Getting to Know All About You: Interviewing Your Characters, Pt. 2 (Penny Rader)

If you missed part 1, Getting to Know You: Interviewing Your Characters, you can find it here.
Here are more snippets from articles I found online. I hope you find a question (or five or ten!) that help you get to know your characters better.

Character Worksheet (Tara Harper) What do you need to know about your characters in order to make them believable? … Anything you can think to ask your character could give you more insight about him and why he acts or speaks the way he does. … In many cases, you can invent these details on the spot while you write furiously through your scene. In other cases, you will need to know a great deal about the character before you write the scene, in order to make that background presence or few speaking lines significant.
Sample questions:
  • Who have you loved? Who did you love best, and why? Ever felt guilt about love?
  • Have you ever betrayed anyone? What did you do?
  • Ever witnessed or experienced violence? What was your reaction to seeing or experiencing that violence?
  • Ever committed a violent act? What was it, and why did you do it?
  • Ever risked something important or made a sacrifice for someone else? Would you do it again?

Four Methods for Interviewing Your Characters (Laurie Schnebly Campbell)
Method #1: Twenty Questions
Sample questions:
6. If you could spend the day with someone you admire (living or dead or imaginary), who would you pick?
7. Do you think you've turned out the way your parents expected?
13. What would you like it to say on your tombstone?
Method #2: Basic Inventory
Sample questions:
  • What attracts this character to the other?
  • What repels this person about the other?
  • What does character want from life?
  • What could character lose here?
  • What does character want to avoid?
  • What will this person have to give up in order to be with the other?
Method #3: "Gloves-Off" Questions
What do you want? Jennifer Crusie says to give them some time to answer this, then ask: Okay, but what do you really want? Give them some time to answer this, then ask: That's fine, but what do you REALLY want? (Keep asking this until they reveal something that, on the surface, sounds pretty shameful—that's what they're hiding from themselves. And that's what makes them human...
Method #4: Freestyle Interview
This is really like having a conversation with somebody you'd like to get to know better. You can do it before starting the book, or anywhere in the middle—just keep in mind what stage of the book this person is at. (If they haven't yet met the love of their life, they can't really talk about the relationship!)

Get to Know Your Characters through an Interview
Sample questions:
  • How do you feel about your family, now that you’re an adult?
  • What parts of loving come easy for you? Hard?
  • What really moves you, or touches you to the soul?
  • What's the one thing you have always wanted to do but didn't/couldn't/wouldn't? What would happen if you did do it?
  • What do you consider your special talent? What do you wish your special talent was?

Getting to Know You: Questions for your Viewpoint Character (Alicia Rasley)
Just read this over and answer whatever questions (don't have to do all) intrigue you.... in the VOICE (first person) of ONE of your POV characters. It might help to choose the main character you know the least.
First-person, remember. That will help you get a sense of the character's voice. …
Remember the rule:
WHAT YOU CONCEAL IS WHAT YOU REVEAL. That is, anything this character feels like she needs to conceal? Probably really important! And notice HOW she conceals it. Does she make light of it? Does she lie? Does she ignore it? Does she wish it away? Does she get belligerent and "none of your beeswax?" Don't say, "Well, if she's concealing it, how do I know?" You can't conceal without notice. That is, the very act of concealment should SHOW. The reader should be able to sense that this is a sensitive topic, or that the character isn't telling the whole truth, or that she's making light of something important.

How to Writer an Interview with a Book Character (Kara Page)
Sample questions:
  • Write several questions that relate to the history of the character. …
  • Write several questions about what happens during the course of the book. These will typically focus on the "hows" and "whys." …
  • Write several questions about what the character will do after the book ends. …
  • Ask the character to share a secret with you that is not revealed in the book. ...

Interviewing Characters: Follow the Energy (Dale Emery)
… I did what I do in many real-life interviews: Follow the energy. The idea is to:
1. Ask a question that invites the character to tell me something new.
2. Listen for emotional intensity in the answer. Sometimes the emotion is subtle, and other times it’s big and obvious.
3. Ask my next question based on that emotion.

