Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet....?

Was Shakespeare right?  Are names really so unimportant that a writer need not worry about them?

Maybe in Shakepeare's world but not now.  As far as I can tell, it seems to be a hot topic for most aspiring writers.  Just log on to the Writer's Digest message boards and I'll bet you'll find at least a dozen postings disussing names.

Personally, naming my characaters has always been a spiritual experience--they tend to name themselves.
I know that sounds like a bunch of malarkey but it's true; I've never had to think about my character's first names. 
Their last names are a different story though because last names have to represent a lot more of your character than first names do. 
For instance, you wouldn't name your main character Jane Smith if her parents were from China but you can get away with Jane Chong because her parents gave her an English name when the family moved to Seattle Washington in 1976. 
See what I mean?  First names should be the easy part.

I read somewhere that the biggest mistakes writers make when naming their characters is age-appropriateness.
For instance, if your main character is a 60-year-old man you probably don't want to name him Cody or Logan.  (Forget age-appropriate, I detest both of these names so I would never read your book)

Another issue to address, especially in dialogue is the use of a character's whole name. 
For instance, a lot of parents rarely call their kids by their whole name.  If your character's name is Margaret, her Mom (and most of her friends) probably calls her Maggie.  Or she may even use a term of endearment like Honey or Sweetie when conversing with her daughter. 
My main character's name is Shayna but her Dad never calls her Shayna in the dialogue.  He calls her by her nickname.
Shayna's brother's name is Oskar but she calls him Ossy in conversation.

Ok, I don't have to spell this out for you--you know what I mean.

Now, these tips all work in theory and if you're writing Fiction--not Science Fiction/Fantasy.  That genre demands a lot more imagination when creating names for most Sc-Fi/Fantasy characters have a very strong connection to their name--they usually mean something.

That's why I stick to Fiction.  Writing is hard enough...I don't want to spend hours on end thinking up names for a Half-woman-Half-fairy creature with fire breathing ability.

Now, I'll leave you with some George Carlin--CLASSIC rant about stupid names:

What about you?  Do you find it difficult to name your characters?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Only Men Blog?

I just had to post this since most of you guys & gals are not from Canada and probably haven't read this ridiculous article today.

Check this out:

Why are bloggers male?
By Margaret Wente, The Globe and Mail

And this is the nice comment I left for her:

So, go ahead and submit your 'nice' comments now!

(if you read through the comments, you'll see that my 'You're an idiot' comment is quite the hit)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What Your Guidance Counselor Didn't Tell You

I’ve been conducting interviews over the last few weeks and I have to say, I hate it.
Because I remember what it was like being unemployed for so long, back in 2006. It was hell and I hated people like me.
So, now that I’m on the other side of the table, I find myself wanting to help candidates answer questions better. I finish their sentences for them, urging them to use the correct words. I smile a lot in the hopes that I’m encouraging ‘loosening up’.

As it turns out, I have a soft spot for the unemployed.

I remember being back in high school and Guidance Counselor’s would spend so much time talking about the different career paths available, the importance of good grades and how necessary it was to find a major in College, early on.
At the time, I thought all adults got to choose their careers and were pretty happy working, for the most part.
What an idiot I was.
If I were a Guidance Counselor, I would be more honest with Teens about their education after High School and the workforce, in general.

This is what I wished my Guidance Counselor told me:
  • Being expected to choose a career path at the age of eighteen is a ridiculous concept but I’ll help you the best I can
  • Don’t take career advice from your Parents—they’re just as delusional as you are
  • Do take career advice from a person who changed careers at least twice in their life (if this is one of your Parents, still don’t take their advice)
  • When you get to College, you’ll be asked once for your assignment. Your coddling days are over
  • Life can be monotonous, even if you choose the right career path
  • Most of the managers you will have will be useless assholes but that’s ok because it will help YOU be a good manager
  • Even if you work your ass off for a company, they still may not appreciate you. Don’t take this personally.
  • Hard work pays off but a good, positive attitude pays more
  • Be accountable for everything that you do and never point fingers—you’ll get more respect this way
  • Want a raise? Ask for one before you start complaining about not getting paid enough
  • ALWAYS show enthusiasm when interviewing—no matter what the job is. Recruiters will never forget enthusiastic candidates
  • Don’t schedule meetings at 9am on Mondays—people will start to hate you, very quickly
  • When dealing with upper management, swallow your pride—often
  • If you’re able, please take a year off and travel before College
  • Follow your heart (cheesy & cliché but it works)
  • No amount of money will make you happy if you hate your job

I found one good candidate so far—one more to go! Ugh.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The 82nd Annual Academy Awards: List of Grievances

The Academy pissed me off so much this year, I may never watch again.
Ok, that’s me being a Drama Queen but seriously, last night was one big yawn.

