Short Story Friday: Of Things to Come

Today’s short story is from my current work.  There’s a few concepts that are introduced prior to this that are just thrown at you here.  I’ve linked to them where I can if you’re interested in furthering your reading on the setting of this world.

Of Things to Come

He was trying to let it go. After all, it did not matter to him who he was married to. Any of the possibilities he might be faced with were pretty much the same. Spoiled girls with bad attitudes wrapped up in expensive dresses and pretentiousness…it was best not to think on it for too long.

His intended sat with him in the parlor and talked non-stop about herself. He was uncertain if she was trying very hard to convince him that she was worthy of his affections or if it was simply a matter of poor upbringing. He closed his eyes briefly and took a deep breath. “My dearest Katherine…I’m afraid I must return to my duties. The evening has gotten late before either of us took notice of it.”

That was a lie. The minutes had been dragging on for him since he entered the room.

The girl’s eyes flashed, “Oh my, of course. How embarrassing would it be for me to delay a Templar from his duties? We could not have your soon to be wife tarnishing such a promising career.” She appeared concerned that she had erred.

Eric knew the concern was only for his standing and position within the Central Government. Katherine’s family had fallen on hard times recently and her betrothal to a promising young Templar would go a long way to returning her family to prominence.

“Certainly not. It has never the less been an…enlightening evening.” He forced a smile and bowed slightly to the young woman. She replied with an exaggerated smile then blew a kiss in his direction. From the parlor door her parents appeared almost immediately. Eric was certain they were eavesdropping the entire time. As he made his way towards the exit, her parents joined him and lavished the Templar with undue praise.

Eric did his best to be courteous but the entire ordeal was trying beyond belief for him. Only once he had made his way back out into the streets of Britania did he feel alive again. The entire experience left him feeling as though a terrible weight were pressing against his chest. The thought of a lifetime with those people made him short of breath.

He felt disappointed for resorting to a lie in order to take his leave of them, but that feeling soon passed as the sounds and chaos of the streets flooded his senses. Eric was a calm, collected, and thoughtful man. He saw people, places, and events in a unique way that allowed him to quickly understand whatever he was dealing with. He did not even have to try, it was a skill that came to him effortlessly. So long as he kept his composure and sorted out the obstacles in front of him, there was almost nothing he was unequipped to deal with.

This insight into people and the world around him was the reason he had been able to achieve the rank of Templar so early in life. He was even-tempered. He was thoughtful. Eric was a natural.

Most young men who enter into the service of Britania’s Templars carry an ego with them so large that it takes years for the training to break them down and rebuild them into something respectable. Where Eric was concerned, ego was never an issue. He absorbed the training, took his failures in stride, and encouraged his peers. In return, he was hated by those peers at every step of his training.

He had come this far in life by setting his sights on the next goal. Always looking ahead allowed him to shrug off much of the ugliness and petty behavior of those around him. Recently though, it was becoming more and more difficult to see the point in anything he did. Only the lively sounds of the streets and the people going about their lives helped to shake him out of the melancholy that increasingly dogged him.

He resolved to have a cup of strong tea to get his mind off of things. It would help to settle his nerves and to get the awful taste of whatever it was Katherine’s parents had served them out of his mouth. He found his way to the small tea house that he favored and stepped inside. At least the owners were always pleasant and genuine with him…

The drunken voice of a slightly belligerent woman greeted him, “How long was I supposed to wait for you here? You finally show up and I’m already drunk!” The small woman slammed her flask onto the table and pointed at Eric defiantly. Next to her was a thin man wearing a strange pair of glasses. He smiled at the woman’s behavior and idly shuffled a deck of cards.

Eric looked around confused. He pointed to himself wondering if perhaps the woman was yelling at someone else. “Of course you! Come over here Mr. Templar. Come over here!”

He shook his head in confusion but never the less approached the pair. “They do not even serve alcohol here. What in the world is wrong with you?” Eric was curious now. Something was different about this woman.