Interviewing Your Character
Sample questions:
1. What is your earliest memory?
5. Last nightmare you remember having?
15. Do you pray?
16. Do you have any superstitions?
20. What was the last song you sang?
30. If you stay up late what do you do?

Interviewing Your Lead Character: 13 Questions to Ask Before You Begin Your Story (Brenda Nelson-Davis)
My critique partner, who comes from a military background, takes a different spin on the interview process. She imagines herself as airport security. She orders each of my characters to turn out their pockets and she runs each piece of luggage through high-tech scans. Then she and her virtual commandos escort “said character” to an interrogation room to discuss each found object. “Explain the purpose of this object,” she commands. “You’re carrying it because?” Her grilling unearths a wealth of information. (I’m certain she missed her calling.)

Wednesday Writing Challenge: Character Interview (Susan Pogorzelski) Let your characters guide you; listen to their story. After all, it’s theirs to tell. (Hints: Try to refrain from answering the questions as yourself. Instead, answer as your character would, be creative and use whatever first comes to mind.)
 Sample questions:
  • What is your evening routine?
  • What’s in your refrigerator?
  • What was your favorite cartoon as a child?
  • Who would you call in an emergency?
  • What’s on your bookshelf?
  • What’s your favorite letter, word, phrase?

Writing Characters Using the Proust Questionnaire (Andy Shackcloth)
The Proust questionnaire totally ignores age, partner, colour of hair and instead asks leading questions of who are you, what are your values. I found it impossible not to don the characters head and fill out the questionnaire as if I were he/she. For some reason the very way he/she thinks pops into your head and then it becomes the character filling in the form.
Sample questions:
6. Who are your favourite characters in history?
17. What do you most value in your friends?

19. What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?
30. What historical figures do you most despise?
33. How would you like to die?
Do you have favorite questions you ask to discover more about your characters?

System Failure Part 2 (Frances Louis)

Fact of Life #208: Murphy's Law makes no exceptions. Fact of Life # 500: Luck is fickle.

It should be said, that while the author knew and embraced these truths, she certainly didn't heed them--that was, she didn't until last Tuesday night when her nightmare became a reality.

Ok, so maybe, just maybe, I over dramatize. But then, maybe I don't. When you spend hours, no--make that DAYS, in front of your computer screen, creating and conjuring up epic heroes and ill-fated love affairs, you tend to think the work in front of you is valuable, and something worth saving. This explains why screams of terror were shouted when the screen on my laptop dimmed and a message with the dreaded words, "System Error", blipped last Tuesday.

I immediately began to panic. While a majority of my work was backed up, my current work in progress, for some reason unbeknowst to me, was NOT. I somehow forgot to make the extra step to copy my story in an email and send it to myself. I mean, after all, things like crashing hard drives don't happen to me...right? WRONG. They do. After waiting two grueling days for the computer techies to diagnose my sick computer, I received the tragic news: A crashed hard drive with no retrievable data. Everything was lost.

Sure I spilled a few tears. Sure I mumbled a few cuss words. But I didn't wallow. I brushed the dirt off my knees, picked up a new jump drive, an external hard drive, and Microsoft Office '10 (because my new internal hard drive had no programs installed on it) and set out to write again.

Yes, I'm still upset with the whole ordeal. But I'm more upset with my lack of precautions than with the loss of my story. Sometimes, there is a reason one loses everything. Sometimes, a new beginning allows us to pursue greatness. After all, I wanted to start a new story...right?

Hello! My name is Melissa Robbins

I took to heart Joan's earlier post about names. In my current WIP, I have to be careful what names I choose. There weren't any Britneys and Tiffanys running around in World War Two England.

