Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Settings and Procrastination

Okay, so I was sitting here trying to think of what to blog about today....but all I can think about is coming up with a name for the town my cozy mystery is set in. The book isn't even DUE until September, and I have two other middle grades to write first! Ugh.

Am I procrastinating...yes! I'm still working by plotting my second Samantha Granger book, but I haven't been writing. so that got me thinking...what makes you procrastinate? Fear of not meeting your editors expectations? Fear of not meeting your own? Or like me, having something else looming in your mind preventing you from doing anything else until you figure that sucker out!

So that got me thinking ... how do you come up with your settings and the names of your towns?

For that matter, help me figure out mine so I can move forward :-))

Usually something in a story jumps out at me and the town seems to come to me naturally. But sometimes I have to call my peeps and brainstorm. I know I want the story to take place in a small town in Upstate New York. But what do you do when you have a name you like, but your editor wants you to change it? My story revolves around a psychic who uses fortune telling tools to help her see her visions more clearly, so I called the town Mystic River, not even thinking about the real mystic river. I was just thinking about the word mystical because of her and the town Black River which is a real town, so I came up with Mystic River.

Now I'm stuck. Do I go with Charmed or Charmville or Freedom or Miracle or Divinity? I want something mystical but that hasn't been done to death or is a real NY town. Utopia, Paradise, Heaven , Hope? Or do I go with something that says danger instead of reflecting the mystical like Mischief or Cryptic or Vengeance or Retribution or Penance or Rumor?

Any ideas??? Desperate minds need to know :-)

Writing can be so frustrating! What gets you stuck? What do you do to get unstuck? And for God's sake, what name should I call my town!



Mary Martinez said...

Exactly my problems. Knowing the next day is looming can cause me to procrastinate. And if I have something to do for my Utah RWA chapter (I'm president)forget about it. I have to get whatever it is off my plate. Even if it's something that doesn't need to be done for months. It's not one of my, but is my BIGGEST, pet peeve about myself.

I literally have to have nothing looming, even brushing my teeth, so I can have a free brain to write.

As for the town, I was going to say check the synonym for mystical, but none of them work and you probably have already tried it anyway.

I really do like Divinity. It's magical, white and fluffy and a fortune telling physic would fit right in.

Just my two cents. Great blog!

Kris Yankee said...

Ah procrastination, I know her well. Mine seems to stem from lack of confidence - like, "This sucks!" But most of them time, my writing takes a back seat because I feel so overwhelmed with my daily editing job. It's hard to work at home and see the author folders and know I should be working on those because (a) someone is waiting for me to tell them something, and (b) I get paid for it, whereas my writing, not so much- at least for now! Still keeping my fingers crossed that something, ANYTHING, happens with the manuscripts that are out.

Anyway, I like Mystic River, but it sounds so familiar that I'm not sure it would work. Like I know a story named that, but I'm not sure. Divinity rocks too.

Good luck finding a name. That sometimes gets me tied up (names of characters) and I usually can't move on until I've clinched the name.

Cassy Pickard said...

Boy can I speak to procrastination! Once when I was bitching about finishing my doctoral dissertation, a friend in the same boat told me she had succumbed to alphabetizing her CD's- anything to keep from having to work. Come to think of it, that's when my house was the cleanest. I think my fridge might have been organized by the color of the foods.

As for naming places, oh another good topic! I turned myself into a pretzel naming one of the towns in my last work. I too wanted something just right. I ended up with Sacro Verde- sacred green- of course this is in Italy. Mystic River is great. Being in Connecticut, of course Mystic has another connotation as one of our famous towns. And, includes the breakout movie for Julia Roberts- Mystic Pizza.

Now you have me worrying about your town's name. Another really good way to procrastinate on my "to do" list.

Anita Clenney said...

Procrastionation. My very dear friend...or is it enemy? I'm not very organized so I have to "feel inspired" in order to tackle something, whether it be housecleaning or writing, and unfortunately, that doesn't happen all the time.

As to naming towns, I struggle with it as well. So far, I've used real places, but I think I'm going to change that.

I like Divinity or Paradise.

Liz Lipperman said...

Great blog, Kari.

As you and I have discussed, selling on proposal brings a whole new set of self doubts.
I always whine to Christine, "why couldn't they have bought something I've already written?" That way, I would know they already like the writing.

My deadline is this July and I mapped out a schedule to finish so many pages a week which would put me writing "the end" the middle of April. All was going well until my computer crashed and I lost almost two weeks of writing time trying to get it fixed then putting everything back on it. Knowing I had fallen so far behind only made me procrastinate even more.

So last night I made a decision to move the finish date up a week and take some of the pressure off myself. Sometimes we just have to cut ourselves some slack.

Anyway, because I am the most undisciplined writer around, I really need to know how you guys all handle this so I can move forward.

In the meantime, I love Divinity as the name of the town in your cozy.

Lindsay said...

I think we all procrastinate. It part of the disease called author. And we can come up with the most inventive reasons not to do what we need to do-write. With me it's-oh, I'll just read one more page. Twenty pages later I'm still reading and not writing.
Divinity is a good name but since your procrastinating why not try calling the town Procrastinate.

Mary Moreno said...

My turn to weigh in on procrastination. I will suggest that procrastination is central to the creative process. For instance, when I can't come up with that plot twist, or that character defect or whatever, I just let myself do something else. A trip to the gym, scrub down the kitchen with a Q Tip, maybe even a nap. Yes, naps are best. And most of the time, while I'm doing something else, the answer comes.

Kari Lee Townsend said...

Eeeek, thank you all so much, I am LOVING the name Divinity for a town! You guys rock!

And yes, procrastination is a big problem for me right now, and i can't afford to have that problem1 I must get myself back on track!!!!!

Kind of hard when the kids are no break, but no worries, I will regroup and meet my deadlines. I've never missed one yet!!!!!!!!