The man next to her kicked a chair forward for Eric to sit down in. “Care to play a game of cards?” the strange man asked.

“No thank you.” Eric sat down with them, his curiosity getting the better of him. “I can’t say I have a fondness for gambling anyway.”

The man lifted an eyebrow. “He’s the one alright.”

The woman shook her head in agreement. “He’s the one. Doesn’t look like much, that’s for sure.”

“You clearly have mistaken me for someone else.” Eric was still uncertain about this unexpected meeting but he could not sense anything remotely dangerous or threatening about the pair. Instead there was something familiar about them, at least as far as the woman was concern. It was then that the woman asked him a question under her breath that cut him deeper than any wound he had ever endured during training.

“How long Eric? How long will you go on pretending?” Any hint of intoxication fled from the woman and she leaned in closer to him at the table. Something powerful and frightening was in the air.

Uncertainty filled his voice and finally Eric asked, “W…who are you? What the hell are you talking about “pretending”?  Further more, how do you know my name?”

The man answered first, “Her name is Dori. Mine is Julian. She thinks you’re something special. Some business about the stars being aligned right when you were born or some such nonsense.”

“It isn’t nonsense Julian. You know better.” Dori scolded him.

“As strange as this has been… Let me reassure you in case you didn’t happen to think this was odd, it was. But me? I am nothing special. Another one in a long line of Templars who are here to do a job and nothing more.” Whatever frustration had built up in Eric’s heart over the years was coming out in full force now.

“But you’re better than the others, are you not? I’m not asking you as a matter of pride. I want to know your professional opinion…is there a better warrior among Britania’s Templars?” The woman’s eyes were lit up with a mischievous gleam to them that told Eric that the question itself was a trap.

“I’m just an ordinary man. Templars are not measured against one anther but against the threats we face down for your protection Miss. Now if you’ll excuse me.” Eric stood up, turned his back on the pair and walked off.

Julian looked at Dori knowingly. Dori stood up from the table and shouted so that everyone in the tea house could hear her. “The time is coming when ‘ordinary’ will not be good enough! When that time comes, you will remember this day! You can not hide from fate!”

The Templar was gone.

Dori flopped back into her seat and looked to Julian, “Do you think it will help?”

“Hard to say. I’ve seen what hopelessly lost looks like…it just sat down with us.”

“He doesn’t have a choice in the matter. He’s the only one who can match her…”

 

Share on Tumblr

Your Worst Reviewer

I’m almost convinced that I am unable to judge the strength or weakness of my own stories.  Not because I don’t have a good mind for storytelling, but because I either doubt what I write too often or on the other side I think too highly of something I have not transferred from my mind to paper properly.

Very frequently I find I have difficulty when coming to critical points in a narrative.  The difficulty presents itself in the form of hesitation.  I don’t want to move forward in writing because I hesitate about going one way or another.  It leaves me second guessing the route I went after the fact.  I imagine this is something every writer deals with.

Oddly enough, when I send story chapters out for review, it is frequently the ones I have the most doubt about that come back with the strongest positive reviews.

There could be any number of reasons for this.  Those chapters are often the ones that get edited an extra time or two before going out.  Or perhaps the deliberative process in creating them really hammers out the inconsistencies that I see while writing.  Never the less, I’m happy to be wrong in these instances and its a great relief when something you’ve gone over again and again comes back with positive reviews.

Of course, the other side of the coin is when something you felt really strongly about misses the mark entirely.  There are rare occasions when I think I’ve nailed a chapter and idea only to find that there were key things in my mind that did not translate to words.  At least then the solution is somewhat easy to incorporate, after all, your reviewers are able to tell you exactly what it is you were unable to see the first time through.

Share on Tumblr

Site Update

Preview Chapter 2 of Master of the House was added to the site today.  Give it a read if you want to see the interworkings of Seaside’s gangs start coming into play and a revelation of the book’s true villain.

Chapter 2 – The Magician

Please go back and take a look through Chatper 1 – The Fool to start your read.  A little more about the world this book is set in can also be found here.

