NaNoWriMo2017: Day 2

day2

I’m off to a fine start on day 2, and it’s not over yet. I’ll upload an excerpt in a few days. Good luck to everyone out there who’s giving it a go this year.

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That which we call a rose

 

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When I started the not the same river project, there were no websites to help me find interesting names. There was no internet at all. It was the year Eastenders arrived on the telly. The year Roger Moore stopped pretending to be James Bond. The year the wreck of the Titanic was found. The year of Live Aid. The year we said hello to Keira Knightley, Lewis Hamilton and Wayne Rooney.

There were no websites at all.

There was no internet.

NO INTERNET!

If I wanted to play a computer game, I had to plug a cartridge into the back of the keyboard or use a tape recorder. If, as a writer, I wanted to find names for my characters, I watched the telly, listened to the radio, or read magazines. So as you’ve probably worked out by now, the year was 1985 (thanks Wikipedia).

My character sketches were simple and some of the names I came up with were pretty bonkers. Or at least they were back then. Having checked the Nameberry lists of popular names, I was surprised to find so many of my character names there (not just the bonkers ones). Even the car’s name is on there. Yes, cars can have names too.

So here’s where the names I chose rate in 2017 and where I got them from in 1985.

 

7. Silas – Silas Marner by George Eliot

18. My MC, Violet – named after one of my great aunts

20. Elizabeth – the childhood friend who inspired Violet

25. Caleb – from stories my grandad used to tell me in his Northern Irish accent (not from a book)

32. Elijah – a holy book

43. Soren – boy from infant school whose name I thought was Sorry for ages (I have never met another Soren, for which I am sorry)

51. Ezra – a holy book (nobody was called this in real life)

55. Archer – BBC Radio show, The Archers (nobody was called this in 1985)

57. Daniel – childhood friend’s brother

61. Adam – biblical first man

62. Luke – Star Wars

76. Magnus – Magnus Magnusson

78. Serafina – childhood friend’s cat

79. Wesley – boy from school

87. Gabriel – archangel

101. Harvey – childhood friend’s massive dog (think it was a Boxer)

125. Noah – guy with the ark

154. Amos – Seth’s sidekick on Emmerdale (nobody under the age of 70 was called this)

180. Eden – a holy book

186. Arlo – I was convinced I’d made this name up because everyone, EVERYONE, told me it wasn’t a real name in 1985, but I guess I must’ve heard it somewhere.

322. Albert – German royal family (only old men were called this)

325. Piper (female only) – my Piper is male – Pied Piper of Hamlin story (simply was not a name in the UK)

341. Mara – Irish folklore

388. Seth – ITV show, Emmerdale (or as it was known back then, Emmerdale Farm)

404. Benedict – an order of monks who made a herbal liquer (Cumberbatch was still in short trousers)

419. Rhiannon – Fleetwood Mac song

461. Leia – Star Wars

760. Goldie – included because it’s the car’s name – a gold Ford Capri, named after Goldie Hawn

807. Jed – The Beverly Hillbillies (old man name)

 

Other character names not on Nameberry (some for good reason)…

Kite – type of bird from the Osiris myth (Egypt)

Jess – Postman Pat’s cat

Boxer – because he’s a pugilist

Old Bones – because he’s an augur

War – because he’s the son of the angel of peace – 32 year old irony at work

Cedar – tree

Maggie – Maggie Philbin (who had terrible hair for at least a decade)

 

It’s great that there are so many resources out there to help us find interesting or authentic names for our characters. It’s greater still when you discover later that the names you chose have greater significance for the characters and their arcs than you first realised. I love those discoveries.

Nameberry

Photo Archive

Some old photos from my corner of Kent.

Chatham Riverside. Taken on Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim film camera.1908347548_d7fc659f7a_b

Welcome to Chatham2052594385_e42dbebd2b_b

Magpies on Rochester Castle walls2198594046_42769af77b_b

Shopping ghosts2219084371_c4536a94de_b

Tap N Tin. Chatham.2224674294_dcc919fd5f_b

Six Books

i wrote six books by accident

Today is the third anniversary of a very special beginning. It was the first time I’d taken part in a NaNo event. More importantly, I wrote the first words of a writing project that had been brewing for thirty years.

That first book evolved into more. A second, a third. Definitely no more than four. Or six.
Today I’m writing the closing scenes of the sixth book. I’m wrecked. I’m overjoyed obviously. But also there’s fear. I’m almost done. I’ll have to do something with these books now that I’ve written them. There’s also a desperate sense of loneliness because I’ve been living with these people of mine for so long. As long as nobody forces me to interact with *gulp* real people, we’ll be good.

So there it is. Three years. Six books.

Now what?

NaNoWriMo: Day 19

So I typed these words today.

the-end1

The end of part two came a bit faster than I thought it would. It leaves me somewhere between a tiny pickle and extreme happiness. I’m only at 43.5 thousand words, leaving me 6.5 thousand short of the NaNoWriMo target. This in itself is not a problem. Book four is ready to go. It doesn’t have a full outline yet, but I know where it starts and I know where it ends. I have some early scenes well-outlined. I don’t foresee any problems with wading straight in.

The problem begins when I try to stop writing at the end of November, which I will have to do, since the end of November heralds the start of December. December is the time for cleaning frantically, watching shitty movies that would cause me to kick my telly in the face at any other time of the year, and pretending that I’m going to make all that Pinteresty stuff. I’m totally going to make all the things this year. So yes, I’m going to start enthusiastically writing a new book later today, then after eleven days, I’m just going to stop. I’m not going to stop, am I? My house will look like Primark on Boxing Day. But it’s okay really, I’ll be way too happy to notice.

 

NaNoWriMo: Day 18: Sneaky peeky

mount-everest-413

Another first draft extract from book 3. The scene is a long one so I’ve just included a few paragraphs about the experience. Violet finds herself in the Himalayas for what War calls “pinballing” but the local wildlife has to get used to their presence first.

The sun cast its gold over the mountains in the distance, dripping down slowly like yolk from an egg, swallowing the shadows made by the mountain beneath my feet. Part-buried lumps of snow-striped rock leapt from the mountainside like giant, angular zebras. Wispy clouds hung above them like puffs of breath.

*****

I was about to ask who they were when I heard them. Just a few at first, warbling and chittering. Fat little birds, round and speckled, with pale brownish bodies, veering towards a rusty red at their upturned tails. Then more came, chirruping and whistling so fast they vibrated. A wall of puffy little birds, yellow diamond mouths open in chorus, sang to us. In the mountains. Musicals begin this way.

*****

“What are all these other birds?” I said, waving my hand delicately to our left, trying not to offend anything. I turned at movement behind us. “And what the hell is that? Is it a yak?”

A golden, shaggy thing stood on the rock above us, about twenty feet away, all horned and majestic.

“Some kind of goat, I think. Or maybe a sheep. But those over there…” He pointed to our right. “Those are yak.”

They looked like horned, black cows that had been over-fed, squashed until their shoulders humped over, then draped with shaggy carpet. They slouched away, unimpressed. The majestic enormo-goat still stood behind us, staring down in silent rebuke.

“So what are the birds?” I said.

“Do I look like David bloody Attenborough to you?”

*****