A resource I have found helpful is the Social Security's website that lists the most popular names for a certain time period. Roxann mentioned this one in Joan's comments. Just be careful to figure out when your character would have been born. My hero, Jack's name ranked number #26 in 1916. Yes, Jack is a common name even now, but I think I would cry if an editor asked me to change it. Jack's name, short for Jackson, suits my hero.

For my heroine, I went against normal 1940's names and christened her Wren. I have a pretty common name, so I wanted Wren's name to be unique, but not weird. I first saw the name from the Baby Blues comic. After choosing my heroine's name, I discovered a neat connection between my plot and a story about a wren, so I knew Wren's name was perfect.

I also have a couple of nicknames in my story. Wren is called Liberty by one of the pilots due to her being the only American among the British. I thought I was so clever when I came up with Spyder's nickname. His real surname is Snyder, but having a German last name in WW2 England was frowned upon. Amazing what changing one letter can do, but if you ask Mick how Spyder got his nickname, he'll tell you it's because Spyder is so handsie with the ladies, it's like he has more than two hands. ;0)

One does have to pay attention to national origins of the characters. Two of my characters are third generation Irish, so they have Irish names. I have a Jewish girl in my story named Abigail.'s website allows one to look up the national origin of a name from Aboriginal to Welsh. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the list. The website also has great tips for writers thinking about their characters' names. Tip #3 made me giggle. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I ignored Tip #6, so sue me.

A handy resource I believe all writers use is the phonebook. If I need a quick minor character name, I'll flip mine open and point. A trick I learned from a mystery writer was keeping the programs from various graduations and performances. In one program for a selection of one-acts, I found the most delightful hyphenated name for a minor character. It screamed upper crust British. I later learned from my exchange student, that the actor was in fact really British. I bet he is popular with the teen girls.

Care to share any name resources?

Getting to Know You: Interviewing Your Characters (Penny Rader)

A writer friend asked if I could find some info about interviewing characters. Always eager to play on the Internet, I happily took up the challenge. Who knew there'd be so many articles on this subject! So much, in fact, that I'm splitting my discoveries into two posts. I hope you find the following articles (and snippets) helpful.

100 Character Development Questions for Writers (Laura Cushing)

My advice is to do the questions a bit a time so you don't burn out on them. Just when you have some quiet time, sit down with your character (perhaps over a cup of tea) and let them answer the questions naturally. Skip any that do not apply to your character or world setting. … Answer these in character, but only in a situation where your character would be 100% honest with themselves and with the person asking the question. Otherwise, answer as an author, and still be 100% honest.

Sample questions:

5. What tape or CD hasn't left your player since you purchased it? Why?
13. What annoys you more than anything else?
23. What habit that others have annoys you most?
24. What kind of things embarrass you? Why?
25. What don't you like about yourself?

20 Questions for Your Characters (Louise Ahearn)

Keep in mind that the most important question is “why?” Don’t let your characters get away with “yes” or “no” answers.

Sample questions:

1. What is your most painful memory from childhood? Your happiest?
2. What is your greatest fear?
3. What did you want to be when you grew up? Are you living your dreams?
5. If you could go back in time and change one decision you made, which one would you change?

Note from Penny: Louise’s article also mentions a few books that might be helpful in interviewing your characters.

Add Depth to Stories by Interviewing Characters (Marg McAlister)

The basic format of the character interview is simply to put the author's question on one line, then start the character's response on the next. As the interview proceeds, writers usually find that they can picture the actions and body language of the character, and also inflections of speech. It's handy to note these details in the interview script as well, because they come in handy when writing scenes; readers will be able to see your characters more clearly.

B&A Writers: Character Interview Questions

Sample questions:

4. What is your usual facial expression? A frown, raised eyebrows?
5. What do you think people's first expression of you?
8. What is your motto in life?
10. What was the one thing you learned that you never forgot?
15. Some stranger says something about you that he/she heard. Is it good or bad? How do you react?

