Monday, June 26, 2017

to name something is to own it...

~ Thomas L. Friedman

Arielle's splendid post on names--both of them, actually--made me think of names, and how I go about naming characters, and when I said...you just made me want to write a character naming post...she replied, Please DO

So, here I am, doing. XD 

I am a pantser, and in my younger years, not a very thoughtful one. So, ignoring some of my earlier books, I'm going to focus on a few of my more recent stories, and how I got the names I did. Mostly for fun, though if you need a look into the mind of a very distracted writer, you might learn something... XD

I'll be pulling from the following stories:

My Time Travel series {sci-fi/dystopian fantasy/something like that...}
Contract to Time Travel, Rebel Queen/Queen of Time, This Present Time


Rule the Whirlwind {somewhere between alternative history and historical fantasy, I haven't decided; kinda on hiatus, though probably my go-to if I pause in Rebel Queen}


Fairy Tale/Myth/Etc Retellings
{Phantom of the Opera, Sleeping Beauty, Little Mermaid, and Medusa, remember. Sci-fi on semi-hiatus, but still brainstorming XD}

Haunted {modern YA; currently on hiatus}



I literally titled the document Turquoise Trauma
Haunted is still in its infancy, with many characters requiring names, and that alone is stalling me. Maybe you can take your child home from the hospital with Baby Boy on the birth certificate, but I get stuck in the doorway and panic until my child is named. I change very few names, and the changes are always semi-traumatic, with character personality morphing with the name change--hence, I don't want to go too far with characters unless their name seems right. Of those who have been named...

Madison Comstock got her name because her mother called her Maddie, and I needed a modern middle-class name for a girl fighting cancer with a mother who'd married a math professor.

Emerson St. George got her name because I wanted the MC, her current foster child, to call her dragon-slayer. She will fight for what she loves, and St. George fits her like nothing else. Somehow, with that, Em simply was her first name. It might be a bit odd, being named after her father in place of the son they thought they were getting, but she doesn't mind it. 

Destiny, Xavier, Lexi, Elisha, and Miss Lear are all going to fit in somehow...for a ridiculously full story about foster care and WWII vets and drug abuse and abortion and families and expectations and love and belonging. 


My retellings are also in that tenuous place of sorting...Philippa Thakur-Lee is Prince Phillip - the University on the Moon has students from all over the world, and his name reflects his heritage as the child of the Bengali ambassador and a Korean diplomat. His first name, of course, is tribute to Prince Phillip, but also to his Bengali parental factor and the fact that Philippa being, in fact, a masculine name made me laugh. {We'll see if he appreciates it.} 

His best friend is Kieren McKay--his heritage isn't terribly hard to guess, and he just kind of showed up and announced his name. {Characters often do that in my books.}

CenSci Labs sprang into being with similar ease, but their scientific and business rival, Fashioning all Relevant Innovative Enterprises Incorporated, or FaRIE Inc, took a bit more planning. {We'll see if I let them keep that...} 

Sun Ren-Qing, my POTO Raoul, is very definitely Chinese, but his choice to change his name to Rakshan Sun reflects his manipulative decision to honor his adoptive father's Indian heritage. Madam Galiaskarov is my Russian ex-nun version of Madame Giry--I wanted to keep the G and the phrasing, but she did not want to be French. {She is a little bit opinionated.}

Meanwhile, my gender-swapped Little Mermaid is currently going by Aridai Seung-ki Macnamara. The first is a nod to the Disney Mermaid and a reflection of the futuristic setting of the story, the second is a nod to his Korean birth parents, and his last name comes from his Irish adoptive parents and weirdly Irish personality. {Unlike the others, he is not on the Moon because of his brilliance, but because his grandfather sent him there on his first police assignment to discourage his interest in space travel.}

{Clearly the moon is thick with Irish and Koreans, but don't worry, other countries will definitely have their mark on the stories. XD}

Rule the Whirlwind is...different...as alternative history should be. XD Chaos, as an abandoned Gypsy child, tells people she is nameless, but when everyone calls her Chaos, technicalities are a little false, aren't they? Her sister-self, Maranatha Sidori, or Mara, went through a few name changes, including Marionette, before firmly settling on her current name, without much regard for anything other than her personality and how the name fit the story.

Jericho Chand, my darling dark wolf-child {as in character/personality, not fantasy kind, though that is of course an option...XD} was one of those who rather named himself...and he also simply mentioned his sisters, Selah and Amelia.

The Imp had his nickname long before anything else showed up, but when he was ready to enter the story, Rey Gabriele fit my bitter golden puppet-master like nothing else. There is very little angelic or sunlike about my crippled orphan, but that itself fits his cold sarcasm to perfection.

Emmett Kinring Kalliden comes from a long history of wanting a character named Kinring, Kalliden standing out to me during medical school, and my love for the name Emmett. Which also happens to fit with E and his father's penchant for naming each of his six boys something beginning with E--including Edmund Ethan, Ellis, Erastus, and Everard.

