What’s in a name?

Welcome back, all! Sorry for the disappearing act last week.  Wish I could tell you the reason behind it involved fame and fortune, instead it was more along the lines of bills were due and if I want the ability to pay them to continue I must fulfill my oath to the cubicle gods and do what I promised. So I did.  All week long.  I even survived the strange liquid they call “rain” for it.  Oh the sacrifices I make.

Enough wallowing…on to our last editing piece of advice–the usage of names.

I’m not sure about other writers, but I snagged slots of time where I can to sneak away and put my stories to paper (or input into a computer, as the case may be).  The drawback to this approach is that while your story’s timeline maybe cruising right along, your writing timeline is not.  Therefore, what eventually reads as a mere five minutes for your characters across five pages, in reality took you two weeks to get down just right.  In this strange time warp of writing, I found that I have a tendency to think my readers may forget who they’re reading about. Probably because I’m so frustrated by various bumps and detours in those five pages, I’d rather give up and start with fresh new characters.  In a whole new story.  But I digress.

Imagine how shocked I was when one of my brilliant editors pointed out, quite gently and so compassionately, that perhaps I needed to discover the word “she” and “he” once more as prospective readers may suffer severe brain damage from being bashed continually over the head with my character names.  Mortification was immediate.  Said brilliant editor, then went on to explain that the words “she” and “he” are invisible to the readers unless you start too many sentences with those pronouns.

In keeping with my sharing actually examples, here’s my last one for you from Shadow’s Edge (if you want more, you’ll have to buy it when it comes out in November!)

Gavin came at her in a blur. Barely blocking his first hit, she responded with a snapping series of punches and kicks then dodged back out of reach. He pursued her. His hands struck out, followed by a quick foot-sweep.

She landed on her back, twisted to the side, crouched, and got her feet set, before kicking out. A solid hit to his thigh knocked him off balance just enough for her to pull back and set up for her next move. Back and forth they moved, focused and deadly, the silence broken by occasional grunts and the thick sound of flesh hitting flesh. Fifteen minutes later, they stepped back and bowed to each other.

Raine, chest heaving, was grateful to see Gavin breathing equally hard. There would be bruises and aches tomorrow, but the rage was banked for now, leaving her calmer, steadier. She met his eyes and found an echo of the primitive joy she always felt after a fight. Watching Gavin in predator mode touched her primal female core. Without thinking she gave him a fierce grin, receiving a similar baring of teeth.

“So, now that the preliminaries are out of the way,” she said. “What next?”

Gavin chuckled and shook his head. “You’re one of the few females I know, Raine, that gets off on fighting.”

“Hey a girl has to have a hobby.” Raine’s voice was muffled as she wiped the sweat off her face with a towel. “You have to admit it was fun.”

“It’s definitely one way to blow off a little steam.” Grabbing his own towel, he began to wipe his chest. Her eyes caught the motion.  Her breath hitched briefly before steadying out. His chest was truly fascinating, but looking was a dangerous indulgence, especially right now. However, her silent warning did not stop her damn hormones from clamoring for attention.

“I can think of other things that work just as well, if not better,” he offered, his voice darker, seductive. The flare of arousal in his green eyes let her know she’d been caught staring. “Like what you see?”

More than he’d ever know. “It’s distracting, but I’ll live,” she responded, knowing this attraction was a mess, just waiting to happen.

In this scene, if we remove a few proper names we get a more fluid scene.

He came at her in a blur. Barely blocking his first hit, she responded with a snapping series of punches and kicks then dodged back out of reach. He pursued her. His hands struck out, followed by a quick foot-sweep.

She landed on her back, twisted to the side, crouched, and got her feet set, before kicking out. A solid hit to his thigh knocked him off balance just enough for her to pull back and set up for her next move. Back and forth they danced, focused and deadly, the silence broken by occasional grunts and the thick sound of flesh hitting flesh. Fifteen minutes later, they stepped back and bowed to each other.

Raine, chest heaving, was grateful to see Gavin breathing equally hard. There would be bruises and aches tomorrow, but the rage was banked for now, leaving her calmer, steadier. She met his hooded gaze and found an echo of the primitive joy she always felt after a fight. Watching Gavin in predator mode touched her primal feminine core. Without thinking she gave him a fierce grin, receiving a similar baring of teeth.

“So, now that the preliminaries are out of the way,” she said. “What next?”

He chuckled and shook his head. “You’re one of the few females I know that gets off on fighting.”

“Hey a girl has to have a hobby.” Her voice was muffled as she wiped the sweat off her face with a towel. “You have to admit it was fun.”

“It’s definitely one way to blow off a little steam.” Grabbing his own towel, he began to wipe his chest. Her eyes caught the motion and her breath hitched briefly before steadying out. His chest was truly fascinating, but looking was a dangerous indulgence, especially right now. However, her silent warning did not stop her damn hormones from clamoring for attention.

“I can think of other things that work just as well, if not better,” he offered, his voice darker, seductive. The flare of arousal in his green eyes let her know she’d been caught staring. “Like what you see?”

More than he’d ever know. “It’s distracting, but I’ll live,” she responded, knowing this attraction was a mess, just waiting to happen.

So now that we’ve covered some of the basic editing rules in the last few weeks, go forth, prepare and get ready to write.  Besides, NANO is just around the corner. Put your new-found skills to work and create your masterpiece!
Until next week, I’m going to go enjoy the Blood Red Eerie brought me!