Wednesday, June 6, 2018

IWSG - Words and Wine


It's the first Wednesday of the month and time for another meeting of IWSG (The Insecure Writer's Support Group). This is the brainchild of the awesome Alex J. Cavanaugh and, in his words, has the following purpose:

"To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!"

To find out more or join in, head on over here!

I, along with  Beverly Stowe McClure,Tyrean Martinson, and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, are co-hosting this month. 

This month's question is (and answering is not obligatory). . .


What's harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names?


Every time I expected a child...

Huh, worded like that, it sounds like I had tons of kids! 

Restart!

A few months before each one of our four children were born, my husband and I headed out to a Gaststättethat's the German term for a quaint, more rustic type of restaurant, ordered something delicious (obviously), and drank a wine while jotting down all sorts of girls and boys names which we might want to bind to our future child for the rest of its life. In Germany, there are actually laws surrounding the names parents are allowed to give their children, so that does narrow down the list a bit. 

We weren't allowed to name our kids lovely things like Sunshine, Blue, Precious or anything else not fitting to a usual and acceptable name (either in English or German). 

I found it unfair, not that I'm the kind of person who would really name their kid Rainbow or anything. Still. . .

Luckily, character names don't fall under such regulations. Even in Germany.

In any case, after two wines, we always had narrowed down the list to two names—one for a boy, one for a girl (we always loved surprises).

And that was it. 

When naming my characters, I'd need at least a dozen glasses of wine. Some names fall from the sky right away. Others. . .  not so much. Let's just say that those name search sites and I have become very good friends. And yes, I would name a character Ice or Sunflower or Boat...hmmm...I better jot those down for future books.

Now, let's look at titles. These are an entirely different story. They drop into my lap like they were always intended to appear there. Often times, I even know the title before I have a real plot. 

And how many glasses of wine does it take to work out a plot. . .

Let's just say I've been blessed with a husband who enjoys making wine. Lots of it.


What about you? Are you a character name guru? Or are you a title genius?

Or do both leave you scratching your head???


I've been informed that not all comments are being posted or showing up below. If this is happening to you and you'd really like to say something, I can only suggested using a different browser (and hope it works). I've been fighting this problem for several months now, thought it was solved, but obviously, it's back to the drawing board!

63 comments:

  1. Your hubby makes wine - how cool is that! It's crazy that you can't name your child what you want. Although, maybe that helps some kids from being saddled with some truly awful names by their parents.

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    1. Lol! Some of his batches are more tasty than others. He likes to experiment (banana was not my favorite). There are some really awful names out there, aren't there?

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    2. I think I'd pass on the banana too :-)

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  2. Names are waaaayyyy easier. I'm always taking note of cool or unique names in my kid's school or from my older boys' circle of friends.

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  3. It was interesting to learn of Germany's rule about naming kids. I agree with The Cynical Sailor, it does protect the innocent from stupid naming decisions by their parents.

    Does your husband make red or white wine? How about beer? Certainly, helps smooth out plot twists!

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    1. My husband makes whatever his heart desires...rice, white, red, fruit. My favorite is plum. I'm actually going to try mead myself next week.

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  4. I had no idea about the laws re names - fascinating!

    Your husband makes wine? Hmm, maybe my husband needs a new career.... :)

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    1. It's amazingly easy! One just needs patience. It can take a few months.

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  5. Interesting they have laws about names.
    There's not enough wine in the world to help me with titles.
    And since I have no kids, four sounds like a ton of kids to me.

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  6. I've heard about those name laws. =) They're not the only country that has them.

    You know, I've never struggled with character names. Usually they come right to me. Sometimes they don't, and after a little bit of searching databases with name meanings (basing my choices on symbolism), I've got exactly what I need. My last kid though, we knew what we wanted her nickname to be. I had to dig deep to find the rest, but I think she ended up with the most beautiful name of all. (Emberly Alyssabel--pronounced with the same cadence as Elizabeth.)

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    1. Nope. They aren't. That is beautiful!!

