STOP MAKING ME HATE YOUR MAIN CHARACTER!!!
♥ Have a lovely rest of your weekend.
♥ Have a lovely rest of your weekend.
Disclaimer: This post has absolutely nothing to do with food – sorry foodies!
Welcome to a new kind of blog hop, engineered by moi for anyone who wants to join in. This is for fun, creativity, mostly cuz-we-can and designed to work for both readers and writers!
Objective: Every Tuesday I will introduce a new ‘ingredient’ until we have the biggest and best tacos in town. The only things you need are your own WIPs, published works &/or favorite books you’ve read. Answer as a writer, a reader or both, it’s completely up to you. There are no rules against using a different manuscript for each week’s writer answer, but please make sure to tag them with the story’s title so your followers know which books to look out for!
Here we go…
Taco Shell/Wrap: Share a moment when a supporting character played a part in keeping your protagonist held together, even if it’s in memory.
“The problem is the whole in so deep already, though,” Reyna admitted, once she’d caught her breath. “I mean, he’s everywhere! He even knows my boss, for crying aloud. There’s no place in my life where he’s not already involved.”
Serena paused and softened, giving her a sympathetic look. “You mean like me and Maddy?” she pointed out. “Do you think it was any easier for us? You’re my best friend and his sister. We all grew up together, our parents used to barbecue together. We went to the same schools, the same family outings. Even if we went out separately, the other turned up there or was friends with those who were there. Do you know how long it took for me to get up the nerve just to admit to myself how I felt about him?”
Reyna opened her mouth, then closed it. She’d never thought of it that way before, but Serena was absolutely right. Madison had already been such a huge part of every part of Serena’s life, just like Corbyn was turning out to be in Reyna’s.
“The hardest part was getting past the fear that I would lose everything I loved, everything I’d known, if we didn’t work out. You, your parents,” Serena continued. “At the very least, that nothing would ever be the same again.”
“How did you do it?” Reyna asked quietly, desperate for any kind of wisdom her friend could bestow.
“I just did,” Serena shrugged. “I knew that if I didn’t try, if I didn’t give him or myself that chance, I would regret it for the rest of my life…”
~ Hearthstone Alpha (The Úlfrinn series, #1)
Taco Shell/Wrap: Which book have you read with a memorable supporting character, and why did you like them?
Margo from In The Best Interest of The Child, by Felicia Denise. I loved every moment she was on the page, because her character came across with such a genuinely supportive personality. Even though Olivia hadn’t let her in all the way with her traumatic past, Margo was still there for her, without hesitation or judgment. She brought laughter, a shoulder to cry on, advice and even a good ‘shove’ in the right direction whenever Olivia needed it. I really hope we get to see more of her in the second book. (hint-hint!) 😉
This probably goes without saying…but…
♥ If you do participate, please remember to leave a ping-back in the comments below, so I can read your post. Happy Tuesday Muses!
Character names are the topic of today’s post, for both readers and writers, so jump right in! The other day, I was given the option to check out yet another free book and being the cover whore that I am, I couldn’t pass it up. I skipped the blurb and went right for the “Look Inside” feature. I made it through a good portion of the beginning, before I was even given the young woman’s name.
It was my mom’s name. 😐
Not a popular girl’s name in this day and age, especially for an 18 year old – but there it was. Glaring at me. I instantly started picturing my mom in what I knew to be an Erotic Romance novel and hit the back-button so fast my mouse filed an L&I claim.
I understand that this awkward situation depends largely on your genre of choice. I read a variety, but mostly Erotic Romance. So, there are definite names that will immediately turn me off to a book. Main Characters who have the same name as:
That’s a lot of names when you think about it. Which, is why I usually feel fortunate and grateful that writers can be so creative with names!
Both of my kids have uncommon names. It’s very rare that I pick up a book and see my oldest son’s name. I have never seen my youngest son’s name used… as a first name… so it doesn’t have the same ‘scarred for life’ affect.
The rest of my family all have more common names. In the case of one niece and nephew, though, their names are sooooooooooo ridiculously common, that I know a dozen other people by their names and for some reason that makes it a non-issue. It’s like I have mental blockers for them, rather than the names, themselves. (Yeah, I’m a little weird).
More often than not, it’s that one ex-boyfriend situation that I run up against. I can’t even stomach seeing his name in print, let alone spend 1 to 300 pages reading it over and over again, picturing him in my mind, instead of the character I’m supposed to be seeing. A hero with his name is the last guy I’d ever root for, no matter what amazing qualities he supposedly has.