Share on Tumblr

Story Framing

I learned a great deal in putting together Master of the House.  It’s a single encapsulated story with a clear beginning and a definitive ending.  It follows four major characters to their journey’s conclusion and manages a complex plot with several story arcs.

I’ve read that many publishers have a problem with giving first time authors any more than 120,000 words for a book with around 135,000 being the upper limit.  I can understand why.  The production costs scale up around that point and it is difficult to gauge the potential success of a new author.  Master of the House is about twice that size.  To tell the story I set forth there I really needed that much room to move and to deal with a cast of complicated characters.

My follow up project is something even bigger.  I refuse to think small.  I want to write about full worlds of characters that move, think, and live in ways that make sense despite the fantastic settings they are in.  Knowing this, I’ve had to step back and frame that story, the plotting, and the pacing into distinctly smaller packages that I can weave together over time.

In a sense, what was one large story will be broken up into 3-5 smaller books that will hopefully be more digestible to a potential publisher.  Looking at the plot line I had set forth there were obvious “acts” with in it, just like a play.  By framing each one of those and fleshing out the characters, point of conflict, and conclusion; I will be better prepared to tell the larger story over all.

For instance, the work I am doing right now follows the meeting of the central cast and their origins.  It will show the challenges that they face, the reasons for their choices that set the story into motion, and will reveal some portents of what is to come.  Had I kept on with this draft in the larger scope of work, these things would have stayed the same.

To re-frame this “act”, I had to establish a villain that would provide one book’s worth of challenges and I had to determine what a valid but compelling point to end the book would be.  In essence, framing my current work required more immediate action, villains to drive a short story, and then a cliffhanger that would make it worth the reader’s time to move to the next inevitable book.

I hate serialization.  I really do.  The kind of manga I hate the most is the kind that never really reaches a climax or has a full ending, but instead drones on and on indefinitely.  I really think that by starting my frame large for this Legacy of Shadow series and then moving in with details for each part of it, that I can avoid doing the things I hate.

Share on Tumblr

Weekend Edition Part 5

This weekend is a bit of forced time off for me.  Our 6 month old puppy was spayed on Thursday so my attention is split entirely while trying to attend to her.

Work on my second book has moved along very well after just one week of work.  I have fifty or so pages put together which is more than double my usual output for a week.  It’s not as impressive as it might sound though.  I had a tremendous amount of short story work completed that is being infused into this new book.  I think about a third of the new pages I have put down are from pre-prepared material I finally get to make use of.

I’ve spent a lot of time reading, re-reading, and revising these old short stories to make use of them.  Looking at how my writing has evolved (and improved) is somewhat gratifying.  Working on Master of the House was much more of a task in writing.  This new book has been far more about planning and plotting from the start.

I will try and explain the basic plot line for my follow up work tomorrow.  For now, back to tending to the puppy.

 

Share on Tumblr

Short Story Friday: Delusion

I wrote this bit a few years ago as a means to kind of hold some ideas and concepts in my head for later use.  This cast of characters is to be the central group for the book I am working on now.  Much of what happens here is far, far later in the plotting of this story.

If you read last week’s story, this one will give you some insight into exactly how far Envy is able to corrupt normal people.

Delusion

The street was calm. The skies were clear that day. In the three story bordello at the end of the avenue, hidden by bland walls and rumors of the extravagant activities within its doors, a storm based in terrible rage and jealousy was building…

Layhilani, Eric, Vavian, and Dempsy stood barely a city block away from the building. They had been to this place just the other day. It did not seem nearly as ominous to them then.

Vavian was the first to speak. “Something is really, really wrong here. I…I’m not the only one sensing this, right?”

Layhilani and Eric looked apprehensively at each other

Dempsy shook his shoulders, “Ain’t nothing “right” about this whole thing since we started.”

Vavian continued, “I…know. But, this time, something is… I just feel sick even thinking about it.”