Character Development – The Interview (Randy Ulrich)

Sample questions:

1. How would your parents describe you?
2. How would your friends describe you?
10. Where are your least favorite places?
11. What kind of sleeper are you?
17. What do people assume about you that isn’t true?

Character Interview: 15 Questions

Sample questions:

4. What's the best day of your life?
5. When have you had to act strongest when it hurt?
12. Are you human? If not, what are you?
13. What's your favorite song?
14. What do you do in your spare time?

The Character Interview: Lotsa Questions (Alicia Rasley)

If these characters were really real, you'd get acquainted in a variety of ways, chief among them observation and conversation -- watching and interviewing. I'm going to ask you to use these two techniques to discover -- to uncover -- one of your characters.

I recommend free-writing as one of the best ways to tap into your subconscious and break writer's block. To free-write, just set a timer for three or five or ten minutes, type or write a prompt or a question, and then write freely about it. Editing isn't allowed; neither is writer's block. If you can't think of anything to say, write the last word over and over until you get inspired. Don't worry! It never takes long.

Then just write down whatever your subconscious sends you, without regard for spelling, grammar, or organization. Often it's the digressions from the subject that provide the most fascinating insights. When the timer rings, you must stop -- unless, of course, you're so inspired you want to continue!

Sample questions:

3. What talent or skill will you need to have to survive this plot? (an incisive mind, sharpshooting, charm, auto mechanics) How did you acquire this? How do you use it?
17. What are you keeping secret? Who is it secret from? Yourself? How long has it been a secret? What do you think will happen if it becomes known? What really will happen if it becomes known?
18. What are you lying about, if only to yourself? Are you good at deception? How about self-deception? Why are you lying? Who doesn't fall for it? What will happen if the truth gets out?
19. What is your special power? It doesn't have to be supernatural. What ability/skill/talent/sensitivity/value/belief sets you apart from everyone else? What do you do with this power? How does it get you into trouble? How does it get you out of trouble?

Character Interview Questions (Donna Sunblad)

Which Describes You (your character) Best?

1. Nervous or calm?
2. Teacher or student?
6. Humble or proud?
9. Honest, stretch the truth when necessary, or all out liar?

Character Interview Sheet (Marg McAlister)

You’re going to wear two hats. As the author, you are going to start by asking the questions. Then you’re going to slip into your character’s skin to answer those questions. … Don’t give the answers that YOU, the everyday-writer-you, would give. This is not about you; it’s about a completely different person that you’re creating.

Sample questions:

*How do you react to confrontation? Would you give anything for a quiet life or do you enjoy winning an argument or a fight?
*Is there anyone you would not expect to betray you? How would you feel/react if they did?
*Who would you die to protect?
*Who would die to protect you?
*“I can usually get myself out of trouble by…”
*“I don’t like people who…”

Character Questionnaires

One of the best ways to get to know your characters is to ask questions about them. Many writers do this as a kind of homework before they actually start writing a story. The more you know your characters, the fuller they will be. This might also make your story easier to write.

Sample questions:

• What or who is the greatest love of your life?
• When and where were you the happiest?
• What is it that you most dislike?
• What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
• What is the trait you most deplore in others?
• What do you consider the most overrated virtue?


What do you think? Care to share your character interview in the Comments section?

Please come back on March 31st for Part 2. :D

My Other Office

Out here in Southwest Kansas (yes, I'm a long distance member of WARA, a very looong distance member), there are a lot of miles between important places. Important as in the distance between our house, located in the middle of a wheat field, to a loaf of bread. The nearest loaf for purchase is twenty-two miles away. The bank is forty-five.

Some people think, when they get here, that there is a lot of nothing out here. They're wrong, of course, but it really depends upon your view.


The View! The sky is what we look at, it is constantly changing and has the most fascinating things in it. From dirt to jets, yes, the sky has the good stuff.

