What’s in a Name?

As someone who has gone through her own share of name changes (Kimberly to Kim to Kaye/K), I am a firm believer in names reflecting personality, especially when it comes to fictional characters.

I just can’t help but feel that a Sarah is going to behave differently from an Yvonne or a Morgan when put into the same situations (stereotyping? Maybe, although I’d like to think there’s more to it than that).

And yet, here I am more than 2/3 of the way through the first revision of my Adult Urban Fantasy WiP, and I still haven’t nailed down my main character’s name.

I think I’ve changed her name about four times already during this revision, including swapping it for another character’s name (which I do not recommend, as it’s going to make final edits ridiculous since I can’t find & replace 2-letter nicknames as well as I can full names.)

I swear I’ve had more trouble naming her than I had naming my kids (and that required huge fights compromising with my husband).

But as much as I’ve tried to push through with my revision despite it, the wrong name is constantly rubbing against me like an ill-fitting shoe. Which is maybe part of the reason this revision has been so hard to write.

I’m still plugging away at the manuscript, though. And about once a week I break down and check out baby name websites, hoping for a sudden inspiration (leading to an interesting array of online ads…sigh.)

Hopefully I’ll figure it out soon, and things will magically click into place, making writing a breeze (let me dream).

Question for my fellow writers: have you ever had trouble naming a character? How did you figure it out? Or are you the kind of person who can surge forward using a placeholder and not stress about the details until later?

Let me know in the comments.



The Joys of Parenting


Ever wish you could rewind time and start a week over?

The last seven days have been horrendous here, although weirdly, my fibro hasn’t been too bad, which is simultaneously good (I can’t imagine how this week would have gone if I’d been in immense pain on top of everything), bad (what a waste of a good health week), and surprising (considering how much junk food I’ve eaten just to get through).

One of my kids has lice (why yes, it is the one with the longest, thickest, curliest hair, how did you guess?) which has meant a crap-ton of work for me. At this point I’ve spent more than 8 hours combing/nit-picking his hair (with more to come today)! Plus another 2 just applying the treatments, and at least 2 more checking my other kids for signs of infestation.

And I couldn’t even tell you how much time I’ve spent doing laundry and vacuuming (but it’s a lot).

Plus we have the boys’ birthday party this weekend, so I still have to deal with the cake, etc. for that (I am soooo glad we chose to have their party at another location this year).

Anyway, if you want to have a laugh at my expense, check out my tweet-thread from the start of this awful week (the day before finding the lice).

If you need me, I’ll be sobbing into a dish of ice cream, while waiting for my drier to finish.

April Check-In

I feel like I write this every month, but how has time flown by so quickly? A third of the year has already gone by! How?

Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, time to actually, you know, do what the title of my post says and check-in.

It’s been another hard month, health-wise. My first attempt at diet modification to control my fibromyalgia was…well, not the miracle cure I had hoped for. I’ve just moved on to trying out the anti-inflammation diet, which I’m hoping will have better results (keep your fingers crossed for me).

But my health is not the only thing that’s been keeping me from working on my WiP.

Hubs and I did some number crunching this month, and while his income is certainly enough for us to live on, we’ve realized life would be much more comfortable if I was contributing financially as well (especially since we’re realizing how much more expensive kids get as they age, what with their need for larger amounts of food, and costs of tuition, etc). And, since, book contacts don’t exactly grow on trees, that means I’ve been spending a large amount of time searching for paying gigs.

Which is easier said than done.

My chronic illness means I’m limited to looking for jobs that I can actually do (you know, without having to call in sick all the time). So far I’ve been restricting myself to part-time, remote (aka work from home), writing-related opportunities, and I’m not having much luck.

The ones I’ve found so far seem to come in three flavors:

  1. Morally squicky – eg. the cookbook-writer posting seeking writers to “rewrite existing recipes so they’ll pass a plagiarism filter” – Sure, the job pays well enough, but I’m not going to help someone rip off other authors.
  2. Severely underpaying – eg. the job captioning videos that (according to my math) would pay somewhere between $2 – $6/hr, depending on how quickly I can work.
  3. I’m underqualified – eg. the numerous listing that require a degree in journalism and/or a minimum of four years experience as a paid journalist.

I’m not giving up on the search, but I’m pretty discouraged.

Which is why I signed up for Patreon and joined the long history of writers and artists who relied on patronage to get sustain their creative pursuits. The nice thing about the site is that patrons get something for their investments (in my case, photos, geeky goodness, and original short stories, depending on the level of support – which can be as small as the low, low, bargain price of $1/month).

I’ll be honest, I don’t expect to make much from this, but I figure every little bit helps. Plus, it gives me an incentive (and deadlines) to keep creating new work, and keep expanding my boundaries.

As far as the rest of my writing life goes, I did get some writing done, adding another 8,000 words to my Adult Urban Fantasy WiP (only 14,000 more to go!), and slowly but surely progressing through this round of edits.

Right, time for my March Reading Stats:

  • MG Fantasy (1)
  • YA Fantasy (1)
  • A Urban Fantasy (6)
  • A Mystery (6)
  • A NF (1)
  • DNF (1)
  • Re-Read (1)

March Total: 15 (+ 1 Re-Read)

Year-to-Date: 56 (+22 Re-Reads)