Although I haven’t done a lot of writing on Cycles of War recently (read about it here), I have been working on it in a different sense. After picking out the most obvious grammatical errors, I decided to work on the characters. I created an excel spreadsheet for this – I really do love a good spreadsheet – that detailed the characters original name, job, physical description, which county they’re from etc. Not only will this make my life a lot easier when I properly start working on the book again, it’s been quite therapeutic too.
I suffer from the usual author syndrome of ‘forgetting what my characters look like’. I’m not even joking. In one of the first editions of my first book, Reality is in a Dream, Samson’s hair colour changed mid-way through the book. He was always blond in my head, so I don’t know why he then became brown haired at one point. Having a spreadsheet to reference all of this will stop mistakes like this from occurring, I hope!
It’s also been a great help in renaming a large percentage of the characters. There are tons more characters in this book than in the Liliana Trilogy. When I wrote Cycles of War during NaNoWriMo it was all very rushed, so most of the character names were taken straight off the top of my head. A few of them were my cousin’s names and others were friend’s kid’s names. Although they’re good names, they just weren’t right for the book, so I needed to change them.
I like all of my characters names to mean something, but they also needed to be relevant to the country that the characters were from. I haven’t managed this with all of them, but any characters from China aren’t simply going to be named Bob. I wrote a blog a while ago about researching names for characters, you can find it here.
The book is sci-fi/ adventure and involves space ships, though they’re not featured a lot. However, I needed to figure out names for each of the nine ships, and I wanted them to be as relevant to the country that they’re from as possible. This proved more difficult than I initially expected and some of the ships just ended up being named after certain space terms. Some are named after constellations that are most visible from particular countries though, so I really did have to research quite a lot for this one. I’m happy with the way that they’ve turned out though. Hopefully I won’t feel the need to change them again!
So, although I haven’t really added much to the story itself, I have spent many hours sorting out the characters and making sure that I’m happy with them. I still have a few names to work on and a few of the characters need physical descriptions, but I know that’ll all come to me when I sit down and look at it with a writer’s mind, not an editor’s mind.
Until the next time,
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