Today I’m blogging about what I’m working on now, and the importance of sharing your writing with others.
So, in between real life and family and editing for others, I’ve tried to slip in a bit of time to work on a fantasy novel I’ve completed, but now needs to be cleaned up and prepped for eventual publication. Part of this process involves sharing this work in progress with others, usually other writers.
Because they see things the author doesn’t. Think about some of those wrinkly old man baby pics you’ve seen–those parents believe that child is the most gorgeous creature on the face of the planet, but everyone else who looks at the photos (or the kid itself) cringes and forces a polite, fake smile.
“He is gorgeous,” the onlooker assures the proud parent.
“It’s a girl. Can’t you tell?”
“Maybe dress her in pink… for a while,” the friend suggests diplomatically.
That’s what other writers do for the author of the newborn novel. They gently guide the new parent into a better opening or turning the heroine into a strong woman instead of a whiny one or suggest the hero could be a tad… less obnoxious.
Or, in the case of my current WIP, point out the names of two main characters are confusing and I should change one of them.
The book I’m referring to (the first, unedited chapter can be read on my website, if you’re interested: TAMI LUND) is currently titled Brother Mine. It’s fantasy, takes place in a world created all in my head, where the inhabitants have slight magical ability but not too much as to create difficulties for me when I put them into dangerous/horrible situations. It’s about a woman who has been imprisoned in a castle for seven years, forced to be concubine to the king, who calls himself Diktator. Being his concubine involves performing some pretty heinous acts, and Taahira, my heroine, flees her gilded prison and swears she will never lie with another man ever again, for the rest of her life.
Until she meets Ash, the handsome would-be hero who wants nothing whatsoever to do with being such. Even after that initial spark of desire he feels when he first meets Taahira, he still insists he is no hero.
Time will tell, of course.
(PS – Here’s my inspiration for Ash. You can imagine Taahira’s vow will be challenged, after spending a bit of time with him, eh??)
At any rate, I’ve offered up the first chapter to a few writing friends, to make sure this book is potentially worthy of readers’ eyes one of these days.
Good news: So far, it’s a resounding yes!
Bad news: I need to change one of the character’s names. It’s too confusing. And nobody wants a confused reader, right?
Here’s what I started with:
Taahira – heroine who escapes the castle in the first chapter
Taavi – Taahira’s three-year-old daughter, and the reason she finally figures out a way to escape
Ash – the reluctant hero
Gable – the Diktator
Cachi – the old lady who helps Taahira and Taavi escape
Anybody see where the names might be confusing? Yeah, I know you do. Everybody does. Everybody but me. I just kept thinking Taahira and Taavi – people name their children names similar to their own all the time. Plus, I deliberately chose each name for their meanings.
Taahira means chaste, ironic given she’s had a child out of wedlock.
Taavi means beloved. It seems everyone in the book falls in love with this child for one reason or another.
Ash means happy, another ironic one, given he thinks he is so, until Taahira comes into his life and makes him question every decision he’s ever made.
Gable – okay, I’m not going to lie; I’m not sure what this one means. I think I just really liked this one. Although when I googled it for this post, I found out it means “man of God,” which is also fitting, considering Gable likens himself to the gods.
And finally, Cachi means bringer of peace, and she’s the one who helps Taahira escape.
So I’m sure you can see why I was hesitant to change either Taahira or Taavi’s names, despite friend after friend suggesting just that. I had spent a reasonable amount of time researching these names; I’ve been writing this book for over a year; I had become quite attached to the names I chose.
And let me reiterate: they had meaning. The meaning of their names has been woven into the storyline. A storyline that is currently 90 thousand words long. To make such a change was daunting, to say the least.
Luckily, I’m not a stupid writer. And I’m good at listening to advice and (usually) heeding it.
So name change it is.
I decided to change Taavi’s name. No particular reason, although now that I have, I honestly think I like her name better than Taahira’s. But damn it, I’m not going through this again! Well, not unless someone recommends I do…
I spent some time Sunday morning researching names, trying to find one I liked and that basically meant the same thing as Taavi (beloved). It couldn’t be a typical contemporary name, since this book takes place in a different world, and everyone else has unique, magical-world-sounding names (at least, in my head). Oh, and of course, the name can’t start with the same letter as any of the other main characters, nor can it sound like any of their names.
I found it! I found it! And it’s such a beautiful name, so perfect, that despite my initial reluctance, I’m so glad my friends convinced me to change one of the names.
Priya. It’s an Indian/Hindu name, and it means beloved. And I love it. How about you? Like it? Does it work for you? Read the excerpt on my website and then let me know.
Tami Lund likes to write and drink wine. She also loves romance, and writes happily ever afters, one book at a time. Keep up with her on social media, so you know when Brother Mine releases!