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Author’s Delight Or ID Theft Predators Paradise?


Identity Theft

Identity Theft (Photo credit: borkweb)

There are two distinct views that arise after looking over a fake name generator website. Either it’s a brilliant idea for fiction authors and screenplay writers or it’s the most excellent piece of software available for people to commit today’s most increasing crime; that of identity theft.

Simply choosing a male or a female name, their country of abode and finally, the country base of their name (with many global options) and you’re presented with a full character profile providing a full character listing. I wish I’d had this available before I started writing my novel ‘Chasing the Will.’ It would have made my life easier. Listing;

• Name

• Address including post code/zip code

• Telephone number

• Website

• Email address which can be turned live

• A password for online access

• The mother’s maiden name

• Date of birth and age (for those without calculators)

• Credit card number and expiry date

• Insurance number or social security number

• Occupation

• Blood type

• Weight and height in imperial and metric versions

From an author’s point of view, this presents a detailed character map that can be used throughout a novel. Often writers map out an entire character’s life story so they’re consistent throughout a novel or screenplay. You still need to add their favourite likes and dislikes, their school record and their greater family make up, but you’ve saved hours of work. Just checking whether the person is online and seeing if you can use the name carefully is another task. You don’t want to use Joe Brown or Fred Smith or Barack Obama for your character’s name, which is the beauty of this software for authors. It provides real names from all aspects of the globe. You want a Japanese name – it’s yours in seconds. If you need a Polish name for a man working in Denmark, all the necessary and accurate details are provided.

The problem begins with the incorrect use of this information. Knowing the credit card number is a valid number and all the other information provided starts a team game. Registering gas or electric in the new names, the criminal starts to map out a future. Eventually he’s able to provide full information for opening a bank account and pulling stunts to gain goods and services illegally. This is then just one step away from identity theft. Our criminal can mix real knowledge with false information gained from this website to take over someone’s life.

So how do we ensure only fiction writers use this website?

 

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Check Names and Character Arcs.


Robin Hood statue in Nottingham

Robin Hood statue in Nottingham (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My protagonists and antagonists have been in place before I wrote the first words for my novel, Chasing The Will. They appeared out of thin air during the planning stage. Alas, many other characters make appearances through the novel with some joining in now and again, with some just taking a passing fancy to a line or two while others reappear like old pencils, scattered throughout the house.

Rather than writing in Final Draft screenplay software, I’ve used Microsoft Word for my novel. I’ve written it as one continuous document rather than separate folders for chapters. I don’t use a full outlining software programme for novel writing. I might one day, but it’s so difficult knowing which one is right without choosing to try them all. I don’t believe I can take a month off just to try potential software.

My master-plan is using sticky notes software to provide me with lists for characters, locations and the general story template. At any time I can call up any of the important lists at a click of the toolbar icon. They’re there, all the time, lurking; waiting to be exposed. More importantly, they’re available so I can remember how to spell their names with both the same letters and in the same order each time I use them.

Occasionally I need to see if I’m still in the right town and on the right continent. Nipping out for a coffee blurs the mind. I wouldn’t want Times Square to end up in Robin Hood’s Nottingham. The search and replace facility within Microsoft Word has proved most useful. It’s easy to find each time a character is mentioned and see whether they talk with the same character dialogue style, follow the necessary character arc and don’t change from male to female in the proceeding ten chapters.

If I can talk myself back into Final Draft software it’ll automatically show me everything performed by one individual character so I can follow their line of discussion without interference. This check ensures that they don’t use the same lines too often or repeat themselves with vital plot information. I do so detest those novels I read where it’s obvious a character has changed so much without following a change arc. Most of us don’t change overnight. Leopards and spots; which reminds me to remove some of the cliché’s one of my protagonists uses too often.

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