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Monthly Archives: August 2011

Author Spotlight no.4 – YA/Adult fantasy/paranormal romance author Jodine Turner

To compliment my daily blog interviews I recently started a series of weekly Author Spotlights and today’s, the fourth, is of Jodine Turner. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate the author further. You can read the others here.

Jodine is an author of YA/Adult fantasy, magical realism, visionary fiction, and paranormal romance. She is also a therapist, a consecrated priestess and a deacon in the Gnostic Church of Mary Magdalene. A mystic at heart, Jodine is fascinated with the world of the unseen. After reading Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon, she became enchanted with Glastonbury, England. That’s what led her to move there (here :)) for a year and to eventually train to become a priestess. That land and its sacred sites captivated her heart and imagination. She experienced inspiring dreams and waking visions about Glastonbury, studied its folklore, sacro-magical traditions, and legends. Using all those experiences, she began to write my Goddess of the Stars and the Sea series about priestesses who had lived in Glastonbury, the ancient isle of Avalon, throughout the ages to today.

Her newest novel, Carry on the Flame: Destiny’s Call is her third. The Awakening: Rebirth of Atlantis and The Keys to Remember are the first and second novels in her Goddess of the Stars and the Sea series, although she says she wrote her novels to be stand-alone reads. The series is an edgy saga of a young priestess who’s reborn during three different critical junctions in history in order to help humankind move through fearful and dark times – the demise of Atlantis, the Dark Age’s suppression of the feminine, and today’s turbulent world.

And now from the author herself:

My novels are adventure-filled journeys that carry keys to embodying the ultimate magic – love, both human and divine. The stories focus on exploring the wisdom of the divine feminine, providing an experience for the main character and reader alike. They are a portal to discovering how to unite the divine feminine and divine masculine in your heart to be able to receive and give love more fully. My hope is that readers will find a thoroughly entertaining read as well as ways to navigate through the chaos and turbulence of our modern times.

I like tapping into the realms of legend and magic, especially Celtic lore. In Carry on the Flame, I liked writing the scene where Sharay meets the elder, eccentric wizard, Dillon. Dillon offers to take her on a journey of initiation, a vision quest called the Celtic “Imram,” in order to set her on her rightful path. I loved playing with the archetypal themes of an Imram, and bringing that into contemporary times.

I want readers to get the flavor of the unseen worlds. What the ancient Celts call the Otherworld. I wanted them to see and get a feel for what’s inside Sharay’s mind. She sees things in visions and dreams that the average person might call crazy because they don’t see or hear the same thing. In the Scottish tradition that’s called the ‘Second Sight’. In other words, psychic.

The romance in Carry on the Flame was inspired in part by my personal story. I met my husband Chris while I was living in Glastonbury. He is English / Welsh / Irish, and the Welsh name his mother originally wanted for him, Guethyn, became the name of my main male character in Carry on the Flame. Guethyn is the wizard Dillon’s grandson, a rebellious college student. When he falls in love with Sharay, he finds himself, despite his rejection of all things magic, drawn into an adventure that requires him to awaken to the truth of who he really is.

I have visited the locations readers will find in Carry on the Flame – the coast of Wales and some of its quaint villages like Betws-y-coed, the Orkney Isles of Scotland, and of course Glastonbury. Each locale I visited informed my scene descriptions with firsthand knowledge. And each location imbued my story with its own brand of magic. I hope readers will feel that magic, too! 

Carry on the Flame: Book Two Ultimate Magic will be released October 31, 2011. You can find more about Jodine and her writing via…

Her website: http://www.jodineturner.com, blog: http://.www.visionaryfiction.blogspot.com, Facebook author page: http://www.facebook.com/JodineTurner.Author, on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/k1PPbJ, Jacketflap: http://www.jacketflap.com/drjodine / http://bit.ly/l1lVVs, Amazon’s author page: http://amzn.to/kzfNA7 and Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/JodineTurner.