Just. Ain’t. Happening.
I’m probably missing out on some really great stories, but it’s not worth the nausea. Am I alone in this? Are you able to overlook these situations?
When I started writing in my teen years, I used names I wished I had, or that I could see myself naming my kids one day. Now that I have kids, I know better – especially with the kind of books I read and write!
Typically, there are 3 different ways my characters can get their names:
1) It just comes to me and it fits. It might even come to me before the actual plot.
2) I get an idea for a story, and as I sketch that out a little more the character names start coming to me, usually as I imagine them be spoken aloud in dialogue. Actually, some of my ideas begin as dialogue, but that’s a whole other post!
3) The character is from another country and I research names until I find a combination that I like or feels the most fitting. I also do this with foreign sub-characters. Sometimes, it’s just their surname, because their first name has already made itself known.
With my Dark Day Isle series, Tessa’s first name came to me easily, then I had to wait for her last name, but I had to research to find Felix’s whole name.
The name Felix, itself, has been around long enough to have a very wide reach. However, in these modern times, it’s more commonly found in and around the kingdom of Luxembourg. My character happens to hail from Metz, which is nearby and politically linked to Luxembourg. I was excited when I came across the name during my research, and knew I’d found the perfect fit. Yes, I love Felix the Cat, too – stop aging us, gaw! 😀
While there’s no rule against using any name you want, it can be really useful to run a deeper search into a country’s various regions, for they each have their own unique traditional and modern list of names. Just searching for “French boy names” never would’ve given me Felix as an option. It only takes a few extra minutes of research, if you’re looking for something more authentic.
Of course, I’ve had characters whose names came to me first and only afterward revealed that they were of a certain heritage. For example: The main male character in my upcoming novel, Hearthstone Alpha (June 1st!) is Corbyn Bruschard. I didn’t choose his name – he did. I think I gave him a duck face, but he was 100% set on it and since he’s presumably ‘the boss’, I was in no position to argue. [insert exaggerated eye roll here].
Bruschard doesn’t even exist in Google’s world. At least not that I have found. Corbyn and his, ahem–pack–of guys, are Scandinavian, so I apologize profusely if Corbyn Bruschard is like the exact opposite of anything viking – you can take it up with the boss. Personally, I’d just let it go… I’ve met his cranky side. 🐺
♥ Readers: Have you ever found yourself unable to read a book–no matter how enticing the blurb–simply because of one of the character’s names?
♥ Writers: How do you come up with your character names? Is it different for each book? Do you have names before anything else, or do you have to flesh your characters out a bit first before their names come to you?
Author: Trista Jaszczak
Release Date: July 31, 2015
Print Length: 241 pages
Cover Artist: Shoutlines Designs
WARNING: This story contains female submission, a Daddy Dom/babygirl relationship, hot oral sex scenes, and the beginning of an erotic BDSM lifestyle. This is intended for mature (18+) audiences only.
Lola’s top priority in life has always been her tattoo parlor, Skin Deep and for years all she has wanted was for it to succeed. But when two of her employees decide to venture to bigger cities for a change of pace she is devastated and finding replacements proves to be both difficult and stressful. When she does hire River Hawthorne she knows that there is something different about him and whatever it is, she finds it attractive. What she doesn’t know is what River is about to do to her…Or just how much time she’ll spend on her knees for him.
“You want to have a seat with me in the back? Have lunch together?”
She takes a moment to think about it and finally nods. She follows me from her office to the break room. I can tell that she’s been thinking. If she’s anything like me, she’s thinking about last night. Only I’m willing to bet she’s wondering what she did wrong, why she did what she did, and what she is going to do now. I want to tell her that she didn’t do anything wrong. But to feed her the cliché line of “it’s not you, it’s me” seems like a whole lot of bullshit at this point. I could easily man up and just tell her…but then I risk not only being fired but losing her altogether. Makes me hate being so fucked up. She looks at me with sad eyes as she has a seat at the table.
I pull out a chair across from her and begin sitting our food and drinks on the table. I look up at her with my eyes and catch her staring. She quickly looks away and purses her lips. It doesn’t seem to be sitting well with her either. I’m reducing her to nothing more than a fucking one night stand. What a dick move. I open a straw and place it in one of the thirty-two ounce cups and push it over to her. “Have a drink.”
