Posted in General

Working Titles

Titles are either simple to come up with, or they’re difficult. There’s not a lot of in-between about them. I’ve already gone over one of the ways to come up with and generate titles, but those suggestions don’t always feel right at first. Titles can take time, and that’s where the working title comes into play.

A working title isn’t much more than what you call your story while it’s still a work in progress. Dependent on your publishing route, an editor may suggest a title change for marketing purposes, or just based on style. It’s also possible that you’ll go through several titles before finding the one that fits your story.

You don’t need to put much thought in a working title. In the case of very early drafts when you’re still feeling out the rest of the story, you can simply use the first thing that pops to mind–the wizard boy, or the hobbit’s ring or something else to help you denote which story is which. Alternately, you can use the working title as a note to help, a la I Write Sins Not Tragedies.

You might also find it helpful to use the working title as a way to test out your actual title. It can help to put WT at the end so you can avoid attaching to any titles that don’t work for that story.

What are some of your working titles?

Posted in blogging, General

April Recap

I think it’s fair to say that April has been a month full of stress and worry. COVID-19 continues to be a very real threat.  I hope you all are safe at home. If you’re one of the essential workers helping to keep everything running: thank you. Thank you to the firefighters, the nurses, the doctors, the police and the sheriffs helping protect and combat this virus directly. Thank you to the delivery drivers, grocery clerks, farmworkers, and sanitation workers helping our families and first responders survive this crisis.

While COVID is affecting daily life heavily, there is still some progress to be noted about the month. Here at least, numbers have begun to plateau. Although it’s likely the situation won’t resolve for months at the least, the fact that there is some positive change is at least a sign that we can and will get a handle on the situation.

Moving onto other news, I’m really pleased with how my personal challenge went this month. I had quite a few rough days where I didn’t get much writing done. If you want a day-by-day breakdown, you can check out the 30 Day Shorts Part I,Part II, Part III and Part IV. Below you’ll find the last few days of the April Challenge.

I actually really enjoyed having a challenge and I wish I had another one to do. I might see about finding another, perhaps for July.

Day 26
Two more flash-pieces done, the first titled ‘Problem Solver’ and the second being ‘Bus Tickets’. I had more ideas but unfortunately didn’t get a chance to start on any of them.

Day 27
Worked on ideas from yesterday. Finished up the selection of pieces with ‘Recruiter’ and ‘Technomancer’. I’ve actually gotten caught up somehow and am sitting on twenty-seven pieces.

Day 28
One more short, this one titled ‘She Came Through’. Ended up using the Day 27 prompts on accident.

Day 29
Ended up scrambling to get laundry done and dried yesterday since my dryer has broken. Nothing short written.

Day 30
Last day of the challenge! I ended up not working on any short stories today, meaning I finished the month out with a total of twenty-eight shorts. All things considered, even though it technically means I didn’t succeed at the challenge, I’m happy with what I ended up with.

How was your April?

Posted in General

Creating Last Names

I’ve touched on names a couple of times before, but in this case, I want specifically focus on family names. Family or inherited names can be used to help trace genealogy, but when it comes to writing and creating characters, they also serve to help flesh out your world.

For those stories set in the real, or near-real worlds, last names become incredibly easy. Searching for a surname is as easy as check with Behind the Name, or running a search for common last names of the appropriate nationality. Location names such as Alamanni, Appleton, Yorkshire, Caivano and others are also useful and tie back to real world places. Occupation names also provide easy options. Names like Baker, Cooper and Shepherd give you a clue as to what the family has done historically.

For those who need to create names, things get a little harder. Depending on your setting, occupational names are still very much a possibility. If you’ve created or are using a fictional language, occupation names can be made by translating your given occupation into the language of your choice. Keep in mind that not all things translate well, and errors do happen–when all else fails, change just one or two letters. Baker becomes Bacer, Daker or even Bakor.

Location names are also still a possibility. For fantasy settings, ‘of Landmark’ names work well. You can end up with names like ‘of York’ or ‘of River Edge’. Within the context of space-faring sci-fi you also have constellation and planetary names to utilize. Someone with the last name ‘Andromeda’ might very well be from somewhere in the Andromeda galaxy. Alternately, the last name Jupiter can be used to indicate someone from a colony on or near the gas giant. And again, you can alter these names slightly to help fit: Andromedus or Juptus can be readily used to indicate someone of the Andromeda Galaxy, and Jupiter respectively.

You can add an affix such as ‘-son’ or ‘fitz-‘ as needed to the personal name of a parent to help create another name such as McNeal or Johnson. In more real-world based settings, make sure you’re paying attention to regional affixes.

And, when all else fails, try mashing names and words together. For fantasy names, something like Blacksword indicates a family name with ties to a black sword, even though it’s simply compounding two separate words. For a different feel you could try mashing together two names like Ashley and Robin, resulting in Robley or Ashin (this works well for first names too).

 

Posted in Exercises, General

30 Day Shorts IV

Part I is here. Part II is here. Part III is here and you’re on part IV right now!

Day 18 and 19
Absolutely no shorts written. To be fair, the 18th was also another writing-free day.

Day 20
I got a short written early this morning. Hoping I get more done as I’m about five shorts behind.  Current title is ‘Learning’.

Day 21
Finished one short early in the day titled ‘Petal Soft’. I also managed to start another short before bed titled ‘A Sister’s Love’.

Day 22
Managed to finish the short I started yesterday. Also did another short currently titled ‘Big Announcements.’ Still well behind where I should be but getting closer to catching up.

Day 23
I managed to get three very short flash pieces done today. The largest of them, currently titled ‘An Adventurer’s Binds’ is only 306 words. The other two, ‘A Suitor Declined’ and ‘Desert Wood’ are 230 and 233 respectively.

Day 24
Just one short finished today, bringing my current total up to twenty-two. Latest title is ‘Words and Actions’.