Morgen: What a list. Thank you Jodine (again). 🙂

The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with historical and suspense western author Carol Crigger – the one hundred and thirteenth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, directors, bloggers, autobiographers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found at https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/blog-interviews – Jodine was numbers 30 and 30b. The https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/schedule page shows you what else goes out on this blog. 🙂

And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me at morgen@morgenbailey.com.

 
 

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Podcast: Bailey’s Writing Tips – Episode 38 (29th August 2011)

Episode 38 (length 23m 20s) is now available via iTunes, Google’s Feedburner, Podbean (when it catches up), Podcasters (which takes even longer!) or Podcast Alley (which doesn’t list the episodes but will let you subscribe). In the previous mixed episode, a fortnight ago, I covered the graphic novels and comics; this podcast has a focus on hints and tips culminating in a flash fiction freebie.

Websites mentioned in this episode were:

This episode then culminated in a 309-word short story called ‘She has no-one who cares about her’ which was a prompt I had in one of my Monday night workshops along with a photograph of a woman and a dog.

Thank you for listening and / or stopping by here. If you have any feedback or areas you’d like covered in the hints & tips podcasts, you can email me at morgen@morgenbailey.com.

This blog also contains the weekly author spotlights and daily author interviews that I’ve posted to-date (110 when this episode came out). Although I currently have over 60 in hand, I’m always looking for more so if you write, regardless of genre (please note my blog and podcast have a ‘clean’ rating) or whether you’ve been published or not, do email me (morgen@morgenbailey.com) if you’re interested in taking part in these and / or a ‘red pen critique session’ of which the podcast episode next Monday (session no. 3) will feature.

 

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Transcription of Bailey’s Writing Tips podcast episode 18 (Dec 2010) – Christmas

The eighteenth episode of the Bailey’s Writing Tips podcast was released on 20th December 2010 and the content has never been released other than website links (on my website http://www.morgenbailey.com) so I hope you find this information useful. In the first seventeen episodes (see https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/bwt-podcast for earlier blog posts), I covered ‘show not tell’, the five senses, repetition, points of view, tenses, dialogue, characters, crime, poetry, short stories, novels, writing for children, scriptwriting, comedy, romance and chick lit, erotica, ‘writing rules’, historical & the classics, name & characters. This episode had a focus on Christmas.

