Wednesday, May 16, 2012

05/16/2012 Writing Wednesday!

Welcome back everyone! I hope your week so far as seen you well. Mine has been spent trying not to melt as the weather gets warmer. Living in the top floor apartment has the disadvantage that is 'Good luck keeping cool!' which is not exactly enjoyable.

Today I have a couple mini-topics that are kind of like refreshers, but at the same time they are important enough to be repeated a little. The first is going to be a reminder to do your research. This goes for pretty much everything from writing an article to a full-blown novel. Especially if you're putting the up on the Internet, since the Internet is a place full of frightening individuals that will stop at nothing to find any weakness and tear you down. If you don't believe me to go any forum or comments thread about any specific item, topic, or other such thing and you will find them. Sure there are some that will give the polite comment with the correct information, and this message isn't to protect you from them specifically, but it's more the people that will say hurtful things because they are so proud they found a mistake. I don't want to let anyone go through that, and I just wanted to stress the importance of making sure your information is correct so they don't see something to go after in your work.

My 'for real' topic for today was going to be talking about character names. I've mentioned this before, but I wanted to bring it up again because of just how important the names of people are in stories. Now if you are writing a satire or comedy study having a ridiculous name is just fine, and I'm not necessarily talking about those genres. The ones I'm looking at today are ones that show the character is a blatant Mary Sue.

For those that might not know, a Mary Sue character is one that is special in all ways, everyone loves them (or sometimes everyone hates them, but at the same time they have a group where everyone loves them more), and are usually a method for the author to make the story about themselves. Now in defense of what I'm likely about to hear; it's impossible to write something about a character without putting some aspects of yourself into them. I completely understand that, and it's not what I'm talking about.

One way to avoid this is to give your character a name that sounds like a normal person. There was an article on that mentioned naming your characters (and love interests) and some of those are just pure gold. However if you are trying to avoid making your character look like they were plucked out of the river of special-awesome, please try to give them a name that seem remotely normal. Not to say all characters need to be named Sarah, Mary, John, or Michael Smith, but something like Lilith Deamonsbane is kind of a give away.

Also, another thing that is not targeted by this post are characters with assumed names. If their name is different/special and there is a reason behind it, such as they're protecting the people they love from bad things learning who they actually are, that's perfectly fine. It's an understandable thing that someone would do in order to keep someone safe. Also not being mentioned here are characters in the Superhero subgenre or the faerie. Those names are SUPPOSED to be a little different because on one hand you have someone who is likely trying to do the thing where people (and themselves) are safe from retaliation, and on the other you have creatures that are pure magic and somewhat crazy. Again I'm bringing this up because having your main character be named Elvira Lovecrest and they are just an average high school student doesn't make it like they're very 'average' at all.

I'm sorry about the mini-rant, I don't usually do that, but seriously. Please PLEASE stay away from Mary Sue characters. That's all I ask. Well...that's not true, I also ask that you go check out 'The Light Rises' for $1 when you use coupon AW99C. That would make me a happy person. I'll see everyone back here on Friday!

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