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FauxPas

Started Writing, but one question....

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So, I guess I will do the go ahead and ask some advice for the story I am working on, so far only in the first chapter and about 230 words. Not in any rush. but.....I have two main problems I am running into with it.

Problem #1: This is my biggest issue when it comes to writing. I won't say I have a lack of creativity, but for the life of me, I cannot come up with character names. Any advice on how the best way to come up with names?

and

Problem #2: Character description, not other characters, but my own. There never seems to be right timing to place in a detailed description of my character. I don't want to info dump and I don't want anything to seem forced. Is there any sort of unwritten rule that states a description of the main character needs to be done ASAP? Or can I just slowly put it in over the course of a couple chapters? In case it helps, I am trying to write it from first person.

These are the only two things really holding me up and any advice would be much appreciated. I also do have to say it does help tremendously to deal with my depression currently. I've always been so afraid in the past to attempt to write, but this story I am able to put in a lot of my actual feelings and get stuff out.
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  1. BlackWing's Avatar
    When it comes to making up names, one thing you can do is just scroll through lists of names from various different countries/nationalities. Another thing you could do is just modify names you already know from cartoons, anime, movies, etc.

    As for character descriptions, it's gonna be impossible to make a character without the traits of an already existing character out there. Just borrow the traits that you think would benefit the character and modify them enough to differentiate that character from the others.
  2. Maxx's Avatar
    1. Have you been through the "articles" section here at ADISC? You must know its there because you contributed one. There are some pretty good pieces on story writing.

    2. There are lots of ways to describe your character. You can let details come out one by one as they're relevant to the story. You can let another character do the description, as in a PA announcement at a sporting event "6'6", guard, from the University of North Carolina, MICHAEL JORDAN!!". Whispered gossip of others can serve "He's a little pudgy, but cute, and ohhhh, those blue eyes".

    3. When I create characters, they're either people I've known in real life, or a mashup of real people's characteristics. In some cases, I've used their real names to solidify my mental image as I'm writing. Other times its a variant or something that sounds like their real names. Once, a long time ago in forum far, far away, I named the main character after the poster who unintentionally inspired the idea for the story. I don't know if he/she (one never knows online, does one?) ever realized it, or even read the story.

    4. You could, by way of description or introduction, write a cast of characters at the beginning like you would get at the theatre or see in movie credits. That could be helpful to your audience as a reference, and get it out of the way without interfering with the narrative. It would be a bad idea if you intended to publish some chapters before you've completed the whole story. Stories sometimes take on a life of their own, with new characters and different plot twists occurring to you halfway through.
    Updated 12-Mar-2015 at 17:05 by Maxx
  3. FauxPas's Avatar


    Quote Originally Posted by Maxx
    1. Have you been through the "articles" section here at ADISC? You must know its there because you contributed one. There are some pretty good pieces on story writing.

    2. There are lots of ways to describe your character. You can let details come out one by one as they're relevant to the story. You can let another character do the description, as in a PA announcement at a sporting event "6'6", guard, from the University of North Carolina, MICHAEL JORDAN!!". Whispered gossip of others can serve "He's a little pudgy, but cute, and ohhhh, those blue eyes".

    3. When I create characters, they're either people I've known in real life, or a mashup of real people's characteristics. In some cases, I've used their real names to solidify my mental image as I'm writing. Other times its a variant or something that sounds like their real names. Once, a long time ago in forum far, far away, I named the main character after the poster who unintentionally inspired the idea for the story. I don't know if he/she (one never knows online, does one?) ever realized it, or even read the story.

    4. You could, by way of description or introduction, write a cast of characters at the beginning like you would get at the theatre or see in movie credits. That could be helpful to your audience as a reference, and get it out of the way without interfering with the narrative. It would be a bad idea if you intended to publish some chapters before you've completed the whole story. Stories sometimes take on a life of their own, with new characters and different plot twists occurring to you halfway through.
    I looked through the articles, didn't see anything that covered exactly what I was looking for. Like I said it's not other character descriptions I am having issues with, just the main character, that the point of view is being told from.

    I thought about doing the "cast of characters" but feel it's too upfront. Guess I'll see if I can't come up with anything.
  4. Maxx's Avatar
    Look at the first few pages of other stories (not just here.... the concept applies to any story), see how they do it.
  5. FauxPas's Avatar


    Quote Originally Posted by Maxx
    Look at the first few pages of other stories (not just here.... the concept applies to any story), see how they do it.
    That's kinda what I've been doing. I may post what I have soon. Still undecided, but it would be nice to have a little bit of feedback before I get too far into it. Maybe after the first chapter is done.
  6. Angusmac's Avatar
    Phone Book Mix And Match! Get a phone book, open it to a random page, close your eyes and point to the page...use the first name of the name you land on. Close your eyes again, turn to another random page, point to it...choose the last name of the person you land on. There you go, random first and last name combo.

    Good Luck.

    -Gus
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