What’s In A Name? A Guide To Naming Your Fictional Characters

I’ve had this saved in my drafts for almost 2 years now #lazy. After two years I figured that I should finally right and this blog post. Actually, I’m using the dictation feature on my iPhone while I’m in the car with my dogs waiting for my husband to come out of the grocery store.

Dictation is a success. Dick Dick Dick Dick Dick Dick Tatian. That was me playing with the feature. Haha. Dick!

On to the point because I hate when bloggers tell me about their lives before they get to the recipe.

As someone who writes fiction, I often get asked where do you come up with the names for your characters? For some reason, people seem to be really baffled by the fact that you can make up a name for a fictional person even though there are millions of them in the fictional universe.

 

 

 

Here are some pointers.

1. Keep it simple

My characters all have simple, meaningless names. Rex. Alex. Evelyn. Aaron. Kat. Autumn. Chris. Craig. Claire. Gavin. Holden. Jack. Lola. Candy.

You’re going to be typing these names a lot. What would you rather type several hundred times…Jack or Balthazar?

 

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Don’t be Rose. Don’t let go of Jack.

 

The most complicated names I have in my book series, which has a lot of characters are Jeanette and Deirdre. They might have to die.

Also, names don’t have to mean anything. Mine sure as hell don’t. The majority of the names I’ve used in my fiction are from this site.

This rule might not apply if you’re writing a fantasy novel. If that’s the case, go nuts. It’s what the readers want and expect from a fantasy novel.

A murder mystery set in the 1930s wouldn’t have the same type of names that a fantasy novel would. The one-off short, horror novellas I churn out on occasion are full of characters who are going to die in a few pages anyway. What’s the point in investing in typing out some crazy ass name for 5 pages when you’re just going to kill them anyway?

Readers are going to get frustrated with hard to pronounce names or names that don’t fit the narrative. Also, flowery, overly descriptive writing, including names reads like your seventh-grade portfolio or that you’re trying too hard. Neither one is cool.

Just a friendly reminder you will never be this cool.

 

2. Be original

By this, I don’t mean unique. I mean don’t blatantly rip off another character’s name. Don’t name your hero Wayne Bruce or your female character Scarlett.

Bonus: avoid naming a fictional character after a real person. It’s lazy. Unless you are writing historical fiction about a real historical figure. However, naming characters after cities, towns, counties, and streets is fine.

3. Don’t over think it

Insert cliché here. It’s not rocket science. Think about all the crappy books out there and the crappy books you’ve read. If those bonehead authors can come up with names for their characters, so can you.

Sincerely,

Another bonehead author

 

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These Silicone Sponges Are The Way Of The Future

You know you’re almost thirty when you write about how much you love a certain cleaning product. In this case, it’s a sponge-like tool that will completely transform the way you clean.

I’ve reached that point and am okay being here.

Heads up, your old-fashioned yellow sponge is so 2017. It’s 2018, guys. If we can launch a car into space for the hell of it, we can create something better to clean our hand washable dishes with.

Technology prevailed and these silicone sponges will change your life. I came across these magical lil’ scrubbers while doing what I do best… browsing Amazon and looking for the best and most practical deals and products.

These aren’t your classic sponge, but instead are what I would describe as a “cleaning tool.” For the sake of this post they are sponges because that’s what they are called on Amazon.

Instead of dropping $9 on some cute sponges at Target that will only last a few uses before they get stained with tomato sauce and get covered in wet, melted taco cheese, I pressed “add to cart” and never looked back. These will theoretically last years and years versus only a few uses. I’ve had these since December and use the one pictured below daily and it still looks brand new.

We take our dish cleaning seriously

Right now I dare you to go into your kitchen and take a whiff of your sponge. It’s okay…I’ll wait.

Gross, right?

Think about all that bacteria in those little grooves having bacteria sex and smelling up the joint.

With these silicone sponges, there is no smell. None. Nada. Because silicone is antimicrobial and won’t hold smells or grow bacteria. These babies stay efficient and smell free even after scrubbing hardened protein pancake batter off a KitchenAid mixer metal bowl.

Without sounding like an early 2000’s infomercial, THERE’S MORE!

Not only are these used for washing dishes, they are heat resistant and can a potholder, a coaster for hot beverages, cleaning fruits and vegetables, cleaning makeup brushes, your child, your dog, your own body (see the photo of my shower caddy below), and whatever else you want to scrub all bacteria and free of that awful musty, moldy sponge smell that belongs in a basement that hasn’t been cleaned since the 70’s.

Do yourself and everything you clean a favor, send your sponge back to hell where it belongs and buy these. If I can order Starbucks with a 2 inch robot (Echo Dot) from my bed, we can take better care of the stuff we put food in.