Below is my list of grievances:

1. Where was my Cate? She’s been MIA for far too long now. The Oscars need her! The Red Carpet needs her even more.  

Even knocked up, she kills the Red Carpet

2.  Why was Doogie Howser singing and dancing on my TV? At first, I thought I had it on the wrong channel and then I thought my migraine was playing tricks with my eyes. Sadly, I was wrong. This is what the Academy offered us this year.

If he hosts next year, I’ll go to Hollywood myself to beg Billy Crystal to save this suffering program

3. SJP: here she is, poised for living up to her label ‘Fashion Icon’ and she shows up looking like this:

I take offense to this. The media shoves her down my throat every chance they get but really, she’s not a Fashion Icon. She just has (had?) a good stylist. I’m not buying it. This is what happens when Patricia Field goes on vacation.

4. Up in the Air didn’t win anything

5. This isn’t the Academy’s fault but I’ll blame them anyway: they only allow one major Canadian station (CTV) to broadcast from the Red Carpet. What does this mean for us Canadians? We have to sit through Ben Mulroney and Tanya Kim, the two most wooden people ever to hit television. Oh, and get this, Ben Mulroney actually said, and I quote; ‘You’re bigger than I thought you would be’ to the guy who co-stars on The Blind Side. (I don’t’ care enough to google his name). I don’t care who you are, you don’t want to hear that on a Red Carpet.
Nepotism isn’t doing Ben any favours.

6. Sandra Bollock wins for Best Actress (the biggest WTF moment in Oscar history)

7. The Red Carpet isn’t the same without Joan Rivers. The Academy takes itself too seriously. Maybe this will change now that they awarded Bollock Best Actress.

8. Brangelina didn’t show up.

9. Everyone hated Zoe Saldana’s dress but I loved it. It’s Givenchy Couture—you don’t mess with Givenchy Couture. People don’t have taste.

I hate people.

10. Instead of Sacha Baron Cohen , I had to sit through a Ben Stiller bit. Fuck.
But, I did learn something last night; he’s even less funny when he’s a different colour.

11. The dance sequence was really sad. The costumes (if you can call it that) were very boring. I felt like I was watching So You Think You Can Dance but the Canadian version.

12. Everyone was gushing over Gabourey’s dress. She looked TERRIBLE. Admit it people, that dress was a bad decision. I hate that fashion isn’t kind to plus-size women.

Marchesa is responisble for this.  Gabourey should sue.

13. Why so much hate for James Cameron? Sure, he’s anal-retentive and thinks he’s The King of the World but he’s also a brilliant filmmaker.

14. No Bea Arthur or Farah Fawcett tributes during the death montage. Some asshole decided they weren’t considered ‘film’ actresses.
Really, Academy? All you had to do was google BEATRICE ARTHUR and you would see her film credits. Also, if you did the same with FARAH FAWCETT, you would see that she has done plenty of films.

Perhaps you were too busy planning Doogie Howser’s dance number? Fuckers.

Five things that made me happy last night:

1. Kathryn Bigelow’s win (I think it’s pathetic that it’s 2010 and this is the first time a Woman won for best direction/picture) and the realization that she’s super sexy! I hope to read some rag mag stories about her sexual escapades with cabana boys soon.

2. Jeff Bridges finally won an Oscar and his wife was one of the best dressed. Loved her look.

3. Mo’Nique’s speech kicked ass. I love that she didn’t play the ‘game’. I have a whole new respect for her. AND she looked amazing.

4. Julianne Moore showed up, proving that most celebs will never be as gorgeous (and talented) as she is. She didn’t walk the Red Carpet because of this. Why hurt people’s feelings?

5. Christoph Waltz won for Best Supporting Actor.

The Academy better smarten up. I want less Doogie Howser and more Cate Blanchett next year.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Digging Out

It’s dark where I am right now but I can hear the muffled voices of people, living. I can hear them gushing endlessly over their kids' accomplishments and their fabulous jobs and what they like to watch on TV.
Right now, my only hope is that they leave soon. 

I prefer being alone at this point of the journey. This is the darkest part and I’m better off having only myself to explain myself to.

Though it’s dark, I catch glimpses of light as the ground shifts and sometimes opens up but this only happens very early in the morning. By midday, things are dark again as I begin to struggle with digging out, The Fear looking on in astonishment.

The problem is, I only have two hands and I haven’t found my shovel yet.
I’m sure it’s tucked away someplace deep underground, hiding from the massive amount of work facing it.