Thursday, November 3, 2011

NaNoWriMo #4: Character Driven

There is nothing like a great character. Plot may be the story, but it’s the characters that make people fall in love with a novel.

Today’s first tip is from Caroline Leavitt, NYT bestselling author of Pictures of You, which is kind of a study in character development itself. Caroline is the author of nine novels, has been published widely in magazines and newspapers, is an instructor for UCLA’s online writing program, and a book critic for the Boston Globe and People magazine. You can read her blog, CarolineLeavittville, here; follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

“Stuck with character development? Think like the Rolling Stones song. You don't want to give the character what he/she wants, but if they try sometimes, they might just get what they NEED.”

Our second tip is from mystery writer Alan Orloff. Alan’s first novel, Diamonds for the Dead, was nominated for the Agatha Award for Best First Mystery Novel.  Killer Routine is the first in his Last Laff series, and the next book in the series, Deadly Campaign, will be published in January 2012. Alan is also an instructor at the DC area's magnet for writing, The Writer's Center. You can read Alan's blog here, and  follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

“Finding age appropriate character names – Looking for a “popular” name to call your 97-year-old great grandmother character? Or perhaps you’re thinking about naming a two-year-old character Bertha—is that name still being used today? When deciding on character names appropriate for different-aged characters, I use an online tool provided by the Social Security Administration ( ). Simply type in a birth year, and it lists the most common names, male and female, of people born in that year. Conversely, if you are considering a certain name, type it in and you’ll get a list of how that name has varied in popularity over the years. Pretty cool!  (By the way, Bertha hasn’t cracked the top 1000 names in the last 16 years. In 1911, it was the 36th most popular female name.)”

1 comment:

  1. What a great tool. Thanks for the tip. Found out my name is more popular in the last 10 years than my daughter's name. LOL