Choosing Character Names in Fiction...

How do you choose a character name? There are several ways to choose an effective name in the process of writing a short story. The easiest way to choose a character name is to browse through popular baby names on the internet. There are several sites that will show up on a Google search, especially if you use search terms such as, ‘popular boy names’ or ‘names for girls.’ To choose a character name that is from another nation, you can perform an online search for French or Japanese names and surnames. Books are also printed which contain an index of hundreds of character names and you can find these books in the writing section of your local bookstore. One excellent resource is from Writers’ Digest, The Character Naming Sourcebook. It contains an extensive list of first names and a good handful of common surnames as well.  What about surnames? Just as with first names, you can perform an online search for ‘surname’ or ‘last name’ as well. You can also use a character surname based on street or location names in your local geography. There are many ways to refine your selection of a character name. You can choose a name that simply sounds good or a character name that has a particular meaning. Many name sites on the internet will give you the meaning of a particular name, as will most books with indexes of names. Not all characters have realistic names and you may want an outrageous or poetic character name to fit a particular mood in your writing style. For example, science-fiction character names may sound quite outlandish and unusual. In this case, you may want to try an unconventional approach to the given name and surname, such as using...

Tools of the Trade: Editing tools for writers...

Let’s discuss what writers need beyond a pen and paper or that all essential keyboard especially when it comes to making revisions.  The best tools are an exceptional dictionary, a handbook guide to grammar, a thesaurus and/or rhyming dictionary, a set of resources for naming your characters, tool bars and a search engine ready to look up not just information but to confirm quotations and facts, and personally I never leave a desk devoid of a stack of chocolate. The Dictionary Why is it necessary? Today we have spell-check everywhere. Except the more you write the more you realize that spell-check is not a highly functioning tool. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used a relatively obscure word that a spell-checker embedded into major software has not been able to clear and identify. I have these Twilight Zone moments when I race over to an online dictionary like Merriam-Webster.com and console myself that I’ve spelled the obscure word correctly. When I am correct, I’m sure to add the word to the spell-check dictionary by right-clicking on the word in whatever program I’m using to add it in. But imagine if you’re sometimes using a small program like Notepad, or in two or three various email apps or web browsers, or you’re using Word. You’ll never want to stop and take the time to open every single place you have spell-check software to correct it. Not when you’re on a writing deadline. Ain’t nobody got time for that! So get a good dictionary, even if you only go online to Merriam-Webster Online and use it. Merriam-Webster Online is free and if you add it to your bookmarks toolbar, it’s right at your fingertips. Enter the word into the search box and it will...