By now I have a growing list of names that feel like they "fit" the story, which I will continue to draw from as I write. Many are Biblical, which manages to fit the story's vaguely English roots without being too foreign. {Okay, so Shabbethai and Enrimmon might be pushing it, but they might end up as towns or last names. XD}


My Time Travel series also has a name-list going...but the names of the main characters were a little different. Ellian Roya I literally made up on the spot for a blog contest, and it somehow snowballed from there. I do not remember how Echo Fire and her twin Phoenix ended up with their names (other than that I liked them), but Tylar is Mirriam's fault {this is probably the first she's heard of it XD}, and Rui just picked his name off a name list. He's never told me why, and asking doesn't much help. {His name was originally Anton Beck, of all things and his personality changed just a bit when his name did. No wonder he talks more in the first chapter than in most of the book to follow...Also, I completely forgot that many characters, including Rui, changed names shortly after I started this particular book. I found the evidence in an old email after I started writing this post, and was properly shocked.}

The chimeras were a little more work. I had chosen Korean models for the characters and wanted to use Korean names for at least some of them, so I basically looked up Korean names and listed combinations and meanings that I liked and then ran through them repeatedly until they each picked one. Hae means grace and Jin means jewel of truth...and since I already had some idea of Hae-Jin's story arc, that was his name. {I didn't know about the thing that happens in the middle of the book...that came later.}

Kang-Dae basically means power and greatness, which he liked, and which I liked because it was possible for Ellian to mistake it for Ghandi while in the middle of being beat up by Kang-Dae and not paying much attention. XD  

Then Dante happened because I thought it was a cool name and I wanted to evoke Dante's Inferno and he glared at me and walked away with it. Hang Korean names, apparently. 

Petra is actually Dante's fault--he originally had a name that meant wise-energy, but the name was unwieldy and difficult to pronounce for most of my audience...the meaning fit him, but that name didn't, so he ended up following in Dante's footsteps for a non-Korean name. Also, he clearly did not care that Petra is occasionally a girl's name in today's world. {I remembered his name change and his alone, because it happened nearly at the end of the novel, unlike the others.}

Ja means attraction/magnetism and Il means superiority...it seemed to fit him as leader, but maybe I should have left the Ja off if I didn't want him taking over the story...yeah, so in retrospect I should have seen that coming. 

As the story-world began to build, I noticed a theme. Many of the characters had noun last names {Fire, Song, Day, Star, Sunn, Storm} and slightly different but not entirely unusual first names {Phoenix, Silver, Ara, Aksel, Thia}, with occasional odd names out, which fit my story of a islanded future, cut off from other countries, but with descendants of many countries and cultures remaining under Amon's dictatorship where only his rules apply. Some of the characters, like Echo Fire, I planned on being important characters and therefore gave a name that had intrigued me. Others, like Minato Star, I simply named for a side-character and then had to do a double-take as they moved forward with plans to invade my story.


Which gives you a pretty good overview of how my characters get their names. As in I dunno, but they all got names. XD {Except the MC of that Haunted story. He doesn't have a name yet. Which is why the story is on hiatus.}


How do the characters in your stories get their names? And have you ever forgotten you changed a character's name???? 


Monday, June 19, 2017

New Life Things™


Or, recent things in my life that I feel like talking about today. XD




~ Moving to My Own Apartment. {pictures upcoming, possibly. also, I feel like I have been moving for forever.}
will I move next year? who knows...
at least sticking to the same town, though, Lord willing...XD

~ Driving My Own Car to that new apartment. {Though I plan to bike to work as many days as possible, there is something very awesome about God leading us to the cheapest truck of its kind in the state immediately after the car I had been driving died...plus it's still under warranty, and should be something I completely don't have to worry about while Residency Things are going on...}
what, it has to do with cars. XD 

~ Starting an Adult Job™ for the first time, and my first job at ALL since starting medical school. {Today is the first day of training, you guys...we'll see what happens to blogging after I officially start. XD}
I wish I were not kidding quite so much right now. XD
But maybe at least I will no longer be going IN to debt?
That will be quite the improvement.

~ Finally discovering what it feels like to wait on hearing back from a publisher...you got my baby, publisher peoples...I may have separation anxiety...XD
*internally screaming*

~ Also discovering what it feels like to say that out loud. {I normally would not mention I'd sent something anywhere until I'd heard back...I'm being uncharacteristically open, you guys... XD}



~ Also trying to reconcile the thought of moving hours away from my family and having less time to be in contact with them than I ever have before. While simultaneously doing something harder than I've ever done. {It's medical boot camp, and from everything I've heard, just as bonding and as horrifying as you would expect...}



~ Reading a new book, as in Thick as Thieves.
I read The Thief back in...2009? 2010?, immediately turned around and read most of the series aloud to my family, and have been trying to make the people around me read the Queen's Thief series ever since. This spring I actually read The Thief aloud and sent it to one of my friends who recently was listening to a bunch of audiobooks, and then gave it to my sister for her birthday. {It's been delightful to watch her face as she reads through the rest of the series herself.}
This year was the publication of the 5th book, and this month is the first time I've read through one of Megan Whalen Turner's books simultaneously with one of my friends, stopping to freak out and share the awesomeness after every 2 chapters. 


