I figured I’ll do things a bit differently by saying that I am NOT a blogger nor a published writer. However, I am currently writing something, so I’ll talk about the magical wonders and other stuffs, experienced as a newbie writer.
First things first, lots of hugs and kisses to Fantasy Angel for inviting me to guest blog. It’s a very huge honour. But I’m not invited here to talk about just that, so I’ll get things started…NOW.
I’ve been writing since I was around 12. I started writing on my blog (I did have one and don’t bother to search for it because it doesn’t exist anymore) and gained quite a few followers that I’m proud to say they’re still with me. That, however, was in Mandarin.
This is my first attempt of a (no, I will not call it a book until it’s published), written in English. Well, not the first attempt of you count those ten-paged-and-counting short stories I’ve written for my English lessons when I was supposed to write a three-paged-essay.
One of the magical things I’ve experienced while writing is that the characters DO NOTHING I TOLD THEM TO. Not all the time and not each of them, mind you, but it happens.
Yeah, as a writer, you do get control of your plot, but as characters, they decide whether if they wanted to follow the pathway you’ve laid out for them. And every single time that happens, it surprises me, and I’m always in awe when I think of it.
My characters are really stubborn, and they usually do things without permission, so I’ve long since then try to worry about what would happen, and instead just sit back and watch (or write) what had happened.
I’ve something I wanted to share here, this experience of mine. I still think that it’s really creepy. But it makes me smile every single time.
Let’s turn the clock back a bit to the time where my current WIP’s idea was stuck in my head; to the time where naming characters was fun but difficult, in a way.
The first name I came up with was Ricky.
No particular reason, even though I suspected too much Japanese influence from the boys in my social circle (there’s a name in Japanese called Rikki). That name popped out in my head and I knew it has to be the name of one of my characters.
I’m the eldest child in the family. As the older sister, a part of me yearned the love and protection from an older sibling, even though it’s impossible. I’ve always wanted an older brother, but it’s impossible since I’m the first-born.
I wanted my female MC, whom I knew I would come to adore, have something I couldn’t have. That was where Ricky comes in.
He’s the older brother. Done. Now, I need a name for the sister.
In some of the Asian families (are you surprised? I did say I knew—and wrote—in mandarin), some of us have taken the habit to name the siblings with something similar. Be it the meanings, or the similarities in initials. I wanted Ricky to have a sister with a name starting with an R too.
I scrolled through some websites for the names in the “R” region, and settled for Roxanne.
Female MC, done.
Now for the other males, (they might or might not be my MC) I couldn’t decide between Ethan, Ryan, or Luke. (And other names but if I talk about them this will be miles long)
Luke/Lucas is a name I’ve always adored, and it seemed to fit, somehow. And there are enough names that started with an R in my story, so another male ended up being Ethan.
There are a lot more characters to name, but I’ll choose just these few to talk about.
Let me shine a little light to my characters.
Roxanne is the stubborn one. She gets what she wants with her own, brilliant ways. She isn’t afraid to show emotions, but she isn’t someone who would let feelings blind her.
Ethan is the pillar of the group, he’s about like Ricky, protective and supportive. He maintains a clear mind while facing troubles, and is very logical. On the rare occasion where he’s proven wrong, he is willing to admit to his mistakes, even if reluctantly.
Luke is the joker. He jokes about everything in every other impossible situation. He’s quick to flare, but he relaxes just as quick.
There are other characters, but like I said, I’m going to pick just the three.
Like I said, my characters are really stubborn.
After I’ve written few of my chapters, I decided to check the meaning of the names out of the blue. And this was what I got.
And indeed she is. She provides these new insights blind to other characters, and she’s so fun to write.
Another way to show how he’s the light of the group, brightening the atmosphere when the mood is dark.
And do I need more explanations?
Truth is, I’ve never really researched their meanings so much. I mean, Roxanne was chosen because of the R. What if Ricky wasn’t named “Ricky” but “Henry” or “Jake”? Roxanne would not be “Roxanne”, and the meaning (and possibly her personality) would change.
It’s somehow creepy that I’ve chosen the names before I knew what their personalities would be and yet they fitted so well.
It’s another magical thing that I felt that they could be real. That my characters are taking on a life of their own.
This isn’t me creating their story, it’s them telling me their story.
As a young writer, I’ve struggled through things I know everyone who writes struggle.
The fear of being not good enough.
The fear of being compared to others and being not good enough.
The need to please everyone.
I’ve one thing to say, and one thing only.
You’ll NEVER be good enough in life no matter how hard you try. No one is perfect.
It just means that there are always room for improvements, not that you’re not good.
You’ll never be as good as anyone else, and anyone else will never be as good as you.
Hammer that in into the brain.
And as for pleasing someone, oh, to HE-Double-Hockey-Sticks with that. Why do you write? Because you like it? Or because others like it?
If it’s because you like it, then, the most important thing is to please and enjoy yourself. I’m not saying that you should ignore constructive criticisms(especially to your betas—shout out to you lovelies), but during the first and second and however-long-you-feel-like drafts, please yourself first. Enjoy writing. Find the joy that had encouraged you to start in the first place and hang onto it until you are ready. (Not that I think we’ll ever be ready)
I’m still on my way, and I’m enjoying this opportunity to explore the magical thing about writing. More than 6 years and yet it hasn’t failed to amaze me.
Write your own story, and in the meantime, create your own joy in writing! 🙂
That’s all I’ve got for you guys before it becomes long and boring and you guys get tired of me.
Shoot me a shout out in the comments and Twitter if you’ve enjoyed this post, and I shall see you all again.
PS. to anyone who has the question: is your WIP diverse?
Here’s my answer: I’m Asian, and proud of it. What do you think? Would I acknowledge or abandon my heritage when I’m writing?
Lots of love,