That’s the end of that chapter!

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That’s the end of that chapter!

Eleanor Roosevelt once said “Do one thing every day that scares you”.

Today, for me, that one thing was starting my book!

Yes, I finally put key to board and wrote the first words of what will become my answer to third life crisis challenge number 24, ‘Write a book’.

Over the past 6 months, I have spent far too much time mulling over the immense array of options as to what to write about. I’ve toyed with ideas as varied as a business-related non-fiction and a children’s’ picture book. Nothing seemed to feel quite right and nothing really captured my imagination in a way that I felt could sustain me through the onerous task of writing the damn thing.

It wasn’t until our recent trip to the Gold Coast, while chatting over breakfast, that the idea finally twigged. After that, the characters immediately began taking shape and the book started writing itself in my mind. Today, I made time to translate part of the story to a more legible format.

Chapter one, my friends, is finished! I’m sure I’ll edit it a thousand times before my birthday deadline on 1 July, but it’s there. It’s real. I’ve done it!

Turns out, writing a book is a thoroughly daunting task. When you’re as tough a self-critic as I am, it’s even harder. I’m sure that, were it not for the impossible deadline set for me by my friend Dave, I would proclaim the 1,858 words I’ve written utter rubbish and unceremoniously dump them in my computer’s recycle bin. As it stands, I’ve got tens of thousands of words and less than 6 months left to go. No matter how shoddy this chapter is, it’s going to have to do!

It’s an extremely exciting feeling to have this first chapter under my belt. I’m sure it will be the hardest I ever write because it was the one written under the darkest cloud of doubt. Now that the cloud has lifted I can actually see myself finishing this thing. Maybe I’ll even send it to a publisher or two, just to score crisp rejection letters that I can frame and hang next to all my Pulitzers, Bookers and Nobels when the World finally acknowledges the hidden gem of my brilliance.

Or…. not.

Let’s face it, the only thing rendering me even remotely “authory” today was my hangover.

Apart from the small issue of the hangover, I am struggling with one other teensy weensy problem. Perhaps you can help me out?

I’ve mentioned it before, but the biggest problem I struggle with when writing is a general lack of creativity. It took me 6 months to come up with one lousy idea for crying out loud! Now I’m suffering from a giant case of the “Duhs” when it comes to naming my characters! First names are fine – they’re in the bag, but surnames are another thing altogether!

I’ve currently got 4 X’s where surnames should be.

Can you help name my characters?

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13 responses »

  1. Here is a random selection of last names which I’m sure you will find quite useful:
    Munchowskowitz
    Flib
    Riffley
    Doogie
    Fenton
    Skyrbyski
    Gibbz
    Murfy
    Shabadoo
    Tintin
    Manchilds
    Ribbet
    Fusspotter
    Ben
    Topper
    Jacktoe
    Quizzington
    Wang
    Bluebagreens

    You’re welcome

  2. McGill is actually an ancestral name (Dad’s mother’s maiden name) . If you go down that road there is Austin, Millott, (Eccleston could make a cameo appearance) not to mention the vast array from the Lohan side – Sturgess and Hamblin? Depends on the genre of course.

  3. I recommend newspapers. The obituary or births deaths and marriages are always a good source. They are a useful randomiser and representative of the community so instead of Jones and Brown you get to add Ng, Yousef and Nguyen just for example.

  4. My advice; don’t edit the completed chapter. In fact, don’t even look at them again until you’re finished. Details can be corrected later, and edits will make more sense when the whole thing is out of your edit.

    Any ‘edits’ before that are just procrastination and guaranteed to increase your level of dismay and anxiety.

    And as for last names, who cares? There’s more mystery to a character only called ‘Gareth’. The only time anyone uses last names is when filling out paperwork. So unless you’re writing about a wedding or tax evasion case, leave it out. There’ll be a little ‘aha’ moment in chapter 7 when Gareth is filling out his credit card application and has to write ‘Conrad’ in the 2nd empty box. 😉

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