Her cheeks fill with color and she takes the cup, bringing the straw to her lips. She has a quick sip and looks away from me and down to her right. She can barely look at me. Not like I can blame her. She presses her lips around the straw for a moment and I catch her eyes again. She hurries to look away as she sets the cup on the table. I start pulling her food from the bag. A bacon cheeseburger and a large order of fries from Pepper’s Bar and Grill just down the street. “Hungry?”
She finally looks at me and gives me a little nod. “Starved, actually.”
“Then you shouldn’t have told me that you didn’t want anything,” I say. “You have to eat.” I begin unwrapping her burger and place it front of her. She looks up at me confused as I sit down and grab my own burger and fries.
“I’m just trying to keep the shop running,” she explains. “I have to work your schedules around all the appointments you have all while making sure someone can be out front in case we have walk-ins.”
“Understandable, but you can’t just not eat. It’s not good for you.” I say, diverting my attention to my burger. I look up slightly and see that she is chewing quietly but seems to refuse to look at me as she reaches for her cup and has a drink of pop.
“Sometimes I just forget.”
“Well,” I start, “you shouldn’t. It’s not healthy.”
She gives me a silent nod as she still looks to my left.
“Something interesting over there?” I ask, wiping my mouth with a napkin.
Her mouth drops and her eyes move to meet mine. “I’m sorry…I just…” Her voice trails and she looks up at me with the saddest blue eyes I’ve ever seen in my life.
“Lola, this doesn’t have to be awkward,” I tell her. “Things happened really fast last night. I never wanted to make things like this…I just…see I have this thing…” I stop my words and watch as her mouth drops.
“Oh, my fucking God.” Her blue eyes go from sad to angry quickly as she pushes her food away.
I shake my head. “No, that’s not what I meant, see, I just…there’s this thing about me.” Out with it, dude. Tell her. Tell her now. Tell her what you are. I look down at her burger that has no more than two bites taken out. “You should eat some more. Two bites will not help you. I know it’s not exactly healthy, but it’s something.”
“Do you have a fucking girlfriend?” She snaps in a loud whisper, leaning across the table.
I shake my head furiously. “No! I wouldn’t do that!”
This one just makes me laugh as I sit back and shake my head. I lean back in my chair and shake my head. “No, I don’t have some STD that I didn’t tell you about.”
“You should sit back, calm down, and eat your fucking food, Lola.” I tell her.
“Then what?! Just tell me?! What thing do you have?!” She looks directly into my eyes. She’s worried, she’s scared, and she’s a mess. I can see that all in her eyes. She pouts slightly and gets up. “It was fun…really, it was great. I hope you like your job here.”
“I love my job,” I tell her, being completely honest. “I fucking love it. Which is why I don’t want to lose it.”
She pouts again, this time crossing her arms and nodding as she starts to walk away.
“Lola, sit down, now,” I command her.
She turns to look at me, shocked at my order. Her mouth drops and her arms slowly fall to her sides.
“Sit down and eat, now.” I order.
She reaches for the chair and pulls it out slowly. She looks at me, pouts, and finally has a seat, taking a bite of her burger. I look away and smirk slightly. All I can think to myself is good girl.
Trista Jaszczak (jazz-ick) is the author of the Believe series (reinterpreted fairy tales), and upcoming relaunches, Loverboy, What Lies Inside and the Darkness Falls series. She is an Air Force spouse and mother to two mischievous and rambunctious little girls. She is originally from Hamilton, Ohio but calls home where ever the Air Force sends her. She currently resides in Anchorage, Alaska where she finds endless inspiration in the pure Alaskan wilderness. When she isn’t writing, she spends her time with her family in the vast Alaskan outdoors, plucking away at her old guitar or working on self-improvement in the gym. She loves the outdoors, the moon, old movies and music.
Alright, here’s a long one for you lovely thinkers to contemplate over the weekend and I know it’s like beating a dead horse, but I can’t help myself! With a show of hands, how many of you know the true origins of your favorite fairytale? I’m just kidding, I can’t really see your hands. You can put them down now. Nothing about the title of today’s post is a laughing matter, by any means, but did you know that they play a major role in your favorite princess’s tale?
Warning: We’re about to enter geek-mode, strap in and grab your
fanny survival packs.
The Grimm… er, grim…fact is that our beloved Deutschland brothers took quite a bit of creative license when they set out to ‘collect’ the oral legends. Maybe some of you already know this, and that’s great! That means you might have a select fable of your own that gave you a moment’s pause upon reading the original version, right? I know, I do!
