Southern Inspiration: The Lunar Moth

I think that nature plays an essential role when living in the south.  There are hunters everywhere, home gardens are often relied upon to supply the majority of food and people live in the middle of the woods/mountains/swamp (miles from others). Well this idea is especially evident in my life since spring has started. 

My mother’s home is surrounded by a dense hardwood forest and since spring has come the wood is teeming with life.  It is now the time of year that lunar moths come out *see above*.  The wingspan on one of these guys is about 4.5 inches (they’re about the size of a bird).  Now while I think they really are beautiful, they also freak me out!  I mean it’s a bug the size of a bird for crying out loud! I have this irrational fear that they will fly into my hair:

I think that nature has played such a significant role in the south that it has taken on a kind of mystical quality.  Superstitions and old wives tales have sprung up for things ranging from the promise of guests depending on the direction a bird flies to whether fishing will be any good depending if the cows are lying down or standing.  I’m sure that other places around the country and world have similar superstitions.  However, it seems that down here these superstitions are still alive and well. 

All this talk of superstitions and old wives tales made me curious about the moth and whether there were any beliefs about it.  Well apparently there are a few: 

Many believe moths bring bad luck when trapped in the left hand.

It’s been said that when a large black moth appears, it symbolizes a deceased loved one who is visiting.

If a moth flies around you at night, it means that you will recieve a letter.

In some cultures, it is a superstition that a white moth in a house or trying to get in a sign that a death will come to the family.

Also, apparently some believe that a moth is the soul of a witch. 

Whatever the superstitions are, everytime I see this moth I feel as though I have been transported to some primal place where the extinct, giant animals of old still persist. 

via Blogger


8 Points to Remember When Naming Your Characters

From the start, it may seem that choosing a name for your character is really easy.  You like a name and so that’s the one you’re going to use. That’s settled. Now on to more important things like procrastination! Well hold on for just a moment.  Have you considered if that name you have fallen in love with makes sense for your character? For the setting? Or how about the meaning of the name?  Before you go willy-nilly in naming your characters, there are a few important points to remember.

1. Is the Name Appropriate in the Setting?

 Before I continue any further remember that setting includes not only the physical place but the time period as well.  Is the name you have decided on appropriate for the country your story takes place in?  How about the time period?  The name could be more old fashion or too trendy for the setting you have decided on.
If the character is an American then you can go here Social Security Name Popularity Listand search by years. And this site allows you to search through decades:
If your character is British then you can check out this site, which lists names from 1880 to present day.
**Remember that this really only applies to stories that are based in the real world.  If you have a science fiction or fantasy novel and you are creating an entirely new world then these rules can be thrown out the window.

2. Is the Name Appropriate for the Character?

Is the character an adult? Does he have a name appropriate for the time period in which he was born?  If the character is an American then you can go here Social Security Name Popularity Listand search by years.  Don’t make the mistake of naming him/her something that is currently trendy, when your character was born decades ago.
Is your character of a different ethnicity?  Is the name ethnically appropriate?  There are many baby name sites that will allow you to search for names according to ethnicities and genders.
For example:

      3. A Name Can Determine Who a Person Is

Ever since I read about the brothers Cain and Able in John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, I have been obsessed with the idea that a name can determine who a person is.  Naming a character a certain name due to a meaning can be a fun Easter egg for your readers to discover.  But remember that your readers are smart so don’t make it obvious (e.g. Bella Swan).  Meanings for names can be literal or implied.
For literal meanings of names there are sites like these:
For implied meanings of names think about East of Eden where two brothers lives mirrored the lives of two biblical brothers.  Perhaps the character’s story that you have thought of reminds you of a figure from mythology:
Or from the Bible:
Or literature:

      4. No Country for Interesting Names (well at least not for everybody)

Unless you have made up a completely new world then you have to accept the fact that some people will have boring names!  This doesn’t mean that you have to name background characters Jane Doe or John Smith.  But you can’t name every single person a unique, interesting name.  Find a good balance. There are plenty of common names that may have fallen out of vogue recently (and therefore feel fresh).

5. A Place and Time for Nicknames

If other characters are familiar with a particular character try to think of a nickname derivative of the name or completely new one all together.  For example, did you know that the old fashioned nickname for Sarah is Sally? Or think of how down south people like to give others two names as a term of endearment (e.g. Sarah Elizabeth becomes Sarah-Beth).
Here’s a site that list nicknames for common names:
Here’s a place you can look up old-fashioned nicknames:
And remember that a nickname can have nothing to do with the actual name itself (e.g. Slim or Little John).  Maybe the nickname comes from an interesting story in your character’s past.

6. Pronunciation. Think about it.

Pronunciation is extremely important for a reader.   The first time I read Harry Potter; I had no idea how to pronounce Hermione and ended up pronouncing it Her-mine.  If someone doesn’t know how to properly pronounce the name then they will pronounce it however they want or skip over the name all together.
Remember that the pronunciation must follow the normal conventions of grammar. I had a friend once that wanted to name her daughter Magdalene and have everyone pronounce it Madeleine, “the G will be silent”…yeah that’s just not going to happen.  If you do have unexpected pronunciations then try to subtly work it into the story, a short time after the character is introduced to assist the reader.
If you are set on the character having a difficult name to pronounce then think about giving them a nickname (see #5).

7. The World is an Unpredictable

Remember people in the real world are weird and unpredictable. I once met a person with the last name of Moneymaker; that was her legal and legitimate surname.  If you have your heart set on a particular name then go for it.  My rule of thumb is that if your story is set in the real world and the name you have decided on is bizarre, then explain why.  Make an interesting story or mystery around it and this will help to give your characters depth too. Which brings us to the most important point in naming your character…

      8. Know Your Characters!!!

Who is this person? What is their back story?  Perhaps they received their name as a namesake.  Then what is the story behind that? If the personality and the name don’t match up then make it point of contention.  Remember that names make an impression and you want readers to remember that name.

via Blogger

Hellooooooooo Blogosphere!

To WriteOK so here’s the deal.  I’ve never had a blog before.  That’s right I’m a newbie, but I’ve been thinking about it for a while.  I’m not really sure that anyone will care to read anything I have to say, but I guess it’s never stopped me before.

So if you happen to stumble upon this blog, here’s what I can offer: I am a writer by hobby (unfortunately not by trade…yet).  I am working on my very first novel and I plan to self publish.  So I plan on posting on here the trials and errors that I go through while I try to finish my first novel and e-publish.  I am writing this novel with a friend and we are a third of the way through writing the first book in a series that we have plotted out to be 6 books so far.  Also, I constantly try to see writing inspiration in my everyday life…so the plan is that randomly I’ll photograph or describe what the normal daily thing was that gave me inspiration and some little blurb of writing that came from it.

I have to say that one of the hardest things about writing is putting yourself out there for another to judge, and so I ask you, my dear blog friends, to not be too harsh.