Plot Development, Characters and their Monikers for “The Disruptors”

NamesI worked on the plot and characters for “The Disruptors” this week. I’ve developed a bit of a process to organize this part of the writing.


My plan had been to focus on “Bright Freedom”, but this week I got side tracked into “The Disruptors”. I feel bad that I put off a project, but I felt moved to work on the other project.



I started to prepare an outline for the story. It is something of a formula. I want to have 16 chapters, so I decided that I need to have 16 “cliff hangers” to end each chapter. I came up with the 16, but some of them are quite weak. As I continue to work on the project I feel I can come up with some better ones. One of the things I’ve learned about creativity is that you need to come up with many more ideas than you use in the end. If you want 16 good ideas, you need a lot more than 16 ideas.


I started to develop characters for the story. I came up with a group of good guys and a group of bad guys. I identified what kind of role each of them will play in the story. Some of them don’t have much of a role to play, so maybe I can use that to generate more ideas for plot elements.

I have some vague physical descriptions for three of the characters, but haven’t given much thought to the other characters. I want to come up with more description of  what kind of people they are and how they behave. I find that helps me with dialogue.


I gave each of the characters names. So far I just did first names. In my mind I see the names as code names, so I’m not sure if I need to have family names.

I developed the process I have to create names a little more. Because I’ve heard of film makers running into problems with legal issues over uncommon names, I want to use common names. I also want to avoid the names of people I know, unless I ask them first.

I found a list of the frequencies of male, female and family names reported in the U.S. Census. I used this to prepare a short list of the most common names. In the past I just went through the top names and picked ones I wanted to use. I want to avoid similar sounding names, so I try to avoid names that start with the same letter.

I’ve refine my process this time. To start, I created a list of the five most common names for each first letter. That was a problem for some of the letters, like Q, which have only a few names. Then I used a random number generator to pick one name from for each initial. I picked names from that list.


Much of my effort so far has been formula driven. I haven’t given too much thought to the underlying themes of the story. I’m not too concerned about it though. The theme is inherent in the nature of the story. My past experience has been that the theme comes across, even I don’t make a conscious effort to put it in.

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