Layhilani lifted her head up as if trying to hear some far away sound “She’s been here…”

Eric nodded in consent. “We work in tandem, understand?”

The group muttered quiet agreement.

Continuing Eric directed the plan, “If we have to use force, we’re going to be in confined quarters. Vavian, Dempsy, find and create fall back points. Layli, I need you to take the fight to this guy. Retreat as needed and let the boys cover you. I will charge through and secure Lillian. Do not worry about me or my safety, only the girl counts.”

“This may all be overkill. Then again, it may simply be a boy with too much money and time on his hands…” Eric paused, “Not one of you believes that eh? I…”

Eric was cut off by the sound of a shrieking woman falling from the second story window of the brothel. The cries she made as her body hit the street and shattered, fate unkindly having spared her life, were tragic.

“GO!” Eric directed.

And they ran.

People were fleeing the bordello at an alarming rate. Most of them found their way out through the doors. Several unfortunate women found their way out of the building via the windows, much in the way that the first one had.

Seconds later the group reached the main entryway to the building. The difficult little man who sat there previously was nowhere to be found. No one was surprised. Dempsy went to work gathering the men and women who were attempting to hide or hold their ground. Their initial reactions to him were in resistance. “Things are about to get quite bad here, for your own safety you should really consider running away.” His calm almost detached voice and manner likely did not help convince anyone of his position on the matter.

The unholy screech from upstairs on the other hand, did a great deal to convince the reluctant patrons to flee.

As Eric and his allies barged their way into and up the stairs, Lillian and her unwelcome guest were beginning a wicked decent into the gaping maw of madness.

Lillian scampered away from her attacker. He seemed so huge, his arms and his eyes dangerously long like a spider. He was screaming something at her, but she could not understand him anymore. Each word was being twisted into animal-like noises.

“Lorenzo? Is that…Is that you?” she managed to ask despite her fear.

“you rememberme after all” His speech was coming forth in a strange cadence that seemed almost delayed from his mouth after he made the words with his lips. “how couldyou? who washe thatyou would choosehim overme?”

A flood of unwelcome memories returned to Lillian. She could feel her will to live entirely slip away. It was comforting. Finally giving up was comforting.

It was short lived comfort, whatever powers were twisting Lorenzo were also pressing his memories into Lillian’s mind. She saw for the first time, though his eyes.

The boy had been to her services many many times. Lillian had dismissed him as another pervert but then saw something that shocked and wounded her as she watched his memories play out in his head. The fantasy that the boy indulged in with her was one where she simply loved and was kind to him. It was not perverse, it was not selfish, it was simple and honest. Lillian long ago stopped caring about whatever fantasy her customers were looking to fulfill. They were almost always sexual romps of the most embarrassing kind. It was easier to allow them their unabashed fantasy and be done. After all, she never had to participate, only allow them to act out their desires on the stage that her powers of illusion provided.

She felt ashamed. She felt evil. Worst of all, she felt responsible for the monster now stalking her bedroom. Lorenzo had somehow gained knowledge of Cassius and that he was the only person she could possibly love. Lillian cowered in a corner, tears falling from her eyes.

“stop crying! why doyou makeme yell atyou!” Lillian covered her ears and shook her head like a child. “amI too loud forYOU!” Lillian screamed. Sheer terror escaped her and her heart exploded inside her chest over and over.

Lorenzo, took steps closer to her, “you don’t wantme…FINE! cruel man would takemy place? noNOno! these walls this roof this gold…MINE!”

His voice was piercing and other worldly. Lillian tried to run towards the door. She tripped and crashed to the floor just mere feet away from the exit of her room. Looking back she could see him stalking ever closer.

“how couldyou lovehim? allow inour bed!” His body was changing, it was warping into something twisted. “look atME!”

Lillian did look, much to her own regret. The sound of breaking bones and limbs stretching to unnatural lengths and dimensions was her reward. Lorenzo became a creature, a monster constructed of hate and fury right before her eyes. He was close to the ceiling in height when his body stopped contorting. His arms nearly dragged on the floor and his face was twisted in a permanent scream. He was unnaturally thin now as if he were stretched out on the rack for weeks, never allowed to die.

