Sunday, March 31, 2013

Giving Names to the Animals

I’d planned to spend the day working on the yard. But I slept half of it away. And when I got up it was to finish what I was doing before quitting from eyes-on-fire fatigue at oh-dark-hundred this morning: writing Bleeding Kansas

It’s taken me two weeks to find this groove, and now characters and themes are blossoming before my eyes. It turns out I had a breakaway femme fatale and didn’t even know it, but the more I think about her, if Severed Press should ever want a spinoff from The Saga of the Dead Silencer, I’ve got our Red Sonja.

The biggest change was to my main character’s name. He didn’t have one for a solid year since I came up with the character; my original Bright Idea was he’d adopt the names of his favorite American poets as he went from place to place. Fortunately I came to my senses, accepted that the Man With No Name shtick was played-out, and “Whitman” was the name that stuck.

The name “Derek Samuel Whitman” sounds too much like Charles Stuart Whitman, though. (If you don’t know who this is, fine. I do, and it’s not.) Moreover, Derek Whitman is the exact opposite of Walt Whitman in temperament. The author of Leaves of Grass liked people; my man Derek feels better when they’re not around. A change had to be made.

Therefore, as of sometime this afternoon, the titular character of The Saga of the Dead Silencer is now Derek Samuel Grace. No religious juju intended nor implied, but if you buy the book. you can project whatever you like into it. In other news his son’s name has been changed from “Eric” to “Jack.” (Seriously, the dad’s name is Derek and the son is Eric? No. I don’t know what I was thinking either.)

For a strange spell of an hour I came up with the full names of characters who come and go throughout the course of Bleeding Kansas, e.g., Claire, Giselle, Tanner, Krystle, Brandon, Evans, Kerch, Rebecca. I gave them a line each by way of explaining their motivations, etc. I want all these little details nailed down. I’m not running a Punch ‘n’ Judy show here. If I do my job right you’ll recognize some of these people, maybe even miss them when they go.

All right, then. Let’s finish this.
When the Muse attacks, attention must be paid. Along with the usual pound of flesh....