Novel Writing Tips and Techniques from Authors of Second Wind Publishing is the 100th book published by Second Wind. The book is dedicated to everyone who made this accomplishment possible: our authors, our readers, our friends, and our followers. Thank you!
EXCERPT FROM NOVEL WRITING TIPS AND TECHNIQUES FROM AUTHORS OF SECOND WIND PUBLISHING
Organizational Tools: Name Charts
She Had to Know
As a reader, quite often I find in my hurry to get into a new book, I race over character names and then get confused later about who is doing what. When character’s names start with the same letter, the confusion is compounded. I’ve had to discipline myself to take my time learning the names as they are introduced, thus avoiding backtracking. My reading experience is also enhanced by investing my thoughts in these people from the start.
As a writer, I decided to make it as easy as possible for readers to meet my characters in a way they would remember. To accomplish this, I introduced married people as a couple, gave some distinguished description for the lone individuals and made sure names were not similar. I also wrote out a background profile for characters who appeared, both major and minor. That way, their names fit their personalities and thus are easier to recall for the reader.
A really handy tool I used early on was a chart I made, divided into two vertical columns. The left heading read: “First Names of Characters.” The right, “Last Names of Characters.” I started with the letters of the alphabet on the extreme left, A-Z down the page and did the same for the right column. Next to the alphabet letters I filled in my character names, first names in the left column and last in the right column. This gave me a visual of what letters I used for my names. It’s quite easy to repeat letters unconsciously and this is an easy way to catch those repetitions. I had to change character names as a result of this exercise, but it has eliminated problems for my readers. I even included page numbers (in parenthesis) next to a name of a lesser used character in order to find him/her later when rewriting or editing.