Help me name my character

All right, I’ve been around long enough to know not to use similar sounding names in a MS. It confuses the reader. So how in the world did I end up with four names (more than half of the characters in my novel) with “B” names?

I caught the Bane and Bailey early so I started have my demon referred to by his first name. He was no long just “Bane”, he became “Mosalic”.

I like “Bailey” so I’m keeping it.

I didn’t pick up on “Bobbie” and “Bombos” though.

Two-thirds through my MS, it finally hit me. I’ve got: Bane, Bailey Bombos and Bobbie.

What in the world is wrong with me? Don’t worry, I’ll “B” okay. Har. Har.

So, Bombos is now Demetris–no problem. But I like Bobbie’s name. It suits her. So either Bobbie has to be changed or Bailey. Boo-hoo.

I know these characters by their name. In fact, their names have helped me define their actions. I could just wait until I’ve finished the whole MS and then go back and do a search and replace to insert the new name. That would probably help keep their personalities from changing with their new name.

But, I’m trying to sell this thing as we speak and I don’t want an editor who read about Bobbie, to now be reading about Taylor and not know who she is. So, I’ll probably work on changing Bobbie’s name today.

Any ideas? I like the longer name that shortens into a boy’s name. But that’s not absolute. Though it does have to be a longer name I can shorten to a nickname. She’s a spoiled rich girl. Very Fendi bags and high-heels. She’s half Phillipino too if that gives any ideas.

Anyone?

Writing to Market

The first story I ever penned with the intention of publication was a story about talking fruit. This was years ago, before I’d ever heard of Veggie Tales.

It was a cute story about racial prejudice for young children. The story rhymed.

I sent it out, it promptly came back.

I did some research and read that three things were a no-no at that time in childrens books:

1. No rhyming stories.

2. No talking animals (or fruit)

3. No obvious moral theme.

Hmmmm. Guess I blew that one. But it was a cute story.

Years later I’m writing novels. In the CBA the supernatural element in a story really limits the possibilites of which publishing house will accept it.

A supernatural thriller is not an easy sell. But, its a great book. Unusual, exciting, funny and …and…and…

Crickets chirp.

With a first novel, I probably should have stuck to a straight thriller. But I’m a salmon at heart. Always was.

I tried to write a sweet romance once. Ha. My lovely heroin stood in a field of bowing grass gazing into the distance for her beloved. When out of nowhere, she spotted two almond shaped yellow lights glaring at her.

Oh well.

I suggest to other writers getting ready to start a novel, for the first one, write to market. Instead of talking animals, make them people. Tone the moral theme down a notch. At least don’t make it so obvious.

And write a legal thriller instead of a supernatural one. Then, once you’ve got the sales behind you, go for it and push the envelope.

I really believe The Demon Chaser is the book God had for me to write. People need to know they’ve got power over the darkness, with Jesus shining within them.

Christians are truly soldiers of light and need to be going to battle.

As for me, I’m going to battle, actually my agent is on my behalf, trying to get an unusual book on shelves where it can relay that message of hope.

Practicing Your Pitch

When I went to my first writers conference a couple years ago, I had my proposals and business cards and went prepared to sell.

I made an appointment with an agent, published author and editor. I shook their hand, had a seat and said, “I’ve got a book I’d like to tell you about.”

“Go ahead,” they said.

Then my cheeks caught fire, my voice broke up and I began to ramble.

I didn’t know my story well enough to put it into a coherent pitch.

I hadn’t practiced my pitch. I even fumbled when asked what kind of story it was. I wasn’t really sure what category it fit in. Big mistake.

My second conference I did a little better but still froze up when I was asked what my story was about. Flustered.

This conference, I’m going to be ready. Besides my written pitch, (my query, synopis, and first three chapters, which make up my proposal), I’ve written a verbal pitch that I am memorizing.

I will know my pitch inside and out. A couple of critique friends and I are pitching each other to get used to doing it. We’re practicing the sit down pitch we’ll get to make with editor appointments. And we’re practicing our elevator pitch. After all, we might get an opportunity at lunch or as we walk to class, to talk to an editor that would be perfect for our book.
We plan to be ready.
To know our pitch so well, we won’t ramble on.

And we plan to be prepared for some questions:

Who do you see your novel appealing to?

What’s the setting?

Who is your hero/heroin?

What do they want?

What is standing in their way?

How many words?

Who can you compare your work to?

That type of thing. I can’t stress enough how important the verbal pitch is. I know published writers who received their first contract because of it. They probably wouldn’t have if they came across as someone who didn’t know their own work. If they couldn’t articulate what their story was about.

Memorizing one pitch is going to be hard, but I’ve got two books I’m trying to place. Two spiels to memorize. Egads. I’ll practice everyday until I can ramble them off without thinking.

I never would have thought selling a novel would be so difficult and involve so much. I just wanted to tell a story. And I guess that’s just what I’ll be doing at my editor appointments. The cliff-notes version, with as much pizazz and excitement as I can ooze.

How Big’s Your But?

Gina got a big ol but, oh yeah.

I can’t write today. . .

It’s too beautiful out!
I’m blocked.
I’ve got housework to do.
blah
blah
blah
yada
yada
yada

With me being home at least 5 days a week now, there’s no reason I can’t churn out a chapter a day and get a rough finished draft of my book in about a month. Maybe two. (Remember, I’m already more than half finished).

I did finish a chapter yesterday and I’m going to aim for a new one today too. BUT there’s my big ol but now… I won’t accomplish that every day.

My but’s just too big some days. “I’m tired.” Being my favorite excuse. Some nights I don’t sleep well. I wake up groggy and have zero motivation on those days to write.

Tell you a little secret though: when I sit down at the computer, well rested, fresh from the shower with a cup of coffee and complete silence, I get her done.

When I stumble to the keyboard with troll pencil hair, four hours of interupted sleep and two little maniacs tearing up my house in the background, and I FORCE myself to write. I get her done too.

When I go back and read a chapter I wrote on a day that had perfect writing conditions, it’s pretty good.

When I go back and read a chapter I wrote on a day that had pathetic writing conditions, it’s pretty good.

I can’t later pick out which chapter I had to pry from my tired brain and which flowed from me like a river of inspiration.

If you got a big ol but like me, time to work it off.