Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Insecure Writers Support Group - September 2012




I'm not feeling insecure about my writing this month.  I've spent the summer working out characters, plot, and setting for four historical novels.   Today all of my children will (finally) be  back to school, so I can start working on it daily - and not just in my mind. 

I still have a lot of research to do on the historical details, but I'm ready to start writing even if that only means typing up outlines and doing character sketches for the next few days. 

I'm going to go ahead and dive into one of the novels, the one that is probably going to be the last in the series, the most recent chronologically, simply because I don't have as much research to do for it.  And I can see the story from beginning to end.  I can't wait to write it,  but I haven't fully committed to character names.  Today they are getting names even if I have to change them later.

While I don't feel insecure, I am feeling more than a little overwhelmed at the size of this project.  But I'm certain I can pull it off if I take it one chapter at a time and once I figure out how to organize the research aspect of it. 

If you've ever worked on a series, did you manage it one book at a time or plan all of them up front?  Anyone else struggling with character names?  If anyone has done historical research for novels, how did you organize it so it didn't take over your desk?

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Thanks again to Alex J. Cavanaugh for hosting this monthly event.

37 comments:

  1. It sounds like you're on a roll. Coming up with character names is an excruciating process to me!!! I always want them to stand out without being so unique that it confuses the reader.

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    1. I want to be historically accurate without reverting to stereotypes for Appalachian names, like Bubba or Billy Bob.

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  2. So far I've only planned one series. Usually a story starts as only the first book for me. Then as I learn more about the characters and so forth, the story gets bigger... and bigger...
    Oh, and everything takes over my desk. In fact, I currently can't see my desk. I'm no help, am I? ;)

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    1. Mine started as one too, but over the course of the summer it grew. :) Somehow my desk is a magnet for my kids' things - a bead bracelet, a toy thermometer, a paper with stickers on it that I think was a special gift for me, a Star wars book. I'm going to scoop it all into a bowl and let the kids pick out what's theirs.

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  3. Good luck continuing to work on the novels while the kids are at school. You definitely are the queen of multi-tasking! Julie

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  4. I'm starting to think writing a series will be more difficult than I thought! I need to write book 3 then go back and adjust books 1 and 2 to fit!

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    1. The adjusting is what I'm worried about. I'd rather plan it out before I get too deep into the writing.

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  5. Tonja, it's great to hear you are in a good place today!
    Starting with the last one makes sense. And if you don't nail the names today, just leave a blank. (You should've seen me fill in the blanks a few weeks ago - I needed a lot of names!)
    You can do it. You've been planning this for so long. And you're excited. Nothing can stop you!

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    1. Thanks, Alex. I think I'm going to do a preliminary name and then find and replace later if necessary.

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  6. I am writing a series, and while I have an overall arc in mind for the main character the story details are as muddled as ever in my mind right up until I write them. I really only see a few feet ahead of me when I write and so every day is a challenge.

    Glad to hear you're ready to go!

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    1. I can't put a word on the page until I know the ending. The middle can be muddled, but I can't seem to start without a plan.

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  7. Write on!! I have two of three books out right now in a trilogy. The third one is written and with editing...it's sad to see it come to an end, but I'm glad. Writing a trilogy was really fun. Plus, I have another one coming out, so it's just onto another set of characters. Woot!! Write on!

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    1. Mine is a little on the dark side, so it's fun in an emo kind of way. It has turned out to be more difficult to get rolling this morning than I imagined.

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  8. Oh, Tonja, so excited for you. My current project seemed overwhelming to me at first, but I just worked on one aspect at a time and it's beginning to come together.
    Karen

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    1. I was kind of freaking out this morning, but I finally got my desk clean and have organized my notes. I'm feeling excited again.

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  9. Congratulations! I'd love to write a historical -- just one, but the thought of all that research intimidates me. I can't imagine a series! I hope you'll blog about writing your series... I'd love to learn the who, what, when, where and why and how of it all. :)

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    1. I'm definitely going to post about the research. And my research adventures. Apparently I need to go to the main branch of the public library in downtown Cincinnati to look at any documents I want to see. Hardly anything in the history section is available at the branches or online. Frustrating.

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  10. As I wrote the first book, the rest of the series sort of opened up for me and fell into place for KOTF. For another series I have, I'm just now starting to map out the direction of the follow-on books.

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    1. I started one of the stories at the beginning of the summer on vacation - just jotted it down in a journal. It's been stewing in my head since then, and the other stories developed from there.

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  11. Wow, seems like lots of writers are busy with a series of sorts...
    Good luck with the character's names. I also seem to battle with this issue.

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    1. I made a list of first names from my family tree two generations back and higher. Then I mixed and matched with last names I want to use. I came up with some names I really like. And some potentially awkward ones.

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  12. I have plans for a series and I vaguely know what will happen in the later books, but I am writing the first one first. I like to do things in order. Although in the writing process I do like to skip scenes and come back to them later, so maybe that's not totally true... best of luck in your project!

    Allison (Geek Banter)

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  13. You had me at 'I'm not insecure this month' YEAH!!!!

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  14. It is good to hear that you have completed your research Tonja. I hope writing the novels goes well!

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    1. Actually I've barely started. I have enough done to get started on one.

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  15. I cheat and have my brother do my historical research. :D He floods my inbox. That's OK though.

    For the Backworlds series, I take it one book at a time. I always envisioned that more like a TV show. I see no real end for it.

    For the other series, I had roughly planned the series. But now that I'm working on book #2 and book #3 is starting to brew more substantially in my mind, the ideas need to become more concrete. And I changed my mind on a big element in the series. Fortunately it doesn't at all effect the first book. Fortunate since I'm editing it right now.

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    1. I'm hoping my daughter will help me out some. I would think the technology research to be a nightmare for sci-fi.

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  16. Wow, that IS a big project! Good for you! I love how positive and dedicated to your work you are. You are gonna ROCK this!

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  17. You sound so organized, I'm impressed! I don't do historical but I do have to research things for my novel that I don't have much knowledge of. As far as character names, my MC has remained the same, but a side character that has been disappearing in importance with each revision has had her name changed 3 times!

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  18. I'm working on a series, too. I am writing on the 4th now, but I wouldn't consider the others completely finished yet. I haven't done a thorough edit on them. Best wishes with your trilogy. I was born and raised right across the river from Louisville in Indiana:)

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  19. I'm working on a series right now. I planned them out one at a time with a general idea of how it all shall end.

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  20. Good luck with your series!

    Usually I have book one down and a vague notion of the books after it (usually beginnings and ends). I do take notes as I go, though. It makes it much easier to remember things.

    As for names, some I know right away and some get names as I go. :)

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  21. I'm feeling overwhelmed with the self-publishing process.

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

    http://seconhandshoesnovel.blogspot.com/ Made mention of you today.

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  22. Most my novels are stand alone, so when I started a sequel to Embrace I continued with the character's lives. I'm sure trilogies are much different. If I every wrote one I'd probably have several plot points noted for each book.

    As for names, if I don't have them when I start a new project, I will by the end of the first chapter. I get tired of typing MC, BFF, Cute Guy, etc. :)

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