  • Francis C Farley is quoted as saying “Instead of being a time of unusual behaviour, Christmas is perhaps the only time in the year when people can obey their natural impulses and express their true sentiments without feeling self-conscious and, perhaps, foolish.  Christmas, in short, is about the only chance a man has to be himself.” And Norman Vincent Peale said “Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.”
  • Maeve Binchy’s anthology ‘This year it will be different’ is a collection of Christmas-related short stories which I plan to start reading this coming holiday.
  • Putting ‘Christmas writing’ into a Google search comes up with, probably not surprisingly 131 million results. One of the tops ones is a Guardian newspaper article by Bob Stanley (http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2010/dec/16/noisy-christmas-pop-song-hit), a member of the group Saint Etienne and former music journalist, on writing a Christmas pop song. A lot of it’s tongue-in-cheek but it makes amusing reading.
  • http://www.christmas-time.com/ct-stories.htm is a sweet (and tuneful!) page of ‘Christmas stories’ (six to be exact). These are ‘A child’s Christmas in Wales’ by Dylan Thomas, ‘Christmas 1870’ by Rev’d Francis Kilvert, ‘The Christmas Walk’ by Hilary Flanery and three uncredited: ‘Is there a Father Christmas?’, ‘Christmas in the Castle’ and ‘Silent night’. The ‘Words and Music’ page http://www.christmas-time.com/wordsandmusic.htm has “lots of Christmas related information here, including Christmas Poetry, Christmas History, Christmas Prose, Christmas Music, Christmas Traditions, Christmas Stories, Bible Quotations, Christmas Quotations, Christmas Comedy, Christmas Entertainment, Christmas Food, Christmas Shopping and Christmas Graphics.”
  • I mentioned quotes above and one of the many websites for quotes is http://www.brainyquote.com. You can search by topic, author or type (e.g. actor, actress, lawyer etc). It also has a list of people’s birthday on the current day and if you click on their name, it takes you to their quotes. Other quote websites include http://www.quotegarden.com (http://www.quotegarden.com/christmas.html has dozens of Christmas quotes).
  • http://christmaswriting.com has some suggested reads for this year and in their Recent Posts section has tips no. 1 on the writing process (pre-writing, or plotting/planning, drafting, revision and editing) and tips no. 2 on writing dialogue amongst other useful information.
  • http://www.theholidayzone.com/christmas/christmas-writing.html has some Christmas writing prompts for students of varying ages followed by some great Christmas story starts. The http://www.theholidayzone.com/christmas/index.html page is also packed with a variety of projects including songs, puzzles, poetry and arts & crafts.
  • http://wordgrrls.com/index.php/2010/12/ideas-for-writing-christmas-cards has a delightful ‘ideas for writing Christmas cards’ page complete with falling snowflakes. Although some of the information given may well be too late as it’s about sending out Christmas cards but it may give you some inspiration for writing cards, or perhaps just something to think about for next year… unless you’re like me and am so woefully behind this year that you’ve still not sent yours out!
  • The ‘Christmas Poems’ page features five sub-sections of ‘Your Christmas Poem’, ‘Christmas Poetry for Children’, ‘Christmas Poems’, ‘Featured Poem’ and ‘Christmas Poetry Books’. You can also submit your Christmas poems to them for their ‘Your Christmas Poem’ section. The ‘Christmas Poems’ section includes about 100 poems by some classic poets such as John Betjeman and Walter de la Mere, to contemporary poets including Pam Ayres, Benjamin Zephania and Stephen Leake. Towards the bottom of the page are summaries + links to books by these authors including Stephen Leake’s collection of poetry ‘Beyond the parasol’ which I have but shamefully haven’t read yet.
  • The Christmas Prose’ page contains seven links to seven stories: George Bernard Shaw’s ‘An Atrocious Institution, H.H. Munroe (‘Reginald on Christmas presents), William Connor (‘The art of sending Christmas cards), Flora Thompson (Larkrise to Candleford), Laurie Lee (‘Cider with Rosie’ – which I read at school), Rev Francis Kilvert (Christmas 1870) and The Holy Bible’s Nativity.

Greeting cards: speaking of which… Christmas would surely be one of the most popular type of card so when you receive yours, make a note of the verses inside and consider writing your own for submission in 2011! The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook has numerous pages on the subject including a section on ‘Card and stationery publishers that accept illustrations and pages’ and another entitled ‘Winning the greeting card game’. Tips include finding the right publishers (with a suggestion to go shopping for cards – “most publishers include their contact details on the back of the cards” – and trade fairs, and a link to The Greeting Card Association website (http://www.greetingcardassociation.org.uk) which provides advice about submitting (http://www.greetingcardassociation.org.uk/info-resource/writers/writing-for-greeting-cards) and a list of publishers seeking freelancers.

London-based http://www.moonpig.com is one of the longest-running (from my memory anyway) self-design online greeting card companies to advertise on television. Their ‘About us’ page says “We use designs from many of the leading card publishers in the UK, such as Paperlink, The Paper House Group, Ling Design, Statics and Quitting Hollywood, as well as many smaller publishers and designers. We are always looking for new ideas.” I would suggest looking at their website’s submission page (http://www.moonpig.com/uk/Help/Default.aspx?index=9) before emailing them your designs and texts to submissions@moonpig.com.

