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Friday, October 16, 2009

National Novel Writers Month

NaNoWriMo is upon us!

I'm looking forward to it, kicking me back into writing mode. I say this alot, unfortunately. But sometimes I find it hard to do myself. A couple of posts ago, when I was going to do the 500 word a day challenge? Too soon. It was totally too soon. I had been travelling for awhile and hadn't had the opportunity to write and I was just itching to write SOMETHING. ANYTHING. But declaring you are going to write a novel, when you haven't actually thought much about said novel, well, there's a recipe for disaster.
I have an idea which I got in N'Orleans while in the swamps there actually, about a boy who lives in a shack on the edge of a swamp and though he's very quiet and a sweet boy really, he and his rather large family are considered freaks and outsiders. And he practices voodoo. We all know I've had a bit of experience with voodoo. But I did some reading up on it - granted, not a whole lot as yet - and there are animal sacrifices and orgies etc and I just couldn't see this boy getting into all that. It wouldn't make him a very sympathetic character if he was to slit a goat's throat, for instance.
So yeah, if that idea is going to go anywhere, it needs a bit more time.

But this OTHER idea. Yep. This one's a go. I've been plotting it and a bit of mind mapping and I think it'll work. I just need a couple of names. The main character's current name has to go, and her best friend is currently referred to as bf. Which is NOT her name. :) The problem with traveling is I don't have all of my writerly books around me. Like my baby name books and surname book.
I've never seen another surname book. My mother gave it to me, she'd had it for 20 years, it's like the Penguin Book of Surnames or something like that. It's great, works just like a baby name book, with the meaning of each surname. Unfortunately they're very english surnames. So if I want anyone who is NOT anglo-saxon in ethnicity, then I think I'll be having a browse through the phone book.
How do you find good surnames for your characters? Do you have any tips, or is the phone book a good idea?



  1. Bought myself a baby names book earlier in the year for exactly the same reason as you - great for character names (and I love knowing the meaning of the names I choose, too).
    Surnames though ... that's another thing again. Haven't needed surnames in the stuff I've written yet, but it will be trickier. Are there websites? Surely there must be.
    Robyn V

  2. I love baby names books. I have several of them. Some are better than others, and some are split into country groups too, like African names, French names, Greek names. I really like them.

    And for when I write a bit of fantasy I also have a celtic baby names book which I think is AWE-SOME. I can either keep the Celtic name or tweak it and make it my own worldly name. :)
    I agree, there would be websites, surely. I just haven't checked it out yet.
    Thanks for the comment Robyn!


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