Thursday, 20 May 2010

What's In A Name. . .?

Just what is in a name?

For those planners out there, you can sit and ponder for hours over the construction of a piece. You plan right down to the last detail, every twist, every turn, every surprise. You even plan your characters.

If your anything like me, you want to get to know your characters as much as you can. I like to know what drives my character. Delving into their psyche can help with that. I don’t mean you should put as much planning into your characters as you do with the plot. Sometimes that’s just not possible. Sometimes a character unfolds as you write, and it isn’t until the end that you realise who that person actually is, but knowing a little bit about them prior to writing, I find, helps.

But then everybody’s different. There’s no right way or wrong way to write a story. What one person finds easy could be completely impossible for another. It’s like art. Abstract artists paint some wonderfully bizarre pieces. They paint abstract because they are comfortable with that style and they like it, but tell them to paint scenery or a renaissance portrait and they probably couldn’t. It’s not that they can’t – you have to possess a certain amount of talent to put paintbrush to canvas – it’s just that they’re not comfortable painting that kind of picture, and it inevitably affects the end result.

I only need to know a small amount of my character’s psyche to be able to know what drives them. Take my more recent character, Blake, for example. He’s a cold person, and not many people in his town like him and tend to steer clear of him. But why is this? Why is he so cold? Well, looking into his past, his mother died during childbirth, and his stepmother also died when he was about 5. At that age he was old enough to understand the hurt that it caused him, and the torture it put his father through. From then he subconsciously became scared of letting anyone too close, fearing getting hurt again, and thus, making him cold and push people away from him. Just from this, you know Blake’s going to be a hard man, unsympathetic, uncaring, and the word `subtlety` doesn’t even enter his vocabulary.

Anyway, I’m rambling - but I'm a female and that's allowed. The `name` that I originally wanted to refer to wasn’t the name of a character. It was the name of this blog. WTF’s. What does that mean to you? “What the f…!”

Originally I started this blog so I could post the random (WTF) writings we do at our writers group, the North Herts Writers’ Circle. That was all. But, just like characters in stories, it’s taken on a life of it’s own, and no longer is it about random pieces. It’s evolved, it’s grown, as characters tend to do. So the title WTF’s, I feel, is no longer relevant. It’s time for a change – but subtle.

How about:

WTF’s – Writing Thrilling Fiction

Hmmm…any ideas??

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