I am truly honored to host the first #RRBC Spotlight Author of 2019. Please welcome writer Mary Adler to The Indie Spot. Take it away, Mary. . .
WORKING SMART: PART ONE
There are so many things for a writer to worry about when writing a novel. Plot, dialogue, characterization, conflict, style. Do all the characters names start with the same initial? Were Jimmy’s eyes blue or brown?
To make the most of the time spent toiling at the computer, many authors create time-saving aids to make the book building process go more smoothly. I do several things as I write my first draft.
Character Descriptions: I don’t write long backstories for my characters, but I do note their physical characteristics, speech peculiarities, and other specific details about them including their birth dates and affiliations in a character bible. I also pin up photos from magazines when I find someone who looks the way I think my character should look. For example, this is a photo of a model who represents Paola Buonarotti.
And this is a photo of Oliver’s German shepherd, Harley.
I always know what color my characters’ eyes are, who is related to whom, and who hates fish.
It is also useful to keep a record – perhaps in a spreadsheet – of the first time a character appears or is mentioned. It may seem unnecessary, but when you begin revisions and start moving events around in the manuscript, it is helpful to have a record of what happens when and who was where.
Names: For some reason, I am drawn to names that begin with “L”. So, my first book has Luca and Lucy and Louis. To me, they are completely dissimilar names. (I am not so sure that the reader makes that distinction.) As I wrote the second book, I was more careful and kept a tally under the letters of the alphabet. (For their fans, Luca, Lucy, and Louis are still there.)
If you are looking for names that were popular in a given time period, you can find them easily on-line. Mary was the most popular girl’s name from 1800 until 1961. In 2011 it was 112th. (When I hear the name Mary, I assume the person is of a certain age – like me! According to The Atlantic, modern parents want their children to have names that underline their individuality. Hmmm.)
Follow Mary online:
Twitter – @MAAdlerwrites
Facebook – https://maryadlerwrites.com/
Mary Adler was an attorney and dean at CWRU School of Medicine. She escaped the ivory tower for the much gentler world of World War II and the adventures of homicide detective Oliver Wright and his German shepherd, Harley. She lives with her family in Sebastopol, California, where she creates garden habitats for birds and bees and butterflies. She is active in dog rescue and does canine scent work with her brilliant dogs — the brains of the team — and loves all things Italian.