Pressing "Delete" on Back-story

It's been said before, but I'll say it again. Revisions are crazy hard.

Not so much the grammatical stuff--that just takes patience.

Not even the editing of plot--thinking through the arc of your story and realizing parts of it are crap or could really be a whole lot better. Maybe it takes a while, but in the end it's easy. Because we know what's crap and what's pristine and glorious. Even if we push it to the back of our brains for awhile and convince ourselves otherwise, we always know when something isn't working. Eventually.

So, no, it's not that. The hardest part is sitting down in front of your computer or a printed manuscript, setting your hands on the keyboard or firmly clasped around a pen, and pressing "delete" when you still love what you've done. Scratching out half the words. Looking at your work and realizing that though it isn't bad (maybe it's even really good!), it doesn't fit within the context of the story. That it's not really necessary to the complications and resolution; it's just back-story.

I had to do this, recently. My love for the back-story had me ignoring how unnecessary it was to the actual plot, until a wonderful beta partner snapped me out of it. All 70 pages, gone. Vanished.

But I've realized that it's better this way. It wasn't that the back-story was bad--really, it was pretty well-written. It was just wasn't necessary. That doesn't mean parts of it never happened, because all characters have back-story. It just means a reader won't get to see it.

But that's okay. I would be happy sharing only pieces of this world in my head with readers. My novel, minus those 70-odd pages, is enough.


On Naming Characters

When developing an idea for a novel, one of the first things that comes to mind is the main character(s). Boy or girl? Fearless or hesitant? Smart or dim-witted? Thrust into a heroic position, or steps into it willingly? Such attributes will drive the story, for the characters make decisions based on their characteristics.

Once the attributes are figured it (or maybe even before), a big question becomes: what should I name these characters?

You have your standard names, of course: Tom, Nancy, Jennifer, and so on. You also have your make-believe names which often reside in fantasy novels. But most names begin somewhere. Most have an origin, and most have a meaning. Therefore, this meaning is something author's can consider when naming characters, to add a layer of depth to personality and purpose within the novel.

An example that instantly comes to mind is Suzanne Collin's The Hunger Games. Peeta Mellark, the Boy with the Bread, is named after peeta bread. Cato, the District 2 tribute, is named for a Roman politician and general who wrote the first history of Rome. Every single character name has a meaning or association that fits its character and adds a level of interest.

Characters in our novels have history, but so do their names. Whether it be a specific meaning or a relation to another person or object, choosing the right name is essential for a piece of fiction. And looking up etymology (name meanings) can be really fun for the readers, too!

So even if there's a name you want to use just because it sounds cool or seems to fit a character, considering researching the name's meaning and history. Make sure the etymology fits with your view of the character, and it will add an extra dimension to your characters and story!

Have a great weekend everyone,



Pearls white as snow
Draped across our fingers
In defeat
In our finery; let them see us
In our bravado
No tears, but regal
Clasping hands, we prance away
In elegant retreat

Copyright: Stephanie Eveland Diaz


Erhistaut - Soundtrack

I finished compiling the tracks. Here they are! A few chapters got passed by, cause I never came across a track that really did them justice. This music is fabulous, even if you have no idea what scenes I'm referring to ;)

1. The Peddler's Map– Strider – Howard Shore
2. A Conversation with the Stars – Very Old Friends – Howard Shore
3. Without Fire – La Boeuf Takes Leave – Carter Burwell
4. The Art of Tehntaa – The Cove – John Powell
5. Mark of the Crow – A Turkey Shoot – Carter Burwell
6. The Bull Surrounded – The Pass of Caradhras – Howard Shore
7. The Demon King – Weathertop – Howard Shore
8. A Thing of Legend– A Conspiracy Unmasked – Howard Shore


9. The Way of the Road – The Forbidden Pool - Howard Shore
10. Over the Water – Father’s Gun – Carter Burwell
11. The Tales of Ron Hîr – Mermaids –Hans Zimmer
12. The One Who Was Lost – One Day – Hans Zimmer
13. The Shadow of Ilkadon – Focus, Hiccup! – John Powell

