Naming Novel Characters & Editing

In November, I wrote 50,000 words of a novel, that I’ve titled A Thousand Years. The novel needs another 30,000-ish more words but I’m still proud of myself for getting out the first 50,000 in 30 days. Here on my blog, I’ve shared some short fiction or vignettes from the novel here. These little bits & pieces will appear in the novel as reflections or letters, that my protagonist writes to her long lost love. Now that I’ve written the bulk of the novel, I’ve had to take some steps back and work on naming novel characters and editing.

I’ve written a novel and parts of others, but this has been a unique experience from the beginning. Not only have I struggled with naming the characters, but I’ve now drastically adjusted the plot too. From the beginning, this novel has been unlike any other I’ve worked on.

I’ve named the characters several times now. Eek. I wrote a short story about the characters and picked names that sounded southern to me. Then I wasn’t sure I wanted both of them to be from the south. The male character’s name sounds too much like a character in another novel I’ve started. Then I asked for folks on Facebook to pick a name for me! I picked one of those names and was comfortable with his name at the time. I wrote the entire novel using that name.

And then lo and behold . . . I realized it’s much too contemporary. It’s more like a name the characters would name their son versus a name of a man that’s 40 or older. Oy vey. I wanted my protagonist’s name to be southern and finally settled on Carolina – with the newly popular {in the south} again – Birdie, as her nickname. But it wasn’t just Graham and Carolina I struggled with. I struggled with allllll of the characters. This is one thing I never have an issue with. Character names come to me very easily. Weird. I think I’ve finally settled into the names now, however. In my experience, a name can come to you and it’s not until later that you realize you don’t want to name a certain character that, because it’s the name of someone you know and it’s your villain. Oops. Totally an accident.

The other issue with the novel is some very shaky plot points and concerns pointed out by my first two beta readers {thanks, Jackie & Mom}. Thankfully, after thinking and talking through where the story was struggling, I think I have a great plan for getting back on track. As of this evening, I won’t be back in the office until after the New Year, so besides cleaning up my spare room to set up a nursery/toddler room {I’m getting re-licensed as a foster parent}, I’m also looking forward to writing and editing.

I’m excited to get working on it – now that I’ve got some time off. By the way, the photos are part of my inspiration as the central coast of California is part of Carolina & Graham’s story.

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