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  7. I'm from German ancestry and never heard of the laws regarding names... Very interesting! And Bizarre! I appreciate someone who turns to wine for inspiration. I've made several inspirational decisions after a few glasses of Chardonnay. I'm just the opposite, though. Names are much easier than titles.

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    1. Chardonnay is an inspiration in itself.

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  8. Interesting there are laws regarding what to name your children. Is there a reason for that? Good to know wine helps with the decision!
    JQ Rose

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    1. I assume it's to make sure kids aren't stuck with ridiculous names. And unlike here in the U.S., it's not allowed to change your name (unless through marriage or adoption).

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  9. Like you, titles seem to be easier for me. I keep lists of them and they often inspire a story idea. Names I like to research, which can take time, but is something I enjoy.

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  10. Wow, I find it fascinating that a government would restrict the names like that, but I do understand the intent. I remember a lawsuit that came up many years ago about a couple that named their child (or tried to name their child) Evolutionist Abortion, which was seen as a type of child abuse. (And rightly so, I think, no matter what your political feeling about those words happens to be.) I wonder if the names I chose for my girls, Sedona and Micada, would have gotten nixed.

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    1. Yeah, the law is there to protect the rights of the kids (especially since name changes later on aren't really allowed). They do allow different names according to the culture of origin of the parents too. So it's actually more flexible than it first sounds.

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  11. Naming children is hard, you have to agree with your other half and consider that the poor mite will be stuck with it for the rest of their life. Characters on the other hand - you get to use all the names that your partner wouldn't let you use!

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    1. Oh the things we can do with characters! Almost makes me feel sorry for all that characters have to suffer ;) (Not really)

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  12. I think naming children is even harder than naming characters--after all, they'll be around for life while you can move on to the next book! That being said, I definitely struggle sometimes and could use some wine for the titles!

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    1. Lol! So true! I think the character names are harder because there aren't any real borders...too many possibilities. I wouldn't do that to my kids :)

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  13. Laws creating boundaries to naming kids...really? I had no idea. I do love how you included wine in your decisions. :D

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    1. And whiskey, and Baileys....Lol! Actually, I seldom drink much. This post is going to make me sound like a writing drunkard. Haha.

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  14. Wine is definitely required for decision making! I had no idea naming children was controlled by law in some countries - I'm intrigued enough to do some Googling on the subject. Thanks for co-hosting today!

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    1. I'm just not going to guarantee the decisions are always good ;)

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  15. I had no idea there were laws about naming children! I had some more unusual names picked out for my kid, but my husband wanted something everyday. Perhaps that was a good thing! Thanks for co-hosting today. :)

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    1. Lol! Husbands can definitely keep us grounded—not a bad thing.

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  16. I actually have a list of my already-used character names and go through saying "which alphabet letter has the least number of entries?" Thanks for co-hosting!

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  17. While I like to think I don't struggle with titles, it definitely varies from book to book. It's funny, but even though I have at least three long lists of names, I still find myself on name sites at least once every other story or so. Sometimes I need a Japanese last name. I don't have a supply of those.

    But I had no idea there were name laws in Germany! That's wild.

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    1. I love the idea of keeping a list of names. I'm going to try that.

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  18. How interesting! You make it sound easy. Maybe it's the glasses of wine. Note to self...

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  19. Germany has laws for names parents are allowed to give their children? I had no idea. Wow.

    I like your wine technique. ;)

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    1. It's considered more 'guidelines', but it's tougher than one would think. For example, Stacy or Pam wouldn't work since they aren't gender defining. Or Cain and Lenin are outs thanks to their 'negative' lean. Even odd spellings can be a no-no like Josephin without an 'e' is not allowed. Worse, there is no 'offical' list. Each area's official makes the decision by following their own best judgement.

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  20. How lucky the titles come easy for you! Maybe I should start coming up with titles after a glass of wine. Can't hurt! And thank you for co-hosting this month :)

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    1. Lol! A couple glasses of wine can create the most original titles too!

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  21. I finished the first draft of my story and I still hadn't chosen all the names for my characters. Talk about procrastination!

    Thanks for co-hosting IWSG this month!

