Lessons in creative writing.
Creating and naming characters in a story.
Sometimes the story itself can flow quite easily, it can, for example simply spring from an emotion or an experience while out and about.
Actually I remember an incident whilst I was out in my car which involved some people parked on the side of the road in a lay-by, at a local beauty spot eating sandwiches and crisps and all sorts.
The scene was quite awful, there was quite literally rubbish all around them in this beautiful viewpoint parking spot which they had strewn around all round the car, there were four of five children and adolescents running about, the parents were just sitting there in stripy deck chairs, just as if they were all at the beach.
It was quite unbelievable and made me so angry that the parents simply let the children thoughtlessly throw litter of all types, cans, bottles and crisp packets anywhere on the ground even though there were bins right nearby.
Of course I challenged them and they duly picked up the rubbish, somewhat reluctantly I might add.
However when I got home I was still seething and sat at our kitchen table, where I always sit every day to write the regulation 1,000 words of my own stuff, and I started to get the story down in a way that I thought might educate children, even if it was just one child not to throw litter down and what can happen if you do, this all came out into the story of Ruby & the Skinny Monkey, The Litter Bugs.
The litter bugs is set in a park and involves ruby and a baby swan getting an injury because of thoughtless littering.
Anyway getting back to the point of this article today, creating and naming characters in any story can be quite a difficult thing, a “Bert” might just not sound right in a story or a slightly ridiculous name might be perfect for a character.
Lessons in Creative Writing for me with my six children and three ( at the moment ) grandchildren and of course the most sensible person in my life, my wife, naming a new character is sometimes simply a case of reading an idea for a story to them all and asking for suggestions.
Lessons in Creative Writing small children tend to come up with names that rhyme with what the character, for example Daisy Duck and sometimes it can be that the name means something more loosely within a story, for example the fox in the Christmas Wish was named Fritz after the boy in the Christmas story “The Nutcracker” and Fritz Fox fits the bill for the children’s method of choosing, so a win win, and although the name of the character isn’t actually used in the final version of the published story it’s still there as I am writing the story.
When I’m writing a story I need to have pictures of the characters on the table in front of me, with their allocated names in order to move them through the story.
Without names I can’t write a story and so I tend to try and put all the characters together and almost like a board game I can physically put my finger on the picture of a character and move it around my storyboard.
When I do Author visits to schools it is a question I get asked over and over again by children and the answer is character names are so important to me I use a lot of ways of creating one and I think carefully about each and every name before I use it, the other thing is never be afraid to throw out a name even if you have written the whole story already.
My top tips Lessons in Creative Writing
for choosing character names is, read your story aloud to a room full of children and they will soon tell you if the name isn’t right.
If you’re an aspiring author you need to visit schools and read your stories to children, you will get total honesty, if its rubbish they’ll just tell you, if it’s good they will also tell you.