Dornröschen or Little Brier-Rose was hardly the first version of the Sleeping Beauty tale. In fact, it wasn’t even the only Sleeping Beauty themed story the Grimm’s ever told. There was another one tilted The Glass Coffin, where a cursed princess is freed by a tailor, and then they set out to release her entire kingdom from enchantment – only the antagonist is a traveling male magician and not a malevolent fairy. When Disney got a hold of this story, he pawned the glass coffin off onto Snow White. Poor girl, she can never catch a break.
Has anyone ever heard of Charles Perrault? Please, don’t raise your hand. In 1697, two-hundred years before the Brothers Grimm published their book, Monsieur Perrault published his own collection, which included The Sleeping Beauty or The Sleeping Beauty in The Wood… only, you know, in French. The stories didn’t differ that much, except that in this earlier version, the prince never got the chance to kiss his princess, before she just woke up.
Actually, there isn’t a single Sleeping Beauty story, where “True Love’s Kiss” exists at all. Grimm and Perrault’s version simply places the prince in the right place at the right time – the exact moment the 100 year sleeping curse is over. Talk about falling for a guy for his promptness! The Magic of Love was definitely a Disney gimmick and it worked like a charm… yeah, I could totally play on these words all day, but I won’t, because…
You’re still wondering what any of this has to do with rape, incest and ogres? I’ll tell ya. Before Monsieur Perrault, there was an even earlier version of Sleeping Beauty written by a guy named Giambattista Basile (^5 to anyone who can pronounce it) titled Sun, Moon and Talia, ca. 1634 and according to Wikipedia, there’s a Sleeping Beauty theme in a part of the Perceforest (a collection of romantic prose spanning six volumes published between 1330-1344), where the “prince” rapes the princess in question while she’s still sleeping. Call it ‘unconscious intercourse’ all you want, dude, it’s rape.
In Mr. Basile’s version, Talia doesn’t wake up, but gives birth to twins (sun & moon) who upon searching for nourishment, sucks the poisoned flax from mom’s finger, thus waking her. It has nothing to do with love or a 100 year deadline. In fact, though Mr. I’m Too Sexy For Conscious Sex is so taken by the sleeping beauty, he forgets all about her when he returns to his kingdom, marries someone else, and then ‘suddenly’ remembers her and begins having an extramarital affair with her behind his wife’s back – who…drum roll, please…happens to come from a line of Ogres.
The ogre theme was carried over in Perrault’s version, only the woman in question was the Prince’s mother, instead. Both she-ogre’s attempt to have the princess and her child(ren) murdered and fixed as dinner she then happily feeds to her cheating/secretive husband/son… ugh, you get the point: Ogres bad!
Poor Brier-Rose/Talia/Dawn whatever the hell her name is, isn’t the only unfortunate princess. There are countless “Cinderella” stories that covers the highly taboo subjects of incest and domestic violence, where the princess was lusted after by her own father and then upon meeting the ‘prince’ while disguised as a servant, is repeatedly abused until he discovers that she’s the mysterious princess that he’s been dancing with at the ball. Nice guy. Yeah, I’d totally pick him over everyone else.
In conclusion, there isn’t a single one of our beloved fairytales that began as the enchanting, romantic story we grew up reading/watching thanks to Mr. Disney. About the only one he copied nearly to a T was Belle et la Bête (Beauty and The Beast) written by Marie Leprince de Beaumont in 1756, yet the Grimm Brother’s didn’t base their tale from this version at all. Go figure.
p.s. I could get really geeky on you, and go all of the way back to the Old Norse Sagas to point out the similarities between Sleeping Beauty and Brunhilde… but I’ll be nice and save that for another day. 🙂
♥ Friendly challenge: Find an older/original version of your favorite fairytale and write a post about the differences between it and what you’ve always thought it to be. Which version do you prefer? Which parts are better than others? Which parts shocked you the most? Make sure to leave a pingback in the comments below for your post, I’d love to read it! Have a great weekend everyone!
Have you ever stopped reading a book, because you were afraid of what was going to happen next?
I can’t recall if I’ve ever experienced this situation before. I started reading this book (won’t name names. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone else) awhile ago and can’t seem to bring myself to pick it back up again. The crux: It’s not only my favorite genre [erotic romance. Surprise!] It’s by one of my all-time favorite authors!
