A Rose by any other name

A Rose by any other name

I originally posted this on my other site, however, since it got hacked, now is a good time to post it again 🙂

I was on twitter the other night, chatting about character names with another writer. She had a very, what seemed to me, strong, powerful name for her FMC. It was a 1 syllable First Name with a 1 Syllabled Surname. She was also considering changing the surname to a 2 syllable one.

To me, the new name flowed better. A softer edge to a hard exterior, which is what my friend was aiming for.

The resulting conversation got me thinking about, how we perceive names and people without ever seeing them. And I conducted a little test 🙂

The names I use on a regular basis are:

Boys: Alex, Kristobel, Nathaniel
Girls: Aria & Paige.

For me, Alex is Blond, blue eyed. Kristobel and Nathaniel are both Tall, Dark & Handsome. Nathaniel with a bit for of a sense of humour.
Aria, my feisty red-haired & Paige, the girly sidekick.

For my friend: Alex is Tall, Dark & Handsome, Nathaniel is either Tall, thin, cute and geeky or incredibly creepy, Kristobel – a princess (she thought this spelling was feminine and Christobel more masculine).
Aria – soft love interest
Paige – Red haired

Even as writers it appears we are not immune to preconceived ideas and judgements based on people we meet with those names. It can also work in reverse when you create a character then meet the person in Real Life.

Growing up I fell in love with the name Rainier & more specifically Prince Rainier of Monaco and Princess Grace. The name Rainier making a number of appearances as my MC’s. Including in StarDancer.

When my son was born, we named him Rainier (my writing may have influenced my husband’s acceptance of the name). It was about that time I picked up StarDancer which had been sitting in the Chapter 10 doldrums for a few years and started writing again.

I dusted Rainier off and rewrote the chapters, coming across his enemy Koltan.

My son started daycare/kindy when he was 1, and about 6 months in, he made a new friend. They were the best of buddy’s and did everything together. His name… Koltan spelt exactly the same way as my character.

I remember sitting on the floor with both of them crawling all over me thinking “You can’t be Koltan… you’re too sweet to be Koltan” (My Koltan is a Bounty Hunter and definitely not sweet).

It took a couple of years before I stopped seeing him as that … and it the meantime, Story Koltan took on a life of his own and changed slightly, becoming less obnoxious and developing his own personality.

A recent resurrection of a story resulted in me dusting off the name Westley.  After a few days of misspelling the name as Wesley, I remembered by I had chosen Westley and his subsequent nicknames… 10 points to which ever house you support if you can pick both references :).  Again another set of names with preconceived ideas, which suit the character I’ve created.

J.J Green asked a question on Facebook recently, asking for ideas on her name for her character.  The responses given were interesting, to say the least, and started an interesting facebook debate, along the same lines as this blog.  Even published authors are not immune to the preconceptions we all have.

Advertisements

The Evolution of the Dancer Series

The Evolution of the Dancer Series

I was playing hashtag games on Twitter, and a few months ago the theme for #1linewed  for the week was ALONE.  I posted a line about Star and his crystal

I am not alone. Star whispered. The lapis lazuli crystal with the heart of amethyst that lay in his hand was proof of that.

One of my readers posted that they loved the idea of the crystals, which got me thinking about when I first started this journey.

The story of StarDancer is over 20 years old… o.k its officially 27 years old. While the story itself has changed over the years and developed into a more coherent, flowing and expanding story, the core ideas I had way back when haven’t.  A comment was made that it would be interesting to see how the story has permutated and evolved over the intervening years/decades.

I still have my handwritten ideas stored away.  The writing is terrible (think 16-year-old angsty teenager terrible… it will never ever see the light of day LOL).  I went digging and so for @elusivestory, & @awheelerauthor here’s how the world of Stardancer began.

  • A doodle of 6 planets and a wayward wormhole
  • A boy with blond and blue hair overlooking a destroyed city, with a Raven haired girl with flame red tips beside/overlaying him. (Twins)
  • Twins would dress up as the other one to mess with people
  • Black Panther …
  • The residents of the planets have crystals embedded in their breastbones.  When you find your soul mate they break in half and can be fused together creating a soulbond.
  • An evil force capturing races to create the ultimate fighting force.  Destroying those that aren’t compatible.
  • Discovering the wormhole leads back to the Milky Way.
  • Finding out that’s where the bad guys come from
  • Destroying Earth

 

Not really much of story   but the ideas have stuck around for nearly 30 years and have evolved into something I can use and hopefully people will enjoy.