However, when it comes to writing, my little two watt brain gets stuck quite frequently and can't find the word it is looking for. When it isn't concentrating on a word or two, it is trying to figure out how my characters are going to get out of the situation I've written them in to. Then is when the distances out here really shine. That forty-five minutes it takes to drive to town for an implement part or that loaf of bread is when my little brain starts firing off all kinds of ideas. I don't scream to a stop for the cell phone--no signal anyway. Nope, it's to get down on paper that word, idea, scene that just popped into my Easy-Bake Oven brain and started cookin'.

If it weren't for the price of gas, I'd do all my writing in the front seat of the car/pick-up truck. My laptop beside me instead of paper and a cooler full of ice cold coke sittin' on the passenger floorboard. Yup, that'd be the life. Driving from hither to yon. Sometimes parking under a cottonwood tree, listening to the birds, pounding away at the keyboard until the next moment I need to start driving again. (bathrooms are far between too!) Of course the wind wouldn't blow dirt in the windows and biting flies wouldn't even exist to bother me.

But whether my imaginary office ever materializes or not, the act of driving does somehow release a part of my creativity that works on the stories I write. With ideas blossoming and problems being solved during my long drives to town, writing merely adds more reasons why I love living here.

My Office

I have seen beautiful offices: heavy oak furniture, low hanging ceiling fans, tapestries on the walls, soft buttery leather chairs, overstuffed love seats…all the things I can’t afford and will probably never have.

What does my office look like? Mismatched furniture, a tired cloth office chair, a desk top computer with two monitors and directly behind it, a tall bookcase loaded with all types of reference books spanning the middle ages to modern day forensics.

The writing tools are there, but it’s not exactly where I compose my stories. My two daughters tend to take over my world and to this date, I was slowly and methodically pushed from my space.

The next step? A netbook in my bedroom. Newest office space. Has it worked? Somewhat. When the laptop is opened, the stories beckon but so does my Facebook, email or other sites, not to mention the flat screen TV glaring my way. When the muse approaches, it tends to appear at the time my daughter needs help with homework or my husband wants to watch a movie, but I do find time to write.

Update? My husband is well aware of my lamentations of personally owning my private writing space. On March 11th, he ordered the iPad 2. He states that my office will now travel everywhere I go and that writing will not be inhibited as much.

Thus, you ask with frustration, “What does your office look like?” Answer: it depends on the day and time. Sometimes, my “real office” is in the basement, others, my bedroom and in the future, wherever I have a chance to sit and tap away on my new iPad.

Your office can be anywhere you make it and that’s how mine is at this moment. Maybe in the far off future I will have those rich tapestries, thick, leather cushioned chairs and a luxuriant desk, but it doesn’t make a writer write.

The office is within the heart and soul of the composer.

What would my perfect office be like...

I would have many windows with different views:
• A window that looked out at one of the Scottish lochs to let me watch the misty fog rising in early morn, let me see an ancient castle’s ruins across the way, let me savor and dream about a tall and handsome Scottish laird striding over the land within my view.
• An open window that looked out at a beach in northern California and let me feel the coolness of a new day, let me hear the waves rolling onto the sand, and let me watch young lovers walking hand-in-hand, barefoot along the water’s edge.
• A window that looked out at sprawling gardens filled with flowers of every size and color, guarded by weeping willows with branches dancing merrily in the soft breeze.

I would have a variety of chairs in which to sit:
• An over-stuffed, extra-wide chair, perfect for curling up in and letting my thoughts wander through the many thoughts overflowing within my mind.
• A buttery soft leather chair with a matching ottoman to ease onto with a good book and slip away from the trials of working on a storyline that isn’t working at the moment.
• A plump swivel, rocking chair, something to satisfy the need to sit and daydream while curling up one leg and using the other to absently swivel from side-to-side or mindlessly rock at a comfortable pace.