This sponge can stay, though. The memes are too good.

Halloween Special: 80’s Horror Movie Posters

Movie posters and DVD covers aren’t what they used to be. Since digital streaming and media have rightly taken over, the stylistic approach to cover art is, well a lost art. This can also be attributed to the VHS vs. DVD war and many VHS companies going out of business.

This led to many movies never getting a DVD or digital release and now only exist in dusty attics, on the shelves of collectors and in the memories of 80s and 90s kids.

Kids today won’t know the special feeling of walking through a video store horror section and glancing upon these masterpieces of fright and getting scared. When I was a kid, I told myself I would watch as many of these “grown up” and “scary” movies as I could when I grew up because I’m an adult and I can watch scary movies.

Soon I learned most of these movies are complete crap (just being honest) and were marketed based on their posters and video box art. Back when I used to work at Blockbuster (if you are under fifteen and read this, look it up and get a free history lesson) I called them “poster movies”.

Seeing these posters and cover art photos is pure nostalgia for me and many others from about twenty-five and up.

Take a trip down video store memory lane today because nothing says Halloween like some cheesy horror.

 

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Shoutout to young George Clooney in this one

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#TEASER TUESDAY For My Upcoming Release “Halloween House Party”

 

Halloween House Party

I made dis.

Halloween House Party is another short horror novel from my twisted mind. The book will be up for pre-order within the next week (I’ll keep you posted).

Twin brothers, Chris and Craig along with their roommate Goober have been planning a blowout Halloween party for months. It’s their senior year of college, their last time to really throw down.
When an unfortunate accident meets wrong place at the wrong time, the boys are determined not to let the setback literally crash their party. As the Halloween shenanigans continue, an escaped psycho killer joins the party for his own breed of murderous fun.

This exclusive teaser will only be available for a limited time!

Continue reading

Harsh Truths Millennial Women Need To Hear

Cue “Controversy” by Prince.

This really doesn’t need an intro. Here we go…

You Are Not A Princess

There are legit Princesses as in a member of a royal family. You are a not a princess on your wedding day, at the prom, at a salon or other venue that offer “princess packages”, or any other time. UNLESS YOU ARE AN ACTUAL PRINCESS. You are not your Daddy’s little princess. You should not tell your husband to treat you like one. Instead, you should be wise enough not to marry a man who treats you like shit so you never have to tell him to treat you like the princess you aren’t.

Dude, I’m a grown woman. I’m married, I drink wine, I have sex, I clean up dog poop, I go to work, I regularly attempt to replace my blood with coffee, I vote, I have a 401-K, I take birth control pills, I cuss, etc. I don’t want to me treated like I’m anything other than a grown woman.Telling your daughter she is a princess will only create a sense of entitlement and selfishness in their adult life. Playing princess dress up is one thing, but treating a girl like she’s a china doll is going to backfire.

The Disney Glorification Is Overrated  (You Are Also Not A Disney Princess)

Disney movies are fun and nostalgic. Lately, millennial women have been glorifying Disney and its princesses all over social media. I love Cinderella and Ariel, too. I also realize they are cartoon characters and I will never have a talking flounder fish friend or mice who wash dishes with me. You betcha I have an Ariel shirt, but I realize I’m not an actual mermaid princess. The over sexualization of these characters is horrifying.  Last time I checked, Snow White wasn’t sexy. She is a victim and a glorified maid to seven dwarfs. That’s not a life to strive for.

Also, these people who repeatedly spend thousands going to Disney World need a lobotomy. Have you been to Disney World? It’s hot, overpriced, crowded, and pretty much the same rides for the past twenty plus years. Take your kids somewhere else for another experience. They will remember it more fondly than the fifteen times they’ve been to Disney World. If you have the means to take your family to Disney year after year, you can afford to go somewhere else for half the price. I am saying not to take your kids to Disney World? Not at all. Go for it! I don’t get the obsession, attraction to go to the same place over and over again, or the glorification of it all. I have been to Disney several times and each time was before my thirteenth birthday. By that age, I’d had my fill of Disney and was ready for another experience. While I loved Disney as a kid, I’m over it.

Mickey And Minnie Mouse Welcome Everyone To Hong Kong Disneyland Resort

GIVE US ALL YOUR MONEY AND YOUR SOUL!

 

Getting Married Is Not An Accomplishment

A friend once said to me, “I’ve worked much harder getting through college than I have to get engaged.” She was absolutely 100% correct. Note: you shouldn’t have to try to get engaged/married. It will either happen or it won’t. Forcing a relationship doesn’t work. Getting married is a right passage, not an accomplishment.