Blue Mountain Arts is interested in reviewing writings for publication on greeting cards. They want “Contemporary prose or poetry written from personal experience that reflects the thoughts and feelings people today want to communicate to one another, but don’t always know how to put into words. Because our cards capture genuine emotions on topics such as love, friendship, family, missing you, and other real-life subjects, we suggest that you have a friend, relative, or someone else in your life in mind as you write. Writings on special occasions (birthday, anniversary, congratulations, etc.), as well as the challenges, difficulties, and aspirations of life are also considered. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with our products prior to submitting material, but don’t study them too hard. We are looking for new, original, and creative writings that do not sound like anything we have already published.” They also list what they are not looking for (including “Rhymed poetry, religious verse, one-liners, or humour and frequently overused words and phrases”). They pay $300 per poem for all rights to publish it on a greeting card and $50 if your poem is used only in an anthology. Submissions from outside the U.S. are accepted, but only in the English language.” Their guidelines are available from their website page http://www.sps.com/greetingcards/writers_guidelines.htm or you can write: Blue Mountain Arts, Inc. Editorial Department P.O. Box 1007 Boulder, CO 80306. Their website is http://www.sps.com and submissions should be emailed to editorial@sps.com.

Like greeting cards, if you’re thinking of writing seasonal stories you should allow at least three to six months so you should be writing Easter, Mother’s Day or summer holiday stories send to the magazines or card companies early! Another quote for you: “Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree.  In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall.” Larry Wilde from ‘The Merry Book of Christmas’.

Ideas: here I provide a couple of story ideas or ways to get new ideas then list seven sentence starts (more on my https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/sentence-starts page); each one, if you’d like to use them, for a daily writing project.

  • It’s never too late or early to start think about writing Christmas stories. I can’t see any harm in submitting stories for Christmas 2011 early because if you leave it too late they may well have already bought some and there is only so much space for such specific stories. To open up your chances, make it less specific and write a winter story. If you are thinking of writing Christmas stories, during your holidays think about what’s happening around you and see whether you can make a story out of any event that takes place during the festivities.
  • You could perhaps write a story about a character spending their first Christmas away from home – compare a usually cold UK with Christmas Day on an Australian beach.

And that episode’s sentence starts…

1. As Will stared out the window, the light made him squint…

2. “I can’t believe you did that!”

3. What choice did Mark have?

4. The conference/meeting was so boring that…

5. As Neil stared through the fish tank…

6. With friends like that, Laurence…

7. Barney was such an animal…

The podcast concluded with News & Feedback, On This Day in History and a poem entitled ‘Christmas wishes’ (let me know if you’d like a copy of it). That’s it. Thanks for visiting – a list of the other transcripts and summaries can be found at https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/bwt-podcast.

 

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Transcription of Bailey’s Writing Tips podcast episode 017 (Dec 2010) – names and characters

The seventeenth episode of the Bailey’s Writing Tips podcast was released on 13th December 2010 and the content has never been released other than website links (on my website http://www.morgenbailey.com) so I hope you find this information useful. In the first sixteen episodes (see https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/bwt-podcast for earlier blog posts), I covered ‘show not tell’, the five senses, repetition, points of view, tenses, dialogue, characters, crime, poetry, short stories, novels, writing for children, scriptwriting, comedy, romance and chick lit, erotica, ‘writing rules’, historical & the classics. This episode had a focus on names and characters.

What’s in a name? Sometimes it isn’t easy thinking of names for different characters, places, creatures etc but there are plenty of sources of inspiration. Apart from phone books (ideal for surnames), there are baby name books (for first names), news programmes, newspapers, magazines etc., spam emails, just make sure you jumble them up a bit.

Character names: Doing a quick search on the internet, I came across the Thesaurus of British Surnames (http://www.tobs.org.uk) which has a link on it to a Forename Thesaurus (the home page of which is http://www.namethesaurus.com), a source for finding surname and forename variants. It has 348 million variants identified for over 5 million surnames, 22 million variants for over 1 million forenames and gender identification for more than 215,000 forenames. Their search facility lets you type in a name and find the nearest pronunciations. Many more suggestions in the ‘Recommendations – websites’ section below.