The dilemma I’m having is that I fear the protagonist is on a downward spiral into ultimate ruin. A total train-wreck of self-destruction that I simply can’t bear to witness. Have you ever been too empathetic to watch one of your beloved characters crumble? Do you feel embarrassed for them when they embarrass themselves? (I do that mostly with movie characters, ha-ha!)
In truth, there’s a lingering mystery surrounding the main character’s misadventure that’s alluring and will probably tempt me back into the book, but it seems I’m using whatever excuse I can to put it further and further off into the future. I have this problem with not being able to not finish a book once I’ve started it – even if it’s a really bad book (again, I won’t name names).
That isn’t the case in this situation, of course. The writing, as always with this particular author, is phenomenal, the characters are intriguing, the scenery perfectly detailed, etc, etc, etc. I know, “just pull up your big girl panties and read the book, already!” I’m getting there. Eventually.
♥ Until then, what books are you enjoying over the Holidays? Any recommendations?
Today’s NaBloPoMo prompt feels like a recurring theme for me lately, so I’ve decided to break the questions apart in order to inspect them each as personally and honestly as I can:
What writer hasn’t? Okay, I know that’s not making it personal. So, the answer is yes. Painfully, uncontrollably, frustratingly, yes. Unfortunately, my creativity seems to be on vacation far more frequently than it’s at work and the length of the former always outlasts the length of the latter. In fact, I’ve been experiencing a bout of writer’s block for the last week or so. Which leads us to the next part of the question…
Months. Literally months upon months. Those are the worst times. When I’m lucky, it will only last a few weeks or less. Sadly, I’m typically not that lucky, but I have been attempting to correct that issue by applying those ‘tools’ others advise to use or claim to work for them. I’ve even gone so far as having my kids choose words for me to use in some way on my blog, whether it be in a poem or short story, anything to try and kick-start that inspiration back into working order again. So, now we’re left with the last part of this question…
The best way to explain my version of
hell writer’s block is that it’s like the cell tower to my creativity goes down, causing the signal to my brain to completely drop. Not only do I lose my ability to connect words together into a decent sentence, I lose my drive to. My desire to. I will sit and stare at my computer screen like a brainless zombie, absolutely no activity going on upstairs. No sparks firing through the old lobes to assist in my dilemma.
I’m still trying to figure out how to ‘break’ out of it, as it were. In all honesty, I generally just have to wait it out. Wait for that invisible crew to get the cell tower back up and running again. Inspiration will come slowly or in one, powerful burst. I guess it just depends on that blasted signal. As such, I don’t really have any tips for other bloggers, only a few things I do to try and put a rush on the process:
♠ Read. I will use my writing downtime as an excuse to get caught up on my reading, because I’m always behind on it. Sometimes, I get lucky, and reading will cause inspiring ideas about my own books to start forming in my mind. When I can’t wait to finish a book in order to start applying those ideas to my own, I know I’m in a good place.
♦ Blog Daily. Even when I’m not participating in NaBloPoMo, I still try to blog every single day. Even if it’s just to complain about having writer’s block, at least I’m writing something!
♣ Take Advantage. Rather than stressing about not being able to write, I use the time off to get caught up on other things I enjoy (or that desperately need my attention, like housework!) I hang out with friends, get my holiday lists together, read that mail that’s been piling up in the ‘it can wait’ bin… If you have other hobbies, like painting, drawing, needlework, etc., then try to relax into one of those. Who knows, maybe those other things will help inspire you faster than staring at the cursor blinking on your story’s document like a ticking time bomb mocking your every attempt to think coherently.
♥ Or if you’re a gamer, like me, you might even enjoy turning the old PS3 on and blowing stuff up to work some of those frustrations out in a non-destructive manner. Plus, it’s just plain fun and writing is work. Life can’t be all work and no play, even creatively.
It's my happy place.
My interviews with many authors
Jean M. Cogdell, Author-Writing something worth reading, one word at a time in easy to swallow bite size portions.
Award Winning Romantic-Suspense & Thriller Writer. (London, UK)
Where Naughty Alphas (and sexy chicks) Rule!
Life Through the Eyes of Storytellers
Author of suspense novels Search For Maylee, Aggravated Momentum, The Stix, and New Age Lamians. As well as the short story collection Time Wasters and (co-author of) The Suspenseful Collection. Columnist for The Conscious Talk Magazine.
Writer, Blogger, Book Addict
Vague Meanderings of the Broke and Obscure
Author of Contemporary Romance