Friday, June 28, 2013

Writer Worries: when your fictional business name turns out to be a real one

"Blushing In Pink" dress by Ouma

A character in my novel is a fashion designer starting an urban, alternative bridal boutique. She upcycles old dresses into couture gowns that people can actually afford. My character's business deserves a cool name.  I have spent the last week making up every cool name I could think of, just to Google and find out it already exists.

Now I know if I were actually starting a business, my business name is  only held in the state where I copyrighted it. But for the purposes of a novel, can I use the name of a business that already exists? I googled and didn't really find an answer.

I have a huge list of buzzwords that I have been putting together and tearing apart like refrigerator magnet poetry  and I'm getting frustrated. I need a name that is romantic and edgy and urban. One that declares that this is a bridal shop but not that kind of bridal shop. You aren't going to get white blindness from staring at generic gowns in this boutique. You won't find $10 worth of gauze sold as veils for $70. Instead it's a place where the prices are reasonable, the veils are birdcage-y and the dresses are made with love and color. It's the kind of shop where chick flick moments are optional but feeling like a badass is not.

Wow I think I just wrote the commercial for it :)

Anyhow, these are the names I made up that turned out to be real bridal shops:

Claire Pettibone Gown

She Said Yes
Something Old, Something New
All Frocked Up
Frocked Up

I also have a list of ones that I googled that didn't come up as being shops but I'm not sure if I like those as well as the others:

Aisle Less Traveled
Rock the Frock
Gorgeous But Deadly

Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

IWSG: Editing is for lesser beings, right?

1st Wednesday of the month is Insecure Writers Support Group. Wherein I post about the difficulties of writing. 

 I hate editing. There I said it.

Before I had an actually work-in-progress, I imagined that the editing process would involve meeting my editor in a sun soaked cafe in L.A. I'd slide my Michael Kors* sunglasses off my face and air kiss my obsequious editor who would slide the manuscript across the table and express her shock and joy that every manuscript has been so well written that she has not needed to edit a single one. Then she'd let me know that I was contacted by two more movie studios who are dying to make my novels into feature films. From there I wax on about my art and how I would never sell my artistic integrity to Hollywood.

Apparently when I imagine being a romance writer, I think I'm Mary Fisher, living in a pink palace by the sea. Except without the nervous break down over a broken fingernail.

As it turns out, editing is less glamorous than you'd imagine. When I signed on to be a writer, I had no idea that anyone would actually have anything negative to say about my work. I mean, how ridiculous. I'm clearly a frickin' savant of writing. My 7th grade writing teacher said so. My best friend nods when I say so. It must be true. So why, WHY do I need to take all the those glorious words, those fantastic characters and those genius love scenes and criticize them? Doesn't that seem a tad unreasonable? I mean, isn't revision for amateurs? Everyone knows that real writers complete perfect manuscripts...

Hush you.

I'm told by other writers that no one writes perfect manuscripts. They are, by nature, a bumpy, lumpy mess. Mine is worse than most because I wrote my novel during NaNoWriMo. If that combination of letters means nothing to you, it's National Novel Writing Month. Every November thousands of insane people from all over the world decide that it's a good idea to write a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. People often ask me, "Why would you do that?" The short answer? Well clearly I'm a masochist. The long answer? I'm SERIOUSLY a masochist.

NaNoWriMo is actually a lot of fun. You go to local meet ups with other writers and you do contests like fifteen minute timed "sprints" and the winners get stickers and emotional validation. The entire point is to prove that you are capable of writing a novel. You have to turn off the part of your brain that judges your work as good or bad. You learn to turn off your inner editor and just write. Just puke up whatever is in your soul and put it on the paper, no matter how silly or how poorly written it will be. The point is quantity. Quality is irrelevant.

The upside to this is that you end up writing a the bones of a novel. Also you prove to yourself that you are more than capable of doing it and finding time to do it, no matter how busy you are. Also, if you survive the thirty days and still want to write, then you are probably on the right path (or you are a bigger masochist than the guy from Fifty Shades of Grey).

So the great part is that I can say, whoo hoo, I wrote a novel! Sort of. The downside to that great expulsion of creativity is that I now now have a steaming pile of manure to edit. Because IT IS BAD. Make no mistake. Writing without any editing at all means you end up not with a novel but with the skeleton of the story and all the skeleton's bones are broken and need to be set before you add on the muscles and tendons and all the gross innard type stuff they talk about on Bones.

Basically I have a bunch of disconnected, hurriedly written scenes and I've been writing in circles trying to edit a story that is finished in only the most generous of definitions. I don't actually know what happens in the second act of the story because I never really wrote it. I was in a hurry to get to the end and just listed a bunch of stuff I thought should happen.

Wow this is getting long and wordy. As you can see, I'm really bad at editing my own work.

I've lived my life as a pantser, not a plotter, meaning I write intuitively (by the seat of my pants) and don't plan or plot my work ahead of time. But now that I'm editing I'm seeing the necessity and beauty of at least having a rudimentary outline of how I'd like the story to be structured. But every time I try to read about HOW to outline a novel, my eyes glaze over and I fill up with the fear that I'm going to destroy the art process by limiting my story.

So after much whining on my part, my lovely friend Meika sent me the Youtube link on the left here, to a video by writer, Katytastic. She breaks it down in a way that isn't overwhelming to me. She tells how she creates an outline by breaking her novels into three acts, nine blocks and 27 chapters. I took notes during the video and then went into my manuscript and noted where each chapter and block occurred so I can see where my novel is missing parts and what I need to do. It was very useful.  

Yeah, this post is meandering and I don't feel like editing it. Because editing sucks.

And yes, I pretty much plan to use every IWSG post to whine about editing. It is way harder than writing the damn book in thirty days.

*Also I'd like it known that I do indeed own a pair of Michael Kors sunglasses that I found at T.J.  Maxx for less than $20 and I have never worn them without namedropping the designer. Mostly because I used to watch Project Runway and I love MK with a fierce passion but also because I'm kind of a douche.