 

Being Irresponsible Is Not Cute

Remember on Sex and the City when Carrie couldn’t afford her apartment because she spent all her money on shoes? Not cute. Remember, fictional characters who have it all together are not as entertaining.

 

“Adulting” Is Not Hard

This ties into our culture of praising being irresponsible. Sure, the occasionally “adulting” joke is funny, only when it doesn’t have a basis in reality. Making a sarcastic remark about going to the gym, eating spinach, and doing your taxes all in one day has a place. “Adulting” simply means doing what you have to do to survive and it’s completely normal. Going to work? Not hard! Paying bills? Suck it up, buttercup. It’s called life.

 

Marilyn Monroe Is Not A Good Role Model

Misquoting other women over a picture of Marilyn on Pinterest is cheap. This recent phenomenon of Marilyn worship on social media has led to an even more tarnished legacy for Monroe and those who are misquoted with her image. The only reason Marilyn Monroe is such an icon today is because she looks good on tin signs and posters. And died young. Harsh, but true. A drug addict who slept her way to the top only to screw it all up by being irresponsible, unprofessional, and disrespectful to colleagues by showing up late and on drugs is not someone to look up to. Ring a bell, Miss Lohan? Honestly, Carrie Bradshaw is a better role model. You know who actually is a good role model? Audrey Hepburn.

 

The Day The Music Died

This afternoon, I decided it was way past time to run a system clean and scan on my MacBook. I only really use it for writing, web surfing, and the occasional illegal streaming this is something I often neglect to do. As someone who hates clutter even in the digital form, this is something I should do more often. I was looking through my desktop folders and clicked on one I haven’t taken the cursor to in some time…the music folder.

Anyone who grew up in the age of LimeWire, Napster, Kaaza, and later iTunes has this folder. At one time, it was probably the most cherished folder on the whole desktop. You spend hours and bandwidth downloading those awesome songs you heard on TRL that you have HAVE to hear again and again only to get computer herpes from the sketchy programs you downloaded them from in the first place.You do a virus scan only to learn the MP3 Willa Ford-I Wanna B Bad is actually a Trojan Horse Virus. So, you’ve lost your sweet jams AND will probably have to get a new computer because it’s 2002. Sidebar: I literally destroyed a computer from burning too many CDs. Sorry, Mom. I believe I’ve made it up to you by not being a complete dumpster fire of a person. Also, all the CDs you burned with aforementioned sweet jams are scratched to hell and barely play because you threw them around and dropped your Walkman portable CD player a million times. Repeat process for another ten years.

 

Kids today with their iPads and safe spaces will never know the struggle.

The chronic CD burners of yesteryear will also no longer have this struggle thank to literally every song we could ever want being in an overpriced brick we sometimes use to make phone calls.

Today, I came to the sad realization that I no longer need megabytes of MP3s taking up valuable space on my computer. An MP3 I’ve had for over a decade is virtually and literally worthless. All those Ja Rule songs that are older than both my nieces and nephew are the computer version of space junk. With a touch of a button, I can re-live my early and mmid-2000s music shame via the majesty that is Spotify in my car, at the gym, on my TV, at work, etc.

I still remember the day LimeWire was shut down by the government. It was one of the darkest days, and the end of an era. I was a few days shy of my twenty second birthday, sitting in my mom’s sunroom and most likely hungover and over-caffeinated looking to download the new My Chemical Romance album. That also happened to be their last complete album before breaking up. Looking back, this should have been a sign the heyday of the 2000s were no more. Almost twenty-two year-old me was devastated she couldn’t illegally download MCR like she could when she was sixteen. A part of me died that day, along with LimeWire. A jovial and computer-infecting pastime was lost to the theoretical man who finally won. So I shelled out $2.12 to iTunes and got my MCR songs. That was the day I truly began my descent into adulthood.

 

Today, I finish that journey by removing 17,685,980,852 bytes (yes, that’s not a typo) of MP3s from my hard drive. So long Avril Lavigne, Jessica (and Ashlee) Simpson, Christina Aguilera, NSYNC, Good Charlotte, Simple Plan, Sum 41, MCR, and others. I’ll catch you on the nostalgia tour in a few years.

Why I Write What I Write (And Don’t Hold Back)

This week, my second book and first full novel was released on Amazon. Yay me! (I guess… waiting for the inevitable bad reviews.) I didn’t want to self-publish my book and be an indie author. The label of indie can either be cool or pretentious crap, depending on your tastes. Since I don’t write pretentious crap, I suppose that makes me cool.

