Fiction Update: Planning, Names

Pretty good progress with the screenplay today. I wish I could tell you exactly what I got done today, but I can’t, because I’m technically still doing it. I literally stopped all the plot-crafting I was doing and stopped in here for a second to mention that I was actually getting some work done. I know all my updates probably read as too ambiguous to be interesting, but that’ll change once I really get the ball rolling with my projects. If things keep going as well as they have been lately, that should be fairly soon.

I’m kind of afraid of this step, though– all the pre-planning before the prose-pounding. I tend to get stuck here, revising character backgrounds, roles, and plot points over and over again before actually sitting down to get anything done. I used to do this by hand, on paper. In fact, most of my novel’s initial notes, from when I was seventeen, are all on paper. I don’t bother to look at them anymore. Not only are they a mess, but I’ve changed so many things that they’re completely outdated.

I’ve changed my protagonist’s name, I don’t know, maybe eight times. Well, that’s inaccurate; I only really stuck with about three of those eight names. The other five were just ideas I bounced around before making a real decision. I actually can’t remember most of those names. I do know she’s been named Danielle, and something else I can’t remember (probably for a reason). She was Danielle for the longest amount of time, at least a few years. As of right now, her name is Vaughn, and I can’t see myself changing it again. It suits her perfectly.

I guess eight names isn’t bad considering the fact that SJL has gone through roughly six restarts/incarnations (I first approached it as a short story, and the first two to two and a half versions are written in that form). Okay, so maybe it is, but at least I’ve settled on something I can stick with.

Now I’m kind of in a similar situation with the screenplay. It’s early on, and I haven’t settled on names for my characters, which means that in my mind they’re not really fleshed-out people yet, even though I know what I want to do with them. Even in a plot-driven story (which this isn’t, actually) you’ve got to know your characters inside and out, like family. I haven’t done that yet, and I won’t feel comfortable moving forward until I know how many hairs are on my protagonist’s head.

In case you’re wondering, I’ve written more about my writing history.


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