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Good Vs. Evil Series: Naming the Hero

September 22, 2011 Leave a comment

There seems to be something odd happening when people read advice on naming main or minor characters. They take blog help and create names based on a character’s personality. That’s a number one “No, No!” Shame on you.

Here’s how it happens. Suddenly you feel inclined and “too” creative. Your fingers are wriggling, ready to attack your character’s profile page. You tap the pen first on your chin, then press it against that paper.

This is the name you’ve come up with:  Fawna Dreams.

While I had good nature and probably great ideas, let me tell you the reason I chose this name in the first place.

Fawna, is a steamy, middle-aged Asian woman who is hardworking and endures much of everything from marital struggles to life threatening health issues. As a protagonist, one of her obstacles happens to be breast cancer, in which she “dreams” to be relieved from.”

Image courtesy of ©2008-2011 ~so-hood-stock

If you still haven’t caught on yet.

FAWN, meaning to cower with difficulties or problems.

DREAM, meaning aspiration or goal. 

Don’t fret. It’s normal to work out ideas this way. Trust me, I do this all the time, but in the end it turns out cheesy and unrealistic. The character’s names are appearing as ones used in superhero comics, and this is , well, generic thinking. To avoid this, check out a baby name index like http://www.babynames.com it has thousands of starting points.

The one thing I do wanna point is that the good guy should obviously have a less frightening name. Something pleasant perhaps. Think in the area between powder puffs and urban basketball. (Hmm, what?) Yes, something nice but a little rough around the edge gives your good guy some “oomph”.

Great first names like Angeni, Galia, Taigi, or Coralia for a female.

Even names like Conor, Jun, Otto, or Clemens for a male.

Whatever the case, be creative and less clingy towards all or many of the characters personality traits. Besides, some names already have clear meanings.

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Good Vs. Evil Series: Being the Better Man

September 17, 2011 Leave a comment

If you want the most out of your novel, take the time to understand and plan a strong protagonist, antagonist, and supporting cast. What this means, is have your character intents, motives, and development rates at the front of your mind. Doing this will open a lot of creative approach for you, and even reduce those grungy instances of writer’s block as you begin.

You’ve heard it over and over, but I’ll say it again. A character can formulate or it can deteriorate, everything. You can have a really strong plot idea, but throw in the wrong set of characters, and bam. You just wasted the first few months on crappy dialogue and character development. Well, back to page one you go. (Ugh, that hurt.) But don’t worry; I’m here to set you in the right direction.

Let’s begin with the protagonist/main character who drives the story all the way to the bittersweet end. This character can be good or bad, tall or short. The most important thing that needs to happen here is that our readers follow the story through his point of view.

Try not to be so stereotypical with his appearance. There are no rules that state, the hero must be dashing, or excessively handsome. Give him some grunge, a bit of less-than-average feel. You’ll still have a winner. In this approach, you’re character stands out among other designs, and that will help you get a feel for your creative ability. On the plus side, your main character will be like nothing anyone has seen before, right?

A few questions to ask yourself:

What does my hero have that makes him “grand”?

This doesn’t necessarily have to be special abilities, but whatever the attribute, it should give him a descent upper hand. Think of it this way. All heroes have undeniable will power, courage, and love. Use that and take it a step above and out of the norm. Maybe give him a massive intellect or a duel personality. Remember, this will make him unique to the other characters, and opposing force to the bad guy.

Is he writable and if so will my readers enjoy him?

You should consider this above all other questions you may have when designing your protagonist, because the reader has to coexist with them through to the end. A likable protagonist is one who will be relate-able, lovable, and allow for an emotional connection.

Does he fit well with the setting and story?

Sometimes a character becomes out of place. He might be gallant, but a knight in a science laboratory seems far-fetched, right? Even if, make sure his elements mesh with the world around him. The reason the knight is in the lab might be understood with back story.

There are lots of examples and places to find research. Don’t always create story parts that can be better off more realistic. Enjoy yourself and be spontaneous. Designing this character is important, but should always be fun.