The book is gold, and also gold was one of the "hint words"
that MWT threw out to fans while writing the book. XD

~ Figuring out taxes. -___- And I'm not even to the taxes part, just the signing up for stuff.
'nuff said

~ In other writing news, I just won a medical student writing contest with a poem I wrote in the middle of the night prior to an interview, and I will be published in a medical journal this summer!


~ I even had to set up a photography session with the journal's photographer in order to get my picture taken. Definitely New™.




I think that's all the recent stuff I wanted to talk about...stay tuned for whatever else randomness strikes my blogging fancy....XD


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Lord, teach us to pray...



Our Father, our Father, our Father, our Father...You are Father to each of us, and bear the burden and care for each one. I do not have to hold it all, because You do.

Who art in Heaven...Your ways are not our ways nor Your thoughts our thoughts...You are above, we are below.

Hallowed be Thy Name...regardless of what You choose...holy, holy, holy is the Lamb that was slain.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done...Your presence and Your power and Your place here and now and forever more...Your plan before and above ours, in the world and in our hearts.

On earth as it is in heaven...may we obey as if already in heaven, may Your power and Your glory be our highest good, may we taste and see that You are good, even here, even now.


Give us this day our daily bread...You have claimed us, You have translated us into Your kingdom, You are the Bread of Life...Give us You, spiritually and physically, show us Your love and strengthen our faith.

Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us...make us like You in all ways, cover us with Your righteousness, Give us You, physically and spiritually.

Lead us not into temptation...keep us from the evil way, do not let our feet slip, protect us from the designs of the evil one. Make Thy way straight before our faces.

But deliver us from evil...wholly take us out of the way. Make clear the escape from sin, protect us from this fallen world and how it would seek to taint our relationship with You and with others. Be Thou for us, our Strength and our Deliverer.

For Thine is the kingdom...the kingdom which Your good pleasure would give us. You are Goodness, You are Love, at Your right hand is pleasure forevermore, and Your will for us is good.

And the power, and the glory, for ever...All power is Yours, all ability, all knowledge. You are infinitely able...You held the sun still in the sky so that Your will could be done and turned back death to bring us life. You, as Creator and as Healer, are able to heal our uttermost brokenness, to create in us a new heart, to make us new creatures entirely. There is nothing impossible with You.

Amen.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

June Snippets


What, I just did May? Shhhh. Ignore that. XD



I've mentioned this story before...and really, I had almost started it before I finished book one.  But, as much as I loved them, I wasn't entirely ready to spend another two years in the heads of the same characters I'd been in for what already felt like forever.

So I dawdled and told myself I had to wait for beta reader responses and then got them and dawdled some more...played with all my other stories--a chapter here, a chapter there...worked on editing Contract to Time Travel...wrote a proposal...sent Contract to Time Travel to 3 publishers as a somewhat drawn out simultaneous submission...messed around with new novel ideas...and then came back to this one. 

And found myself, for the first time in months, writing-writing. As opposed to the numerous variations {considering-writing...attempting-writing...forcing-writing...fighting-writing...etc.} that have been plaguing me for a very long time. New Life Things™ will be happening soon, so I don't know how long this will last, but right now I'm loving it. XD


~~~

      But even this could not completely stop the rumors. The whispers that some ordered to death had disappeared before the patrols could come for them. That a sky car bringing supplies to the capital had been stopped and all food and weapons stolen. That one of the government homes for children of traitors had burned to the ground but no bodies were afterward found. That one of the databases in Itai had exploded, and hundreds of records regarding biogen experiments, including the chimeras, had been destroyed. That maybe, just maybe, there was a way out of Itai, even, perhaps out of Makul itself. That somewhere there lived a people who did not answer to Amon.
The penalty for speaking any of this is death.


~~~

        “I think I saw Amon’s Shadow on the way to school and I think we should review the safety protocol about the angel.” The boy’s words spilled out of him like salt overshaken, and Eren drew his eyebrows together, lowering and not at all caring that he was doing so. 
        “First—we do not call him that.” How many times could he drill this into their heads? Words have power. “Name the creatures of Amon what they are and name your fears. Forget Angel, Amon's Right Hand, Head Assassin, Last of the Five, and call him Amon’s Shadow only when required. Even calling him a transgenic or a chimera—he is merely a man with spliced DNA and a mind twisted and shattered by years of experiments and abuse. Do not make it sound more impressive than you must. Second—what is our safety protocol?”



~~~

         “You going to be okay?” he asked before he thought. Stupid question. But it sounded better than are you going to start breathing normally anytime soon?
        She looked down at Ty and shrugged, the struggle to sound calm giving a ragged edge to her voice. “Good isn’t happening, but I’ll work on okay. Until either utter panic or overwhelming relief become more appropriate.”