Pen names: Many authors have pseudonyms. Charlotte Bronte first wrote ‘Jane Eyre: An Autobiography’ under the pseudonym Currer Bell and many female authors wrote under male names, e.g. George Elliot was Mary Ann Evans and even Joanne Rowling wrote as JK to be taken more seriously for what was seen by her publishers as a boys book. Ian Rankin also writes as ‘Jack Harvey’ and Stephen King as ‘Richard Bachman’. You can write under any name you like but, unless you register a business bank account in that name, you need to ensure that payments received for work sold are made out to your real name.

Place names: Toponymy is the scientific study of place names (more details http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toponymy). Doing a web search on Google website (using keywords of ‘place’ and ‘names’) found over 33 million links!

Publications: The main source for names would be baby name books but there are also the likes of:

  • The Oxford ‘Dictionary of First Names’ is a 443-page paperback book which has over 7,000 world-widely used names (listed A-Z) and their origins. There is an extensive introduction which looks at the importance of a first name, how they’ve changed over the centuries, biblical names, Saints’ and royal names, surnames as first names, and 11 pages on naming practices in different cultures! It also has an interesting section entitled ‘The influence of literature, film and popular culture’.
  • Baby name books include ‘2000 girls names’ (a freebie by ‘Parenting’ magazine! – traditional, modern and unusual names plus their meanings), ‘Cool names for babies’ published by Collins (freebie from Prima Baby – hot cool, cool cool, new cool, pre-cool cool and too cool names!). You can also buy gifts (mugs, pens etc) with names and their meanings but that’s an expensive way of researching the ideal name for your characters.
  • Penguin’s ‘Dictionary of Surnames’ is an analysis of over 8,000 English, Welsh, Scottish and  Irish surnames, 100 common UK/Commonwealth/US surnames as well as first names created from surnames/place-names/occupations/nicknames. It also provides meanings and derivatives.
  • ‘How place-names began’ is a (1979!) Beaver book published by Hamlyn. They also produce (produced?) a surnames equivalent.
  • Bloomsbury’s ‘Dictionary of place names’ contains the origins and history of over 4,000 place names.
  • Others sources…telephone directories are great for surnames, as are newspapers as almost every news story has a person’s name in it (best to use first or surname of a celebrity rather than both, to avoid a lawsuit!), even company names (e.g. franking machine company Pitney Bowes could make a John Pitney or Rebecca Bowes), some surnames work as first names (e.g. Frasier) or vice versa (e.g. Mr Allison or Mrs George)…or if you get desperate, the names of people you know, as long as they approve! If you’re creating a creature, you could try a mythological dictionary or failing that, pick a few letters out of a hat, rearrange them and see what you get!

Ideas: here I provide a couple of story ideas or ways to get new ideas then list seven sentence starts listed on my https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/sentence-starts page; each one, if you’d like to use them, for a daily writing project.

1. Flick through a magazine or newspaper, pick a picture of someone you don’t know (for example not a celebrity) and give them a name, age, job, height, preferences, family, friends, aspirations and quirks.

2. some time ago I gave my writing group some example characters and here are two (by name / nationality, age / job, hair colour, height, favourite music, favourite food, regular saying, relationship, siblings, aspirations, quirks:

  • Fayola (Nigerian for ‘lucky), 7, a child prodigy, mass of black curls (she loves), 3’10½“ (mum’s wall chart), Justin Bieber and Beyoncé, fish fingers (“brain food”), “check mate”, eldest child of stable parents, 6 month old brother, to be world chess champion before her 10th birthday, currently county chess champion and can count 1000 down to 1 in under 5 minutes.
  • Stephen (East London, UK), 24 photocopier salesman, jet black spiky (has 25 types of gel), 5’10, 80’s Heavy metal (favourite: AC/DC), curry (hotter the better), “what?”, single (has feelings for co-worker), one (somewhere; a boy, he thinks), to get drunk this weekend (and snog colleague Andy), has Kylie Minogue as his mobile ringtone but keeps it on silent and vibrate modes.