I would have electronics galore:
• A personal computer on my desk with two—maybe three—monitors.
• A laptop for the moments I sit in one of my many chairs to write in comfort.
• An iPad…just because.
• An iPhone…another “just because.”
• A radio/CD player that sits across the room to quietly play music of many genres dependent upon my mood…with a remote.
• A TV with a remote.

I would have a selection of tempting indulgences:
• Chocolate in many varieties and forms.
• Cheez-Its because they are so easy to nibble on.
• A basket filled with snack bars, granola bars, and cookies.
• Apples and cheese strings.
• Flavored waters and V-8 Fusions (to get my daily requirements of fruits and vegetables in a drink)

These are some of my fantasies, far from my reality. Okay, I have all of the electronics (just call me Geek), but not necessarily in my “office.” And I have chocolate hidden away in desk drawers most of the time. Plus there is a box of Cheez-Its under my desk, unopened as I keep forgetting it’s there. But the windows and the chairs… Dreams only.

Office of Disfunctional Writer

Yes, my office/lair is my perfect place to be for me. However, how much time is really spent writing? Lately, not near enough.


Because goal setting or not, there are the jelly things of life. The insubstantial things that gum up the works. Things that tear the I-need-to-do-this down to mmlslhlsshasfs (muffled sound through closed lips and clenched teeth).

Merely this simple blog this week became a nightmare of scheduling, let alone the ten pages I pledged to myself, culminating with my sister almost tearing her foot from her leg yesterday at nine in the morning.

Yes, I got the call as I'm the first to be called in an accident. Her husband second on the list. Why? Because we both live in terror of a husband responding to a doctor with, "Whatever you think, doc, go ahead."

My first response to the call, was that I'd take care of everything, but her lunch bucket, purse, and keys needed to be rounded up. The response I got was that they take care of the injured first. Well of course!, but I could hear her in the background talking. Her supervisor on the phone thought it might be a broken or twisted ankle so obviously no blood was spurting. Why were these things important? Because you need ID these days to get care, someone needed to bring the car home, and her lunch bucket had her wallet and car keys in it.

The lunch bucket made it.

But, the realities of emergency care in southwest Kansas included, before it was all done, travel through six counties (except the first ambulance, I hauled her around in the back seat of my car), three emergency rooms, two hospital check-ins, two bone specialists (one who had to leave town too soon to be of much help), parking on the sidewalk once, an emergency surgery, a partial cast, a full cast, yards of ace bandage, two tanks of gas....

All in the time period between 9AM and 1AM the next morning. I got home at two.

Today has been spent informing momma and brother, updating her boss, and starting the ball rolling on paperwork.

Everywhere we went they said they'd fax information to the next place to make sure the facility was ready for us, bless their hearts. Somewhere there is a very busy fax machine taking faxes from unknown places. No one had ever heard of us wherever we arrived.

It has been an interesting week. But no writing has been accomplished that is worth spit.

Goals met for the week? Sister gets to keep foot and is now home drugged to eyeballs. I don't really remember anything else that happened even though it was a killer week. Somethings just get pushed out of your memory as unimportant I guess. Silly though, I remember I needed to blog today and I remember I was supposed to write ten pages.

Sometimes we push ourselves as writers, but sometimes the gummy stuff pushes back.

I Write. Or at Least I Try. (Rox Delaney)

I've been so busy this past week, that I haven't had time to give much thought to what I might blog about.  That is not a good thing, because I tend to go off the deep end, if not reined in.

What have I been busy doing?  Apparently I've been creating new words.  No, not a story, but really new, never before seen or heard words. They're so new, you can't find them in a dictionary.  You see, I've been working on copy edits. 