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    1. Lol! I've done that! I give them initials. For example, MG = mean guy or MH = Main Hero.

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  22. I find naming characters easy. Usually because I have an idea of the kind of person they are, so I pick ones that relate to that.

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    1. Maybe that's my problem. I discover my character while I write.

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  23. Well, darn those Germans! LOL (And my father's family comes from Germany - Wittmeyer.) At least you get wine while you brainstorm.

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  24. Glad you get to be creative with character names!
    My husband and I struggled to narrow down our lists of names for our daughters . . . but eventually we decided, even though our youngest didn't get a middle name until a few hours after her birth. :)
    Happy Writing in June!

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  25. So, I'm going to be honest...I hope you're not mad....I may have stopped short of reading your whole post because I got sidetracked after your first paragraph. Okay, fine, I went back and read it, but really, I was still thinking about this: Gaststätte. Wah!! I miss Germany so much. I used to live there and when we lived on the economy, I walked out my front door and there was a Gasthous right across the street. Anyway, that has nothing to do with the IWSG, but I thought I'd share that tid bit with you. Thank you for co-hosting!

    Elsie

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  26. I'm not guru, but I'm not a slouch either. Somehow I name my charters without going so far as Rainbow, Blue, Stone, or Moonbeam. But I've got the rest of my life, so who knows what my characters will be called over the next decade. hehehe

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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  27. When I brought home a (used) baby name book, Hubs wondered if I was trying to tell him something. Since I'd already passed menopause, that wasn't a possibility of that kind of surprise. I wanted it for naming characters. Now, there are so many "baby name" sites I get lots of ideas. Thanks for co-hosting this month!

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  28. Thanks for co-hosting this month.
    I wish there were more restrictions on names in the US, but it's way to easy for some restrictions to lead to "you can't name your kid anything but this..."
    Sorry to hear your comments aren't showing up all the time. That would drive me crazy. I hope it works out for you eventually.

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  29. I didn't know there were laws regarding names in other countries.
    Maybe I should try title by wine. I have a working title for my WIP but know I will be changing it. I just hope inspiration will hit when that happens.
    Thanks for co-hosting.

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  30. Thanks for co-hosting today! Creating names is easier than titles for me. Sometimes they drop straight into my head. Other times I look up baby name meanings.

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  31. I didn't realize Germany had child-naming rules as well. I've heard of that in other countries. Not a fan. :) Titles are hard for me, but character names are fairly easy. I follow some rules. I like people to be able to remember who a character is if they appear a few chapters later, so I like them to stand out from one another (first letters, hard consonants, vowel starts, that kind of thing.)

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  32. Thanks for co-hosting. I did not know there were laws about naming anywhere. Wow. Enjoyed the story.

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  33. Wine . . . why didn't I think of that? A much less painful process. Great post, Tonja! Thanks for co-hosting this month. Sunshine . . . Rainbow . . . Hmmm . . .

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  34. In Germany they have rules about naming children? Good thing the writer Rainbow Rowell wasn't born in Germany, right?

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  35. Hi Tonja!
    Thank you for co-hosting the IWSG this month.

    I struggle with character names. My characters remain Mrs. B, Mr. X and Miss Y for a very long time.

    It seems like the magical formula for finding suitable names, is in the wine?

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  36. Oh wine, Tonja! I never thought of using wine. Sounds like a great idea. I'm a chocoholic myself. Bravo to you to have an easier time with titles. Yes, names can be persnickety. Hmm, I better find some wine--er--chocolate. That should do the trick.

    Thanks for co-hosting IWSG's June question. Sorry it's taken me so long to visit. My mom's been ill.
    http://victoriamarielees.blogspot.com

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  37. Character names for sure. Honestly, I wish we DID have some restrictions here. lol Thanks for co-hosting!

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  38. When naming my children, I wrote down a list of names and then my hubby picked from the list. We'd spend weeks, "How about this name? How about that?" Until finally we had it narrowed down. At first, the options were wide open, but eventually I noticed a pattern and the last few kids had much more narrow lists. (lol, sounds like I had a ton of kids, too! Restart: I don't have many more than you. ;) )

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