And this episodes sentence starts were:

  1. She’d/he’d never been here before and yet…
  2. Nick’s smile grew with each step…
  3. “Not all of these are for you, you know.”
  4. As Kate pressed the phone to her ear…
  5. Morag welcomed her visitors with open arms…
  6. Samantha kissed the back of…
  7. The machine exploded with deafening force…

Recommendations – websites: some websites on names and characters include http://www.writing-world.com/links/names.shtml. It gives links to other sites including ‘2000 names’ (http://www.20000-names.com/index.htm), dictionary of last names (http://www.ancestry.com/learn/facts/default.aspx), as well as links to a variety of names by nationality.

http://www.literary-liaisons.com/article002.html – this is an interesting one-page guide to naming your characters (with sub-headings of ‘know your characters’, ‘first names’, ‘surnames’, ‘secondary characters’ and ‘remember the genre’). This page also has links to their bookshop, romance bibliography and their writers’ resource page (http://www.literary-liaisons.com/resources.html) which is packed with links under topics such as the arts, fashion, history, medical, publications, societies & associations, Victoriana and writing resources.

Be The Story is a blog by J Timothy King about ‘writing stories and being a better writer’ and http://bethestory.com/2006/01/25/the-secret-to-naming-characters and http://bethestory.com/2006/02/24/how-to-name-characters are great pages. As is http://www.poewar.com/six-quick-tips-on-character-names a blog by writer John Hewitt. The latter contains six tips which are: 1 Character names should be easy to tell apart from one another; 2 Character names should never be distracting or annoying; 3 Try to avoid stereotypes in your character names; 4 Pick names that reflect the time, region and culture that your character is from; 5 Two excellent sources for names are baby name books and phone books; and 6 Be careful when choosing names that rhyme or are alliterative (where the initial letters or sounds are repeated, e.g. Timmy Thompson http://encyclopedia.farlex.com/Alliterative+title). I noticed a link for http://www.booksie.com on the encyclopedia page which is a site where you can “share your poems, short stories, novels and more with the world”!

Hat Rack is a site run by an American writer (of sci-fi, poetry and plays) Orson Scott Card. This particular page (http://www.hatrack.com/writingclass/lessons/2003-03-05-1.shtml) is a question and answer on naming characters. OSC’s site also has many other ‘lessons’ on a variety of topics do worth a look! (http://www.hatrack.com/writingclass/lessons/index.shtml).

http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/dnd/20010208b as you can probably guess by the name, is a fantasy site (mainly promoting the legendary game ‘Dungeons & Dragons’). This page gives you a free name generator which you don’t need to load on to your computer). I tried it and it’s fun. Firstly you put the first and last initials of your first name e.g. JohN then the first letter of your surname e.g. Smith then select male/female or random, character’s race (choices are dwarf, elf, gnome, half-elf, half-orc, halfling or human), class (choice of over 20 inc. bard, druid or monk), profession (25+ choices), status (noble, commoner or random), and how famous the character is (1-10). From J/N/S and random for all options I was given Jamlamin Soulaxe a male dwarf druid!

http://www.babynames.com is a very sweet site. You can search a multitude of names for inspiration from most popular, celebrity and cool names. There’s also a mini-video of latest celebrity baby news and a ‘name of the day’ (which at the time of writing this was Mieko!). There’s also a great section at the bottom for searching for names by origin with over 25 nationalities to choose from…so, if you’re writing a story where your Japanese character meets a Mexican one you’ll have no problems! http://www.babynamescountry.com also lets you search by origin.

http://www.seventhsanctum.com/index-name.php is also sci-fi/fantasy related but it has ‘evil name’ and ‘evil sounding name’ generators. I like the sound of those! They also give you generators for fantasy, Greek, heroic, quick (random common names taken from the US Census!), lovecraftian (as in writer HP Lovecraft – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._P._Lovecraft is an interesting biography) and weird name generator. There are also generators for names of locations, species and things (including pirate ships!). Again you don’t have to download anything just go into the relevant section, select the relevant options (e.g. boy/girl etc) and click on ‘generate’. The names are then shown.

http://www.wenspencer.com/blog/archives/000013.html Wen Spencer is a sci-fi/fantasy author who provides advice on how he uses names.

http://www.fmwriters.com/Visionback/Vision21/AdvNamestorming.htm advice is similar to other sites but does provide links to name finding websites such as http://www.cool-baby-names.com, http://www.babynamecenter.com and http://www.zoope.com (a site set-up by a Chicago-based woman nicknamed ‘word girl’ who shares some of the 10,000 names she had when writing her stories).