So what, you say, are copy edits?  That's when an editor or copy editor reads through the work you've so proudly produced and finds all the mistakes that you must fix.  Mistakes?  Oh, surely not!  Pshaw.  This time I completely left out a running thread that's been in each of the last five books.  However, my editor didn't notice.  I did.  Of course Vern and Esther must appear!  If not, it could be bad luck.  Then again, it's possible I'm the only person who would notice it.  But nevermind, two short paragraphs were all it took.  Vern and Esther live on...unless my editor decides they don't. :(

Then there's that special new word. Crampled.  It reminds me of one of those captcha words we have to type in to be able to comment on the blog.  Crampled?  Really?  The hero was sorry the back seat of his sports car was so crampled.  Aha!  And you thought it was just a typing mistake meaning crumpled.  Like a crumpled tissue.  No.  I'm much more artistic than that. ;)

And why had I created never-before-heard words?  Because I was stumbling through revisions at 5 a.m. and didn't notice.  Sleep is something many writers find somewhat foreign at times, such as in the throes of a deadline.  In other words, at 5 a.m., I'd been up for 22 hours.  I'm amazed I knew my own name!

Now that I look at the clock, I realize that I'm inching into that  time period known to many as LaLa Land, and it's time to get some sleep.  That alarm will be ringing again in less than 7 hours, and I've reached my quota of new words for this week.  To be honest, I've reached my quota of words, period.

Have a lovely week!

A Rose by Any Other Name J Vincent

“What’s in a name?” Juliet poses in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. What IS in a name?!

Does it make a difference? Is Han Solo truly better than Harold Sole? Did George Lucas intimate anything about Han when he used “solo” as his name? Of course there is Chewy so perhaps not but I still think the thought has merit. But back to my topic.

Do you, as a writer, give more than cursory thought to your characters names? This is not a minor part of writing. Think of how many characters appear in any one book. Seldom are there only two or four and there can be dozens. Each has to have a moniker.

I clip head shots from newspapers, magazines, any source I find them. When I begin a book I choose pictures for my major characters. Sometimes a name comes to mind on the instant of visualizing a character. That is rare for me so I have resources I turn to when confronted with a nameless character. Since the name's meaning is as important as the sound of it, to the right of the my computer I have The Writer’s Digest Character-Naming Sourcebook and on my shelves: Secret Universe of Names, Names Through the Ages, Beyond Jennifer and Jason, Name Your Baby, Origin and Signification of Scottish Surnames with a Voc. of Christian Surnames, 20,001 Names for Baby

There are also some very interesting web sites involving names.

Behind the Name The Etymology and History of First Names (English, French, Spanish, Irish, Biblical, Mythological and more)
Behind the Name The Etymology and History of Surnames (English, French, Spanish, Irish, Biblical, Mythological and more)

The Etymology of First Names

Meaning of Names Look on left side for link to Boys names, girls names even dogs names and surnames

What matters to you in or about a character’s name? What resources do you use in choosing a name? How do you name them?


Or maybe it’s just an old country song. Either way, I’m struggling to write through the tough times. It’s a skill I have yet to master.

Being sick with this upper respiratory crap for almost three weeks kicked my butt. There were days I didn’t get dressed, make my bed or do the dishes. I know, my non-bed making friends are laughing at me now, but I like my bed to be made and I hate walking into the kitchen and seeing a sink full of dishes. Usually, hubby picks up the slack, but he was just as sick. And to top it all off, an extended member of our family died and the funeral is today.

How much new writing did I get done during all this? None. Zero. Zip. Nada. I did some revisions, but that was it. There were days where I probably could have written, but stopping every couple of minutes to cough really interrupts my concentration. However, my biggest problem was being seduced by the remote. The lure of lying under a fleece blanket and watching movies was a temptation I couldn’t ignore. The combination of the warm blanket, Netflix and control of the TV, lulled me into a false sense of comfort.

Quite simply, I was looking for love in all the wrong places. Now I’m behind on all my goals.

And if there is one thing I did not need, it’s a bigger behind.

The coughing is finally down to a minimum. The fevers have gone away. I’m washing up my fleece blanket and putting it in the closet and going cold turkey on Netflix.

I have stories to tell. I have work to do. I have goals to meet.




