Naming Things – Characters, Towns, and Files

I suck at naming things.

Okay, maybe not everything. I think we found the perfect name for our son. However, my husband, who I think is a genius at naming things was heavily involved.

One thing you might not know about Stacie is that she hates it when you decide to change a character’s name mid-book. So of course, The Tuesday try not to do that. I have done it though. C’mon, we’re all trying to find the next Katniss, right? In my current WIP my main character has been named Ana, Abra, and Fia. In the current rewrite, I’m thinking of changing it – AGAIN. (Please don’t kill me, Stacie.)

I have resorted to name generators. Google them. They’ve got fantasy name generators or ones where you can pick the nationality of your character. It can be helpful or a time suck.

There are some great old books like this Nicknames and Sobriquets of US Cities, States, and Countries. Sobriquet? Fancy work for nickname! (Try and use that in a sentence this week, and let me know what happens!) Published in 1979, this book gives nicknames of cities all around the US. Delray, where is where I live, is also known as, Florida’s Dissimilar Resort, The City in Florida with a Difference, The Island of Distinctive Resort Life, and the Luxurious City of Traditional Simplicity. Or how about this book? www.tuesdaywriters.comHandbook of Pseudonyms and Personal Nicknames published in 1982. Here’s an example: Lippert, Thomas Ray (1950?-) American Kidnapper – The Love Kidnapper. Just looking through these books can give a lot of story ideas.

Now for the real reason for this post. I rewrote the plot for my current WIP, shared it at critique group over a month ago, and now I can’t find it on my computer. What you need to know is that I work in Google Docs. Everything is automatically saved. However, Google lets your start a new document and saves it for you without requiring a name. You know what? That doesn’t really matter though, because I wouldn’t have named it something as easy as Plot – Flying Blind. Nope. I’d name it something like – trying out a new plot – or – amped up test.

This is where the genius of my husband comes in. Every time we are working together on the computer, he doesn’t move forward without saving the document and placing the document in the correct folder. I’m thinking, can we just hurry up? But he’s going to name it in such a way that he will be able to find it in less than three clicks. Why hasn’t this ability rubbed off on me yet? If we are working on a publisher document, he saves each version along the way: bookmark001, bookmark002, etc. (Sigh.) Maybe someday I’ll get it. Until then, I’ll be here searching through my Google Drive. Ugh.

I am not a salesperson, but will you buy my book anyway?

www.tuesdaywriters.comThis is where we find ourselves as authors these days. We set out to write the best novel that we can. Isn’t that what the publisher is for? Aren’t they the ones who are supposed to advertise for us?

Sadly, no.

Ironically, I did work in a bookstore years ago. First I worked at B.Dalton Bookseller in the Peru Mall. I loved the job and the 40% discount. There was never an aspect of the job where I felt I was being pressured to sell. I loved books, and I could sometimes suggest a book for someone to buy, but mostly I helped people by ringing up their purchases. Later, I had a job at the college bookstore, but we were selling textbooks.

So while I don’t have an agent or a book contract (yet!) my job right now, besides revising to write the best novel possible, is to sell myself and that book to an agent.

In one of the SCBWI conferences, an agent pointed out that the query letter we send, is often what she uses when she queries publishers.

In the mean-time, I’m bombarded with various types of advice on social media about how to market advertise, organize a fan base, and generally sell more books! How exciting it will be when I get to that point. And a little nerve-wracking.

What’s your advice for promoting your book?

Not a Rebel Among Us

In Gretchen Rubin’s The Four Tendencies, she explains that people fall into four categories which are defined by how they respond to expectations. Here is the quick and dirty on the four types.

Upholder – meets both inner and out expectations

Obliger – meets outer expectations but not inner expectations

Questioner – resists outer expectations while meeting inner expectations

Rebel – resists both outer and inner expectations.


Throughout her book, Gretchen mentions writers and how the tendencies play out in their lives.

Upholder writers can write well without deadlines. They don’t need an external system of accountablility for thier writing. An upholder is someone who can quit their day job and write a book because they have that internal accountablilty.

Obliger writers do well with deadlines – like say, a weekly critique group, where you should have pages to read each week. An obliger who quits a day job to write a novel, even a novel that is under contract, will have trouble unless there are set deadlines all along the way.

Questioner writers don’t need the external accountability, but they want to know why they are doing what they are doing. It’s unlikely that a questioner writer is going to write what you suggest.

Rebel writers….they might write if they feel like it that day…but they might not…ever…feel like writing.

Of course, I asked The Tuesdays to take the Four Tendencies quiz, and you can to!

Can you guess how we fared?

Here’s a hint – three upholders, two questioners, and one obliger.

Upholders – Faran, Melody, Cathy

Questioners – Jonathan and Stacie

Obliger – Joanne


It’s your turn! Take the quiz and tell us how you did!

Working to Understand

I’ve written on this topic before, but it bears repeating. I believe it’s really important to understand life from someone else’s perspective.

Other people agree with


Two years ago a FaceBook friend posted this list:

I got the books. All of them, but if you can’t get all ten, then the one I recommend is Between the World and I listened to it, and if you want to have an understanding of what it means to be black in America, then this is a start.


This book comes back to me now that I’ve just finished reading two excellent YA novels which have given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be a minority in America.


Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give puts the reader in the place of a young woman, Starr, who is in the car when her www.tuesdaywriters.comchildhood friend is shot dead by a policeman. Riots ensue. The media portrays Khalil, her friend, as a drug-dealer. Starr’s family keeps her from the media as long as they can, and her attendance at a private school outside her neighborhood helps shield her. But Starr’s private school world and neighborhood must collide in order for Starr to stand up and be heard.



www.tuesdaywriters.comRandi Pink’s novel, Into White, is another novel giving readers the perspective of what it means to grow up with skin anything but the color of white. There are some hilarious moments in the book, like how bad a driver Jesus is, but the novel not only explores what it means to be black but also what it means to be comfortable in your own skin.