I have mentioned the ‘suite101’ site before and http://www.suite101.com/content/not-your-average-joe-naming-your-characters-a302699 is a great page. There’s also a link on Suite 101 to ‘creating a character sheet’ which asks the questions: What is your full name? How old are you? Where were you born? When were you born? Where were you raised? What are your parents’ and siblings’ names? What do you eat? What is your favourite food? What is your favourite drink? How do you spend your Saturday nights? Do you read? What kind of books? Do you watch television? What is your favourite show? Do you listen to music? What kind? Are you married? Divorced? Do you have children? What are their names and ages? What is your job? What do you like about it? What do you hate about it? What do you spend your money on? Do you travel? Where and why (or why not)? What does a typical day in your life consist of? Then you create a physical description of your characters with questions about eye and hair colour, height, weight, scars, physical or mental challenges. You probably wouldn’t want to go into so much detail for a short story but you should know your characters in-depth for a novel to the point where they certainly feel, and almost become, real!

Although http://goodcharacters.com is a name site with a Chinese influence it’s definitely worth a visit.

Carolyn Jewel (http://www.carolynjewel.com/craft/names.php) is a Californian who writes historical and paranormal romance! In amongst the advice, Carolyn links to http://www.behindthename.com ‘the etymology and history of first names’. This also has a name generator and you can browse by nationality.

http://www.sffchronicles.co.uk/forum/4902-help-naming-characters.html the Chronicles Network is ‘host to the world largest, and friendliest, science fiction & fantasy forums’. The forums (chat rooms) can be viewed by author name, TV series and films as well as general discussion groups. One of the discussions mentions using the names from ‘spam’ (junk) e-mails as character names (either the whole name or part of it) and this is something I’ve heard before when listening to podcasts (radio shows).

http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.jsp?articleId=281474977076908 Gather has been one of the sponsors of the ‘Writer’s Almanac’ podcast hosted by writer Garrison Keillor and, like Facebook, is a site where people “keep up with the people, conversations and moments that matter”. This page suggests that you find character names in “your imagination, phone books, baby name books, family records, company and product names, among your friends, the obituaries and the dictionary”.

As you can see there are a multitude of websites out there which help the writer whether it’s for inspiration or information. The last word on names…some people change their name unofficially but many have legally because they may not like the name they were given or they simply want something more extraordinary or ordinary. In this country this can be done via the UK Deed Poll Service (http://www.ukdps.co.uk/index.html) and costs just over £30. I’ve read of people changing their name to their favourite football team (see http://www.ukdps.co.uk/Media.html)! Despite some restrictions Deed Poll Service has apparently issued deed polls for Jellyfish McSaveloy, Toasted T Cake, Nineteen Sixty-Eight, Hong Kong Phooey, Daddy Fantastic, One-One-Eight Taxi, Ting A Ling, Huggy Bear, Donald Duck, Jojo Magicspacemonkey and James Bond…there are some weird people out there…and the strange make the best stories!

The podcast concluded with News & Feedback, On This Day in History and a 60-word story entitled ‘Home help’:

Fred hated living alone. Having no family and being new to the area, he relied on the television or radio for company. With nothing interesting on either, he flicked through the local telephone directory and spotted the number he wanted. He dialled and listened to the soothing female voice, “at the third stroke, the time according to ‘Timeline’ will be…”

That’s it. Thanks for visiting – a list of the other transcripts and summaries can be found at https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/bwt-podcast.

 

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