Writing Q&A Number 8

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From Jonathan:

1. In my story, my main character starts in her ordinary world. In the first chapter she has a goal, fails and gets propelled toward another. This disrupts her normal world, but it is not a sudden upheaval. She has the course of three days to prepare for the journey. I’ve just started chapter 5, and she’s still in her ordinary surroundings. Is it acceptable / best practice to have that amount of establishing material?

2. I’m using Greek and Latin words (slightly edited) to name creatures / certain people in my world. (Pyra, from the word for fire, and Ostia (a breed of snake) from the word for venom). Do you think this would be a cohesive naming system, or would it seem sloppy?

3. Are any of your characters based on or inspired by people in your life?

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Jonathan:

#1 – That depends on what happens during those five chapters. If her ordinary world is intriguing, and if you present her with goals and obstacles to overcome that keep the tension high, then it can work. If you keep her moving forward while presenting her with difficult challenges that reveal her character and create an emotional connection with readers, then it should be fine.

#2 – If you don’t reveal the reasons for the names, then the system should work. Once you reveal the reasons, readers will focus on them and perhaps find holes or inconsistencies in the system.

#3 – There are no characters in my stories who are based on real-world people. I do borrow some character qualities from people I know, but no character has enough qualities from any individual to establish an association.

If anyone has ideas to add, be sure to comment, and if you have a question you would like to see addressed here, then send it to blogqa@daviscrossing.com.

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