’s ability to remember specific traits in people, sometimes subconsciously, and to relate them to different names. If you meet enough people named John who are tall, you will imagine a tall man the next time you hear the name John. In short, brains are awesome at putting pictures to words. It is sort of a short-hand for the brain, where information is more quickly retrieved by using shortcuts. And that is something that can be used when naming your fictional character.

The problem there is that not everybody has the same mental images. For example, I see Jack as a burlier, gruffer person than Jake. Helen to me would be fairer, while Helena would be darker. No doubt these names generate different variations in the minds of others. But there are names that are generally similar in what image they produce. Jedidiah. I doubt anyone thought of a Seattle hipster when they heard that name. Arnold. No one imagined a scrawny little kid upon hearing that. Things like that can be useful when choosing names. Arthur or Oscar would be a more suitable name for an old country doctor than Ajax or Orion. Unless of course the discrepancy between the character and the image their name conjures up is what you are after. Bob wouldn’t normally be the most suitable name for an old wizened wizard, but it could be just the right fit for your story. Names sure are a tricky business.

Another thing that is important is to keep an internal logic in your story. If you write a story about viking-like characters all named Thorvald, Harald, and Grim, it is going to look really weird when a Jim suddenly pops up. Nothing wrong with Jim of course, but without a solid explanation for such an out-of-character name, much of the immersion will be shattered. We don’t all have to study linguistics like Tolkien to keep the names sounding real in the confines of the story, but some level of consistency is absolutely vital. Names that sound to come from wholly different cultures, or even times, are always an immersion breaker. And this applies not only to made up names in fantasy and science fiction, but also to contemporary stories. If you pick nothing but names from some list of obscure given names, that will also break the illusion. Not everyone can be named Blaze or Electra. Throw in a good old Dave or Lisa for good measure. More common names are nothing to be shunned.

Anyways, I think I have confused you, and myself, quite enough for one day. Now I am off to figure out what to do with Bob the Wizard, because that actually sounded like a pretty fun idea.

Quote Confusion

This is just a little quick correction. I have seen quite a few people completely misunderstanding this quote, and as the anal knit-picker I am, of course it has been bothering me way more than it should. Some seem to be under the impression that this quote is about characters taking on a life of their own in your stories, that they end up saying things you had no idea they would. That is of course not true at all. It is simply a quote about how the words spoken by a character is not necessarily reflecting the opinions of the author. It is as simple as that. You can consider this your PSA of the day.

Progress Update: Week #4

I recently realised that I have been posting my weekly progress updates on the wrong day, technically speaking. They have all been posted some time after midnight, making each update’s time stamp Tuesday, and not Monday as intended. This of course makes no real difference, but all the same it is one of those little things that always tend to bother me. So from now on I will try to post these before midnight, thereby avoiding any such future glaring eyesores. So how was this week’s writing then? Not too shabby if I say so myself. As a slow and meticulous writer, these numbers are about as good as I can hope for.

Victorian Horror: 5,112 words (+379 words)
Urban Supernatural: 8,806 words (+3,807 words)
Dystopian SciFi: 1,671 words (±0)
Urban Horror: 508 words (+251 words)
Epic Fantasy: 5,155 words (+2,046 words)

Total: 21,252 words (+6,483 words)