~~~

        The street was there before them, and she stopped short, scarcely noticing the chimeras doing the same on either side of her. It was bleak and barren, but that place beneath the moonlight had been burned into her soul and she was bleeding now as if the wound had never healed. Ja-Il was falling, broken wings outstretched, lifeblood spreading across his skin; Dante screaming a horror too great for words; the others crying out in agony as the bonds that held them close were torn apart by sacrifice and by betrayal. 
      The burning ache of it wrenched through her, and still she stood frozen. How could it still hurt this much?


~~~

        “Forgive me,” he whispered. “The thought of cutting his throat is all that keeps me sane some nights.


~~~

        “Yes,” [he] said simply. 
        The older man shook his head, as if the admission were too brazen to believe. 
       [The chimera] stretched out his hand, as though he would slow the gathering storm. “I have fought and bled with you. You have known who I am, if not what.”

      The man crossed the room in two steps and there was no calming the fury within his eyes. “You are an accursed angel,” he said, and his voice caught in blinding pain. “And you are the monster that killed my wife.” His fist smashed into [the chimera's] face before [she] realized his intent.


~~~


            Aksel Storm raised his hand, running the other through his mess of brown curls and barely waiting until Eren pointed to him. “Know all available information at all times.”
          Min raised his hand again, clearly unabashed. “But that is impossible and exactly my point—the protocol is not a protocol at all. It is merely more things to think about and in a moment of panic we are to what? Stroke our chins and evaluate Amon’s Shadow for a weakness?”
           Aksel sent him withering glance. “We are not supposed to panic, brainless.” 




Thursday, June 1, 2017

#TWIN

from a trip to Florida

The past few months I've been working on memorizing John 14-17. {Mostly 14. I got bogged down because of traveling so much.} Every time I go through I hit 14:14-15, and have to pause a moment. 
if ye shall ask any thing in My name, I will do it.  
If ye love Me, keep My commandments.
I keep thinking about the relationship between those two verses, and their straightforwardness compared to how very complicated they seem to us as humans...and then before I know it I'm in chapter 15 and in the middle of all the abiding, and having to pause again.

Abiding is something I've thought about for sure...but it's also a concept I've had trouble grasping. Like seriously, how do you abide in Him? It's clearly central to living as His person, the concept makes sense...but HOW?

In some ways my family has always been pretty close. Every so often my mom and I will say the exact same thing at the exact same time -- it happens more often the more time we spend together, and it always sets my mom laughing. "I guess I can die now," she usually says. "I've replicated myself." 

Perhaps stranger than that is when my two closest friends and I {one of whom I see on rare, light-filled days in which sugar and sleeplessness are closely entwined, and one of whom I have not yet met in person} do the equivalent online: type the same words at the same time while chatting with each other. We call it twinning. {Hence the name of this post.} The record is perhaps 3 of the exact same responses in a row for each of us, the odds of which I don't feel like calculating. 

This happens the most when we are in sync, obviously -- when we have been spending a lot of time together, when we are most in tune with each other's thoughts and moods, when we are, to put it simply, feeling the same thing.

It was thinking about this that finally made the concept of abiding click, and with it, a lightbulb flash of understanding regarding the command to pray without ceasing.

When I go for days without truly talking to my mother or chatting/messaging/texting my closest friends, this does not mean our friendship has ceased to exist. But, it means that when we talk again it takes just that little bit longer until we reach that place of being totally in sync.  

When I go for days without real, serious prayer time, this does not mean I am not a Christian. But it means that when I next pray, it will take that much longer before I am thinking His way. Prayer is not so that God knows what is on my mind {though I think He created us and Heaven because He actually does enjoy spending time with us, mind-blowing as that thought is}. Prayer is that I can know His mind, so that I can know His heart, so much as is possible for the finite to understand the infinite. So that I can be like Him. What else is abiding, but that closeness, that oneness, that unthinking knowing where my actions, my words, my thoughts, become His? 

How do I get there? I am guessing it works with my God the way it works with my people -- which is by loving them, caring about what they care about, and discussing everything under the sun with them and snatching any moment I can to share with them. Just as simple and as difficult as that. 

I have to keep thinking about John 14...but if I put John 15 into practice, I think it will become understandable on a different level. The times when I am in sync with my people are always amazing...abiding in God the way Jesus describes in John 15? Try to imagine that. 

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