1. ken90004
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    ken90004 Member

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    Bad writing habits to get over

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by ken90004, Dec 16, 2008.

    When the story just seems to be writing itself, I really hate to stop for anything. The problem is I have the bad habit of calling people and places [xxx]. That tells me that I could not think of a name off the top of my head, so I will deal with that in the re-write.

    Now I am getting a nice collection of [xxx] and I am wondering if I should be stopping to dig in my name book.

    I know I am only writing for two to three hours at a time, and the more I stop to do research, or look up names, the less that is getting written down.

    Do you HAVE to names everyone and everything in the story before the story goes on, or is that part of the re-write?
     
  2. dadara
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    dadara New Member

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    this is maybe stupid, but its prehaps a fresh perspective, as im not a writer, but what about calling the people names you know, every older woman you just call the same name as your mother, every young man man can be the same name as some of your friends and so on.... then you can change the names later.....
    maybe this influences the story as you are thinking about people you know? i dont know
     
  3. garmar69
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    garmar69 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I keep a phone next to my computer, or just make my names a combo of a couple of books I see lying around. I don't put much effort into names. Unless your writing something that requires a certain name--like if set in an alien world or another country--I don't worry about it.

    As to your [xxx], I do the same thing when I'm really rolling except I do this. {????} That way I know I need to research a point or verify something and don't want to break the flow.
     
  4. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I have to do all the work as I go along, including naming, otherwise I can't write, but that's just me. If your method of using [xxx] works best for you, why worry? If you think you can tackle it successfully in the rewrite, then do so. There are no set rules on what's best, just what works best for you personally.

    If it grows to be a problem that prevents you from finishing your story, THEN look into finding a way to fix it.
     
  5. Little Miss Edi
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    Little Miss Edi Contributing Member

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    I could see how getting to the end with a bunch of [xxx] representing lots of different things could be a problem, but if you can handle going through and naming things then I wouldn't worry too much. But it might be worth trying to number things and write some things down as you go - like put a footnote saying that "[xx1] is a place in the north, while [xx2] is a person of military disposition." That will keep your flow going but make it easer to tackle all those x's at the end.

    But like Tehuti88 says if it works best for you then don't worry about it.
     
  6. othman
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    othman Member

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    Well, in the re-write if you still can't think of anything that feels right, there's plenty of websites that supply names, for dogs, cats and people and for places just have a map of somewhere far away and then you'll be able to pick any random town, wood or road name.

    Just use Google!
     
  7. Silver Random
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    Silver Random Senior Member

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    I know the feeling... i am now terrible at coming up with names. I try not to use things like (xxx) in actual writing, only in notes if i havent come up with a name yet. I personally dont write them till i have a name for them. And mostly i just re-use names from my original or older stories, and struggle to come up with any new names that feel right.

    I would advise against building up too many (xxx)s and leaving naming till after you've finished though. I would try to just force yourself to come up with a name, and use that instead of (xxx), even if you dont intend to keep it. Chances are by the time you come to do the rewrite, you will have grown used to the name and won't want to change it. If you still dont like it, then you can come up with another one just the same.

    NB: My experience is only of writing fantasy where i just make up all my own names. The ones i use before are mostly the same ones from my old original stories, because they feel right to me. When i came up with them though i just randomly threw them together, and they just seem right to me now after years of writing them, while names that i now invent off the top of my head never seem very good. I'm not sure if what you are talking about is similar or if you are talking about researching the names of real places you are writing about.
     
  8. de la vega
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    de la vega Member

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    I think that's an excellent idea. It will be hard to lose track with footnotes.
     
  9. Richard Peevers
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    Richard Peevers New Member

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    Everyone writes differently, but before I set pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) I've generally planned out everything that's going to happen, all the places that will appear and all the characters names and backstories.

    Now I'm sure that won't work for many people but I find it immensely freeing. Because it means that once I sit in front of my computer, I can just concentrate on the actual process of writing--I don't need to stop and think "oh what should this person be called?"

    For me, having to stop like that would totally destroy my flow.

    I guess that if I found myself in a situation like you have, I'd probably put some identifier in place of the name you know OldMan or ScaryCaverns or something and use that until I thought of something better.

    But the bottom line is that you don't 'have' to do anything. Everyone writes in his or her own way--just find a system that works for you (even if it might seem crazy to everyone else--what matters is that it works for you).
     
  10. Mr Vampyre
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    Mr Vampyre Member

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    As long as you know which character is which then I don't see why you should stop. Do whatever works for you.

    If you start getting confused about who is who then you might need to review your method.
     
  11. othman
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    othman Member

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    What I've done before is write for, say, half an hour and then go back and roughly edit what I've written, to make sure it's well paced, makes sense etc. Whilst I do that I just look for a few names on the internet and have a break.
     
  12. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    If it works for you, it's not a bad habit. It's just part of your process.
     
  13. Scarecrow28
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    Scarecrow28 Contributing Member

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    When I need a character name, I'll look around my room. A lot of the characters in my novel are a combination of several novelists names. Sometimes they're just named after completely random objects, ex: John Gibson after a guitar.

    If the writing is going well, I'd wait until the end for names. Better to stick it out than to stop now and break the flow.
     
  14. Shadow Reeves
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    Shadow Reeves Active Member

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    when searching for names i either have a bash on the keyboard, literally. "sjabhgo" becomes Sabaji...sorta Arabian isnt it.
    my other method is the dictionary. open it and pick a random word, then again somewhere else in the dictionary, then just find a combination you like,

    Sabaji Whiteiron to the rescue!
    same works for places, like WhittleDwarf Castle!

    the name of my main character was derived a keyboard bash, 'Aeten' (AIR-ten)
     
  15. AthenaMinerva
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    AthenaMinerva New Member

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    Every so often I compile lists of names, and I tape them to the sides of my workspace (third shelf down on the bookcase). They're separated into two separate columns, male and female, and whenever I need a name I just choose a column and point to a name on the card, then cross off the name. It works really well for me.
     
  16. Jack
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    Jack Contributing Member

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    Tons of Names

    If I am stuck, I just go to this site to acquire several names (Very useful, I recommend this to everyone)

    http://names.mongabay.com/male_names.htm
     

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