Pat Davids here. I ran across this great list compiled by Mark Nichol on Daily Writing They are whimsical words and I challenge you to use a few of them in a sentence. Now, I already love balderdash, but I've never used it in a book. Bodacious was one of my brother Bob's favorite words when he was a teen. Do you see your new or old favorite word in the group? I'm going to make sure at least three of these wonderful words gets used in my next book. One of them will not be borborygmus.

absquatulate: to flee, abscond
abstemious: restrained in consumption of food and alcohol
balderdash: nonsense
ballyhoo: commotion, hype
bindle stiff: hobo
bodacious: remarkable, voluptuous
borborygmus: sound of intestinal gas
cahoots (in the expression “in cahoots with”): scheming
callipygian: possessing a shapely derriere
cantankerous: irritating, difficult
carbuncle: pustule
caterwaul: to wail or protest noisily
cattywampus: in disarray
cockamamie (also cockamamie): ridiculous
comeuppance: just deserts
concupiscent: possessed of erotic desire
copacetic (also copasetic, copesetic): satisfactory
curmudgeon: ill-tempered (and often old) person
debauchery: sensual gratification
doohickey: gadget or attachment
effluvium: unpleasant smell
factotum: all-around servant or attendant
farrago: confused mixture
festoon: to decorate; dangling decorative chains
finagle: to trick
fisticuffs: fighting with fists
flabbergasted: dumbfounded
flagitious: villainous
flibbertigibbet: flighty person
flummoxed: confused
foible: fault
folderol: nonsense
foofaraw: flash, frills
fusty: moldy, musty, old-fashioned
gallimaufry: mixture, jumble
gallivant: to jaunt or carouse
gobbledygook: nonsense, indecipherable writing
haberdasher: men’s clothier; provider of sundries
harridan: shrewish woman
higgledy-piggledy: in a disorganized or confused manner
high jinks (also hijinks): boisterous antics
hodgepodge: mixture, jumble
hokum: nonsense
hoodwink: to deceive
hoosegow: jail
hornswoggle: to dupe or hoax
hortatory: advisory
hullabaloo: uproar
ignoramus: dunce
imbroglio: confused predicament
jackanapes: impudent or mischievous person
jiggery-pokery: deceit
kerfuffle: disturbance
lackadaisical: bereft of energy or enthusiasm
loggerheads (in the expression “at loggerheads”): quarrelsome
lollygag: to meander, delay
loquacious: talkative
louche: disreputable
lugubrious: mournful, dismal
malarkey (also malarky): nonsense
maleficence: evil
mendacious: deceptive
oaf: clumsy or stupid person
obfuscate: confuse, obscure
obloquy: condemning or abusive language, or the state of being subject to such
obsequious: flattering
orotund: sonorous, or pompous
osculate: to kiss
paroxysm: convulsion or outburst
peccadillo: minor offense
periwinkle: light purplish blue; creeping plant; aquatic snail
perspicacious: astute
pettifogger: quibbler; disreputable lawyer
poltroon: cowardly, coward
prognosticate: to predict
pusillanimous: cowardly
raffish: vulgar
ragamuffin: dirty, disheveled person
rambunctious: unruly
resplendent: brilliantly glowing
ribaldry: crude or coarse behavior
rigmarole (also rigamarole): confused talk; complicated procedure
ruckus: disturbance
scalawag: scamp
scofflaw: lawbreaker
shenanigans: tricks or mischief
skedaddle: flee
skulduggery: devious behavior
spiffy: stylish
squelch: to suppress or silence; act of silencing; sucking sound
subterfuge: deception, or deceptive ploy
supercilious: haughty
swashbuckler: cocky adventurer; story about the same
sylph: lithe woman
tatterdemalion: raggedly dressed person; looking disreputable or decayed
termagant: shrewish woman
whirligig: whirling toy; merry-go-round; dizzying course of events
widdershins (also withershins): counterclockwise, contrary
willy-nilly: by force, haphazardly