Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A Writer's Habits by Janet Lane Walters #amwriting


I don't know about other authors but I have habits I don't want to break. If I did the stories would never be told. I'm a planner and each story is planned before I begin. Doesn't mean the plan never changes. Telling a story is like living a life and there are always unexpected events. But that's part of telling the story, it isn't part of the habits I don't want to break.

After I've an idea about the kind of story that will appear when the book is done, I find my main characters in a general way such as - a nurse, a doctor, a murderer, a magician. Then I find their Sun, Moon and Rising Sign. This ia all part of the planning phase,

Now comes the habits. I cannot begin to write a story until my characters have names. I have friends who can do a rough draft without naming their characters or changing the names as the story moves along. Sometimes they laugh when I say I've written nothing because I can't find the right names. Sometimes the names pop into my head and I know they're the right ones. Other times I have to sort through the half dozen baby name books before I find the right one. Finding that name has somehow turned the general chracter into a person. This habit won't be broken. Finding the right name becomes harder when I have to think about all the other books I've written and what those characters are named. I have duplicated names in books but it's never the main characters, always subsidary ones.

The second hang up habit for me is the title of the book. Before I put word one of the story I need to have the title. This can be a struggle. There are a lot of writers who can write a book nearly to the end before they have the title for the book. I must have it there and I'll sit and make lists of possible titles until one jumps out. Usually the title I choose stands after the book is published. Occasionally the title is changed. One of these changes made by the publisher has always bothered me. My choice for this hero and heroine over fifty years of age was Carpe Noctum. Seize the Night. This was a play on the hero's last name Knight and also a play on their ages. The title became The Best Medicine. Never really excited me.

Do you have habits you don't want to break that color the way you write. If so, join the club.