14. The White Arrow – Moria – Howard Shore
15. The Swamp Hunters – The Hornburg – Howard Shore
16. Braving North – Three is Company – Howard Shore
17. Teeth and Claw – The Departure of Boromir – Howard Shore
18. A Night in the Cave – At the Burrow – Alexander Desplat
19. The Lost Road – A Journey in the Dark – Howard Shore
20. Bear Girl – Samwise the Brave – Howard Shore
21. Stars – Mulan’s Decision – Jerry Goldsmith
22. The Demon Sword – The Road Goes Ever On...Pt. 1 – Howard Shore
23. Marchin On – One Republic



Something I always do when writing my novel is listen to music from movie soundscores for inspiration. But it can't be just anything. I choose tracks that evoke the emotion and action of a particular scene. Basically, I write the movie in my head, and the music serves as the soundscore. I'm a crazy fan of movies, by the way. Studying film production this fall :)

Anyways. I'm compiling a list of the particular sound score tracks I attribute to each chapter of my novel, mostly so it will be accessible to a few individuals who happen to be reading my novel at the moment, and for future readers. The list isn't quite finished yet, but there is one song I must post now. Unlike the others, it's by a band. I consider this song the theme, if you will, of my novel--well, really, of the entire trilogy, though I have not yet written the second or third novels. It's an absolutely amazing song if you haven't heard it before. So click and enjoy!

Marching On - One Republic

Seven Things

The lovely A.M. Supinger from Inner Owlet awarded me the "Versatile Blogger Award" on her blog! Thanks AM! :) To accept it, I'm supposed to offer seven things about myself. So here they are:

1. I'm only 18, but this fall I'll be a junior in college.
2. I have a mild obsession with stars.
3. My aunt owns a sort of farm in Vermont that is my favorite. Woods, fields, and thunderstorms :)
4. I adore rainy days.
5. I find bears fascinating.
6. I made an album of seven original songs for a senior project.
7. I have been writing fantasy stories since I was seven, probably. Maybe even sooner.

And I'm passing this award onto the following five bloggers I recently discovered:

Check out their lovely blogs! :)


Falling; A Short Story

Nadia lay in a field with her eyes squeezed shut. The grass around and beneath her was gnarled and growing in patches—stamped and trodden upon until it was more brown than green. It blew lazily in the wind of the darkening day, stretching across the mat of earth to the edge of a forest, where the trees grew like giants and blocked much of the sun.
Her eyes were shut tightly, as if held by clamps. It was a game she was playing; if she kept them shut long enough, she thought the world might disappear and take everyone else with it. She had been there for hours, and was now so far lost in her mind that she did not realize they were shut.
She thought she was falling.
The air rushed past her; the clouds tangled her hair. The hawks tore their talons into her flesh as she passed them by. She cried aloud, and still she was falling. Always falling. Faster and faster, crying and crying.
The wind bit her bare arms. The crickets of the field, quietly stringing their violins, were a funeral hymn. Nadia’s funeral. She was going to die, and no one would ever know it. Her heart was pounding rapidly, like a drum; soon, it would just stop.
Something hit her hard, suddenly. Light and color and dark mingled into stars and fading nothingness, and she screamed.
She had fallen from the sky! And no, no, she was not all right—she was surely dead or dying, lost or vanishing into oblivion, out of darkness into the void. Something was strangling her throat; she frantically ripped it away with her fingers, clutching and clutching at the air where the culprit was lurking.
“Stop, please!”
The voice was a sob, entrenched with pity and worry, pleading with her. Unfamiliar, but so wrenching it made her pause.
Who could it be? She knew no savior, but the voice was too sweet to be an enemy.
The air felt thick and heavy in her lungs, and her chest heaved. Abandoning all previous desire, she let her eyelids flutter open.
A boy knelt beside her in the grass. His hair was brown and messy on his head, and his eyes were wide, overflowing with tears. She did not know him, but stared at him for awhile.
“Where am I?” she asked, at last.
He smiled through his watering eyes, and took her hand in his and squeezed it. “Someplace better,” he said.

 Copyright: Stephanie Eveland Diaz