My avatar's name is Ava Donja of Silk and Stone.
The other me writes general market romance. I play World of Warcraft. This is where I make two parts of my life merge in sensual fantasy romance novellas.

Monday, March 19, 2012

What’s in a Name?

What’s in a Name? A lot.
I wrote Mind, Body, and Spirit as a stand alone. That gave me so much freedom. The world creating, details about culture – I could just throw things in to land where they may. Writing follow up stories in the same word? Now I have to think about it. I even have to draw a map (I admit it; I have already drawn a map).

When I started writing Control, I made a table to lay out how each magic user actually used magic. Mages manipulate molecules, primarily through academics. Warlocks have links to the soul, it’s almost parasitic. Druids tie in to ley lines and rely on the balance of nature. Yes, I have more details than this, but they’re not relative to this post. The point here is that planning is now required. Structure. I don’t respond well to limits.

One of my biggest obstacles now are character names. I can’t just flippantly choose something that sounds cool. I can no longer just throw in a random apostrophe or replace vowels with the letter ‘y’ simply because it looks neat. No thinly veiled references to Arthurian legend (which are fine when the story itself has something to do with said legend). I have to consider the rules for naming, masculine and feminine, in the elvin cultures. Actual thought is required. Damn it.

I have already (and thoughtlessly) named Evanesse and Malccino. That sets the precedent of names ending in ‘o’ being masculine. It’s not a far reach from our own western culture naming habits. My sun elf bad guy, Thassian, is from a different culture and will have slightly different norms. In Control, my main male is sun elf – his name has to follow similar structure. I had named him Torvyn, but it was just because it looked neat. I haven’t ruled it out, but it has to fit the rule book for the culture.

In Surrender, my elf rogue was named Cagasi. Not only was this hard on the eyes (an ‘a’ followed by ‘g’ followed by ‘a’), it ends in a long ‘i’ sound. Is that within the parameters for elvin male names? That problem is that I don’t know the answer to that question – and it’s something I should know. It’s something most fantasy writers have plotted long before they start their writing. I am an romance writer who threw on some magic sauce, so this is a learning experience.

I am looking forward to this becoming so second nature, the world so fully fleshed out, that I can screw with it. Once the world norms are set in stone, I can joke with my readers. I might throw out elvin equivalents to Apple or Ochocinco and my readers will realize they’re anomalies.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Nothing New Under the Sun

Laura Kaye's Hearts in Darkness is one of my favorite books, with Caden one of my favorite heroes. I have since read her other works. I just finished In Service of the King. Though I'm not into vampires, I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys erotic paranormal romance. It threw me, though, because in her created vampire lore, when vampires mate they get a mark, a tattoo, as a visible sign of the spiritual connection.

I did the same thing in my novella, Mind, Body, and Spirit.

As soon as I read that, I put down my Kindle and checked the publication date. Her book came out a month after mine which means there was no way I could have copied that detail.

I had another moment of panic a month or so ago when I read Zoe Archer's Rebel. In the big, meaningful sex scene where they both realize they are meant to be together (one exists in every romance), it is from behind with some hair pulling involved. Slightly animalistic (which makes sense since Lesperance is a shifter). My final big "You are mine" scene had a very similar choreography.  This bothered me a little, but not too much since, in sex, there are three basic positions and the chances of having the same sequence of events are high.

But mating tattoos? What are the chances? I really thought my story device was original. I happen to really like ink and carried that through into my story. Kaye must like it too (Caden). I just have to tell myself that great minds think alike, right?  The only thing that irks is that she did it better than me. :)