Sunday, November 21, 2010

Let me make myself perfectly clear

The bad news is – I am so far behind in NaNo I don’t think I’ll be able to make my 50,000 words by the end of the month. With the holiday coming up, it seems even less likely.

The good news is – there’s a good reason. Several in fact. I finished a manuscript, always a good reason to rejoice. A reader asked for a sequel to SILENT KNIGHTS and it got my head going. I wrote SLEEPLESS KNIGHTS, a MMM erotic romance, and it was accepted for publication. Whoo hoo! This one’s for you L. I don’t have a date yet, but stay tuned.

In the midst of this I got the edits back for POINT OF BEGINNING, the first book in my GENTLEMEN’S CLUB series. There’s a fair amount of work involved. Mostly due to the number of times I used the characters names. This got me thinking - and provided me with a blog post. How do you clarify who’s doing what without yanking the reader out of the story?

As a reader, I’ve been pulled out of the characters head, and the story, after seeing his/her name repeated too many times. As a writer, especially in stories with a lot of same sex characters, I don’t want to confuse the reader. Where do you draw the line?

I’m so close to the story, I know who everybody is, because I live with them and I see everything unfold in my head. But sometimes in the process of putting scenarios on paper they lose clarity. I over compensated and over used character names.

It helps to have someone’s objective and knowledgeable viewpoint. Thank God for a good editor. Right now I’m tagging my characters – adding more of their unique characteristics so readers can tell them apart without constantly seeing a name.

How do you differentiate the characters in your writing?

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Riley Quinn said...

Good question, Gale. I struggle with it a lot too, when I have several characters of the same sex. I think the trick is to make each voice distinctive enough that the reader knows. It's hard, but when we do it right, it's awesome.

Gale Stanley said...

You're right. I'm slaving over those edits now. I haven't seen the ms for awhile and that actually helps. I can look at it with fresh eyes.