I still feel like a failure because I didn’t get an agent and a shiny book deal. In a sea of generic romance novels, predictable mysteries, over-detailed, dull dribble, and the ever-popular young adult novels set in dystopia, I honestly didn’t stand a chance. Now, here we are. I guess I’ll just have to get over it. I got over a hundred rejections AND actually had an agent tell me by book wouldn’t sell. Writing books is hard, guys.#DestinedForMediocrity

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Me trying to get my book published.

There’s no denying ebooks are the future, and the future is now. I don’t have to look up an article to prove that traditional book stores are slowly dying. It’s sad, but it’s the reality of what is happening in the world of publishing. Books and bookstores are great. So is technology and capitalism, two things we know always win. Amazon has a clear monopoly on ebooks and e-readers, and no one wants to admit it. No one knows this more than authors, both traditional and indie. Both of my books are exclusively available on Amazon and always will be. I’ve read similar sentiments from many authors stating they’ve had no sales or minimal sales on iBooks and Nook (Barnes and Noble), to the point where they don’t even list their books on those sites. Smashwords, an exclusive indie book site is probably the second most popular ebook site for indie authors. This should also worry traditional publishers. Many writers, including several previously agented authors are going the self route because it’s easier, you get more creative freedom, and often more money unless there is an advance. From what I’ve gathered, advances are getting smaller or publishers aren’t even offering them.

What’s interesting to me is that the agents claim to want “fresh, unique writing” in whatever genre they accept. But, end up signing the types of books I mentioned earlier. Let’s face it, all literary agents want is to find the next Hunger Games and get their percentage of the earnings. What’s interesting about this is the books that are being traditionally published aren’t the most popular on Amazon. You know what sells on Amazon?

Also, horror, murder mystery, romantic suspense, and still, young adult. There are indie authors selling millions of copies I wish I could write a generic YA novel and start counting my cash, but I can’t. The old adage “write what you know” rings true. From my experience, you can’t write what you don’t read which is why you’ll never see me write an erotic romance novel or a YA novel. I write murder, weird relationships, anti-heroes, psychopaths, violence, sex, drinking,  swear words, gangsters, historical fiction, characters who have bad days, characters who have nosebleeds during sexual acts (SPOILER), characters who vomit up champagne outside of nightclubs (SPOILER AGAIN), and zombies who attack a wedding…you know, stuff I know and enjoy.

I like to say, without sounding like a dad trying to be cool that I keep it real. By real, I mean my characters who barf, get nosebleeds, and say “the f word” when they are being chased by zombies. Someone left me a bad review because a fictional character said the dreaded “f word”. Boohoo, a fictional character offended you! If you’ve offended someone with your writing you’re doing something right, it shows you’re passionate enough to tell the truth.

It blows my mind in a world where everyone is offended by almost everything, that we don’t get worked up by the gratuitous violence on television. It’s okay to show murdered hookers on CSI. It’s okay to kill kids and bash in heads with barbwire-wrapped baseball bats on The Walking Dead, It’s okay to do pretty much everything on Game of Thrones. If all of those things are okay, books should be no different.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll get back to writing murder mysteries set in the 1930s that will probably offend someone.

My Book “Live Fast, Die Pretty” Is Now Up For Pre-Order On Amazon PLUS A SPECIAL TEASER COMING TUESDAY 1/17!

You can now add Kindle Scout reject to my resume. Oh well, such is the evil game of writing. Kids, don’t write books, it’s hard. Do drugs instead (LOL J/K). Still, editing your own work is still 100 times worse than the constant stream of rejection. After so long, you get used to it and become so dead inside and immune to it that even shoving ungodly amounts of French Toast Sticks down your word hole loses its charm.

I recently discovered the hashtag on Twitter #TeaserTuesday and thought I’d try it out in order to see (1. if it works, and (2. for disgusting shameless self-promotion which has pretty much become my life.

If you want to check out my book, you can here. Come back Tuesday for a teaser…IF YOU DARE! *insert evil laugh*

Be sure to bring your own French Toast Sticks, I ain’t sharing.

Murder, Murder Everywhere

I’ve created a true crime blog because why not? Who doesn’t love a good murder story?

There’s a reason why people love redundant cop dramas and shows like Wives With Knives; we have a morbid, yet normal fascination with the horrific things other people do to one another. Fictional detectives also make old people feel safe, knowing Mark Harmon is putting away bad guys helps middle America sleep at night.

For a twice weekly dose of murdery goodness, check out amurdermostfoul.com. If you are a part of the toxic Internet wasteland that is Twitter follow the blog @AMMFBlog.

Now, I present hipster John Wayne Gacy.

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