Previously I blogged about my efforts in coming up with fictional surnames for the characters in my historical fiction WIP.
These names had to be Anglo-Norman in origin, and involved me increasing my French vocabulary, researching Norman toponymy, and a ton of trial and error to create nice-looking names.
Previously, I answered a question from my good friend, Lydia. But there was a second question that she put before me:
How do you come up with interesting character names in your work?
Back in February (on the 12th, the 10th, who even really knows?), I had my 10th writing birthday.
A writing birthday is something I commemorate to mark the day I decided to take a professional attitude toward my writing, in pursuit of eventual publication.
To my knowledge, the writing birthday is something I invented. I’m not 100% clear on the actual date, but most years observe it on February 12.
I overwrite everything.
For a long time, this has been my way in every form of writing that I do, from emails to work memos, from “short” stories to “short” novels.
My right knee was covered in road rash. My left thigh is still sporting a huge, multi-hued bruise.
(When a bruise actually shows up on a black person, you know it must be bad.)
Anyone who’s read my blog for while knows that I ride my bicycle a lot.
I’m a cycle-commuter – I ride 8km roundtrip to work every day, as well as on various errands and social outings in and around Vancouver, where I live. With the proper outer layers, Vancouver weather is rideable 95% of the year.
How the hell did “write what you know become” the most opt-repeated piece of writing advice anyway?
Maybe it’s because it’s the first advice many of us ever received. Certainly it seems like it should be beginner advice.
I can see it perfectly: a student of sixteen or seventeen hunched over his/her desk at school, pencil in hand poised above a sheet of three-hole-punched, lined loose leaf.
(Am I totally dating myself with this memory in longhand? Do high school students even write by hand in school anymore? The pencil in this vision isn’t even mechanical).