Sunday, May 24, 2009

A list of confusing nuisances in writing:

1. Birthdays.
The characters have to have been born sometime, and when you have brothers and sisters about a year apart, it's hard to figure out when they could have been born. It's even more confusing when you have a large number of characters the same age, and you're trying to figure out which year they were born. In your imaginary world too, where the current time is 3009 instead of 2009. It's very confusing. It might not sound like it, but it is.

2. Ages in general.
This is annoying when you need one character to be a particular age, and to tell the story the way you want, you have to adjust the other characters' ages to suit. (No, writers can't just 'fix' this. My characters tell it like it is. Or rather, they gave tantalizing hints and let me do all the messy figuring.)

3. Science Fiction Elements.
I love these. I really do. But they have to make sense.

4. Fantasy elements.
These have to work with the science fiction elements as much as the science fiction elements have to work with them.

5. Negligent Outlining.
If you don't outline carefully, you'll find yourself writing a character ahead a week while leaving the other characters behind. That doesn't work well at all. This has led me to extensive outlining so I know how to rewrite when the time comes.

6. Character details.
I've realized that I don't know my characters as well as I should. There are probably a thousand things about each of them that I don't know. I was having a conversation with one of them a while ago and found out something very interesting that could even alter the story!

7. Last names
Who else finds it difficult to think of last names for their characters? It's hard! I usually just grab one in passing, from the television screen, from people I've heard about, maybe even from people I've met...well, I'm not sure if I've done that, but if I haven't yet I may.

I love every bit of this, of course. Nuisances or not, it's all part of the big, beautiful writing picture, and I love it. I love writing! Just think of all the things I've got to discover about the characters, how many hours I'll puzzle over how to make the science fiction bits work with the fantasy, and how much of that I'll never even use. It's great, isn't it?

I am now going to go get ready for bed and watch Star Trek. I should put this up as a facebook status, but I'm kind of forcing myself not to do those because I try not to do a lot of twitter and texting, I think that it's overrated. :D No offense. Just not my bar of chocolate.



cpsk said...

I agree with everything you said. As far as last names go, I figure out the ethnicities of my character, then look up names specific to that ethnicity. And then if I find one I like, I either use it, or tweak it so it sounds similar but not so specifically belonging to one area of the world.

But it's ridiculously hard to make a name sound 'real', isn't it? Maybe that's why I tend to stick to fantasy and such where I can invent my own.

Mythopoeia said...

Oops, that was Mythopoeia, by the way. One of my siblings hadn't logged-off and so I think my last comment was posted under a different name. Sorry about that!

Anna said...

Haha, thanks! Yes, Last names are hard. None of mine are very brilliant, I don't think, but they're so familiar and have melded themselves to each character by now that they work fine. A lot of times for last names, I'll just play with them in my head for a few minutes and try them out with the first name.