 

    • The universe now consists of 160 planets and I have a governmental/Military force in play
    • The 6 original planets are now called: Crystal (crystalline sky), Quiena-Mara (Rose Pink Sky), Erondarth (Lilac Sky), Phiarsep (Sapphire Blue Sky), Tolgas (Deep Purple/Amethyst Sky), Maldeer (Emerald Sky)
    • The blond/blue hair boy is now an adult.. and has been running from his past for decades
    • The Twins shapeshift… and there is a scientific reason behind it (Sorry it’s vague… but this is a major plot twist LOL)
    • Twins shift into Snow White Lynx, and Black Panther.
    • The crystals have remained as I imagined them originally, apart from the addition of a different coloured heart when you find your soulmate J.  Star’s crystal was lapis Lazuli… until he met Krystal, which is when it gained an amethyst spike up the middle.  Krystals’ crystal is Amethyst with a heart of Lapis Lazuli.  My favourite crystal at the moment is Shallone’s and Devons.  Malachite and Star Ruby
    • The crystals were gained in book one when Star and Shallone’s ultimate ancestor discovered the planet’s heart crystal and I have recently discovered the purpose of the crystals
    • The wormhole still leads back to Earth, and the bad guys still come from there.  But their mission has altered slightly as has the motivation of my two Antags.
    • Earth needs to be destroyed, but it also holds the answers to free Star and Shallone.

 

Way back when I started this journey, it was only 1 book and a half thought out dusty storyline.  Now, 6 books in the making (plus a badly written fan fic – which is probably another blog post all of its own), a galaxy that keeps expanding everything I turn around, characters that haunt me in my sleep, make me laugh and cry and a large group of readers that want me to hurry up and finish this… which I intend to do … eventually.

I love what this story has evolved into and can’t wait to see what other ideas are added and changed as the journey continues.

Changes are a foot

Changes are a foot

Thank you for bearing with me over the last few months.  I can’t believe it’s nearly May… where is the year disappearing to.

Here’s what I’ve been working on since December (really … my last post was in December?? Oops).

  • Creating a new website combining my writing and my Aromatherapy/massage.  I was struggling to keep both websites updated, so decided that combining them would be a good idea …  The site is still under construction, but I’m hoping to have it up and running by the end of May.
  • STARDANCER – I’ve completed 16 chapters and trying to work on writing 2 a month.  I recently compiled my manuscript.  and ended up with a whopping 93,000 words.  I also managed to solve a few plot hole… and worked out who my main Antagonist is.  watch this space.
  • EARTHDANCER – progress is going slowly on this one.  I’ve finished the prologue, now I just need to start writing the chapters.
  • I’m also in the process of planning out WINDDANCER, WARDANCER & SUNDANCER.  and one of my readers is demanding to know Shallone’s story… so FLAMEDANCER is in the works as well
  • I also managed to win CampNANO :).  I set a target of writing 10k in the month.  Currently sitting on just under 12K.  so happy with my progress and I’ll definitely be signing up for the next one.

So there we go… it has been a busy few months 🙂

I will try and post a bit more regularly and keep you all updated on the status of the new website.

Merry Christmas from Vlentary

Merry Christmas from Vlentary

It’s starting to feel a lot like Christmas :).

The heat is oppressive, the real life job workload has quadrupled in the last three weeks, there’s tinsel on the floor and it’s a never ending job to keep the cat out of the tree.

But I wouldn’t change it for the world.

So, It’s a Merry Christmas from me, Merry Tuile from Star, Krystal, Shallone and Devon, and a Happy Fyayian Fire Festival from Koltan and Calliope.

Thank you for buckling up and joining me on this epic journey.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride so far and I hope to see you all again in the New Year.

Done and Dusted … for another year

Done and Dusted … for another year

So that’s November over for another year.  As I emerge from the depths of my study and stare at the strange sight hanging in the sky (I think its call the sun) and come off a caffeine high of epic proportions, I can proudly say I’m happy with what I achieved during the month.

No I didn’t win NANO, but, I finished with 41887 words written, and given my previous years efforts, I think that’s pretty good :D.

Over the last 4 years, my words written have increased.  9k, 12k, 27k and now 41k.  Next year I might actually win.

I now also have a plan of where this series is going, (Thanks to Jennifer Blanchard Williams ) and I have a 20k word prologue for EarthDancer.

During the November I met a number of new characters, some made me laugh, a couple made me cry and I learnt more about Vlentary.

I also discovered, I have a scene that appears in the Prologue, that appears in StarDancer as well… now I just need to remember to add it into the rest of the series.