I can’t say I understand what it means to be another race, but I have an earnest desire to have a compassionate understanding of it. Books like these help.

What should I read next?

One Big Fat Tuesday Tip



Tuesdays are all about tips.


And there are lots of important writing tips, but this past weekend I put one very important tip into play in my own writing life that I must pass on to you.


Take the class…go to the workshop…get out of your writing head and into your learning one.


I’ve been working on a rewrite for some time. It’s almost done, but there is something missing. I’ve been floundering, so I printed it all out, looked at it chapter by chapter, and figured out the pieces of the plot that needed to move. Still, it wasn’t right.

The Tuesdays suggested that I haven’t shown the main character’s lack. The thing that will be changed by the climax of the story.

So I went to the SCBWI bootcamp run by Marjetta Geerling and Dorian Cirrone.

It was exactly what I needed. Marjetta’s first lesson was on theme. She asked crucial questions to assist us in moving our stories forward.

My theme is not clear, and without a clear theme, I don’t have any hope of getting the story published.


But here’s what’s really important and the reason I’m recommending this tip.

I’m excited about the story and excited about what’s going to happen when I figure it all out!

And that’s the reason, I think this tip is so important.

Wednesday Wrap-UP

Know what’s good for this writer’s soul? Going to critique group, reading pages, hearing my words out loud, and getting feedback.

I don’t know how long it’s been – husband out of town so I missed group and then there was that whole hurricane anticipation, experience, and aftermath.

As for my novel? That story is going all over the place. And that maybe is a good thing. Secondary characters are fleshing out complicating the story…but in a good way. I hope.

Melody’s story is going well…well, not for the main character. She’s headed for the low point, but Melody’s hitting all the right spots on the clock.

Jonathan’s story took an unexpected twist, which if you know Jonathan, he totally planned it. (It’s the sequel to Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies, so you need to read it now so you’re ready for this one!)

Even with only half of the group present, it was wonderful to be back!

How are your critique groups going?

Find Your Way Friday

When my husband asks me what I’m going to do on any particular day my response is, “I’m going to write.” As a general rule, I write every day except Tuesday because that’s when our critique group meets.

I recently spent an entire two weeks not writing.

And I wasn’t on vacation.

I mean, I usually write on vacation.

Even if you don’t live in Florida, I think the entire nation was tuned in to the fact that a huge hurricane was heading west in the Atlantic. After seeing what Harvey did to Texas, the nation was already in distress. The anticipation was enough of an energy suck, and then when you add the hours you have to spend preparing your home with the time spent waiting for the storm to decide where it was really going, it’s easy to understand why you weren’t writing.  If you didn’t have electricity, writing and sweating was not a pleasant task. Then there was a bombing in London, an earthquake in Mexico, and another hurricane.

The amount of suffering is overwhelming.

I have learned though, that it’s writing that makes me happy. So I’ve got to get some writing in everyday. Except Tuesday.

So I’m back to setting the timer. Forcing myself to write for even as little as ten minutes. I even had the entire plot of a new novel pop into my brain. The words are in me.

I’ve got to get them on the page. Even if it’s just one word at a time.

Books You’ve Got to Read…or Listen To!

www.tuesdaywriters.comI’m nearly finished with Angie’s Thomas’ The Hate U Give read beautifully by Bahni Turpin. (Last year I listened to her read Everything Everything. She’s one of my favorite readers!) It’s a book right now that is timely and true and sad. The main character, Starr, was in a car driven by her best friend Khalil who is pulled over by the cops and shot in front of her. Starr had been straddling the inner-city neighborhood where she lives with the suburban prep school she starting attending years before after another of her best friends was killed in a gang drive-by. This is a must read. I was on the waiting list nearly all summer for this one, so it’s getting a lot of readers. You should be one, too.




Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum is on this years Florida Teens www.tuesdaywriters.comRead. It’s the kind of book where you root for the main character and hope she gets what she wants in the end. Jessie’s father surprise married someone she didn’t even know he was dating and moves her from her Chicago public school to Los Angeles. A Los Angeles filled with model-worthy class mates at an ultra prep school. When Jessie receives an anonymous email from someone offering her guidance on how to navigate her new world, she takes it.

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner is also on the Florida Teens Read list this year. Dill’s only solace in this world are his friends Travis and Lydia. Dill’s father, a Pentecostal preacher who encouraged his parishioners to let deadly snakes coil around them is in jail for child pornography. Dill’s mother would like him to drop out of school and start working full time to support the family. He’s also grieving the loss of Lydia in anticipation of her going away to college when he know’s he’ll be stuck home forever. When Dill learns that his mother blames him for his father’s imprisonment, it cracks his resolve to keep going.




Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy (author of another book I loved, Dumplin) is the story of Ramona who got the www.tuesdaywriters.comnickname Ramona Blue because she loves swimming so much. Ramona works in a restaurant/bar and is about to start her senior year of high school. There’s no way out for Ramona. She thought she and her older sister would move out of town once they both graduated, but now that her sister is pregnant, Ramona knows the money she’s been saving will all go to the baby. Ramona also just spent the summer in her first real relationship with a girl. A girl who has a boyfriend back home. She’s mixed up and sad when Freddie, a boy she was friends with years ago, moves to town. Could she be attracted to him, too? Julie Murphy is an author sensitive to addressing what’s important to teens with real, fleshed-out characters.


Whether you listen or read, you should check out these wonderful YA books!