Lillian got up off the floor to flee into the hallway.

The monster that had been Lorenzo continued to pursue her, “you can not run away fromme! it’s justus!”

Lillian screamed again, her voice finally giving out and her cry sputtering into a rasp of pain. Lorenzo’s long mangled arm reached into the hallway and his twisted snake-like fingers wrapped around Lillian’s waist. He slipped out the door into the hallway. “yes yell, cry, see how no one cares foryou except me.”

The monster was caught entirely off guard by the appearance of Eric, Layhilani, and the rest as they exited the stairwell and entered the hallway. “I wouldn’t go that far.” Eric replied in the most proper and mocking tone he could muster. Lorenzo lunged at Eric with his long clawed arm. Those claws seemed to grow as they cut through the air. “Lilli….!” Eric made the command as the fight started.

In an instant the warriors coordinated a brutally effective series of maneuvers. Layhilani, taking a foot boost from Vavian jumped over the others and rebounded off the side wall. She cut only once, but her strike removed the creature’s arm that was grasping Lillian. The monster howled in pain and was about to turn towards Layhilani when it saw Eric draw his broad sword. It turned to attack Eric with a lunge which Eric deftly sidestepped.

Instead of finding Eric in his claws, Lorenzo was instead faced with the business end of Dempsy’s pistol. “Love hurts eh kid?” The gunshot pierced the monster’s claw and went straight into his chest. Dempsy then dodged around a corner while Vavian gathered up a charge of electrical current.

Layhilani had to work to un-pry the detached hand from around Lillian’s small and fragile body. By the time she had done so, Eric was with them. His sword in his right arm, he took Lillian up in the other. “I’ll get her to safety. Destroy this abomination.” Layhilani nodded.

Eric began to run from Lorenzo who was now re-growing his arms and claws back at a frightening pace. Lorenzo swiped at Eric, his claws ripping into the Templar slowing his run. A second blow from the monster was aimed at the unconscious Lillian and Eric deflected enough of the strike to protect her but suffered further injury as a result. The third strike was interrupted.

Vavian stepped out into the hallway again and warned the others, “Eyes!” They had seen this trick before and all closed their eyes. Vavian let forth a brilliant flash of electricity into the air that blinded Lorenzo.

The monster staggered about for a moment then regained his sight to see Layhilani standing as his only obstacle before him. Everyone else had scattered.

“She did this to you…” Layhilani said to him.

“indeedshe did…i will makeher suffer to the last” the monster replied.

“Lillian is not to blame. Envy found her way into your heart and that is why you suffer.”

The monster howled again and rampaged towards her. Layhilani cut and hacked his arms and claws as he moved forward in the narrow hallway all the while keeping her eyes toward his neck. She was surprised as Lorenzo was when a gun shot suddenly sounded behind them.

“Don’t mind me. I’m just in a really foul mood.” Dempsy walked forward firing his pistol repeatedly at the monster. “Didn’t think I’d let you do this by yourself did you?” Dempsy was a terrible shot. He had only managed to distract Lorenzo. That was enough of an opening for Layhilani though.

She ran straight towards the monster that had only a short time ago been Lorenzo. Ignoring the slashing hands that grasped for her, she delivered a brutal kick to the beast’s chest before spinning in place and severing one its arms near the shoulder joint.

Dempsy stepped back. The sight of the Shadow Elf fighting unrestrained was often disturbing.

The creature reflexively reached for where its arm had been and in doing so, opened its guard up. Layhilani wasted no time exploiting this. She spun with her sword and split the creature’s belly. It bore down with pain and rage for the spot she struck from. Claws slammed into the floor but missed Layhilani as she melded with the creature’s shadow on the floor and appeared behind it.

Her blade plunged through the creature’s back up to its hilt. Layhilani braced herself by kicking the creature just below where the sword had found its way and then pushed forward. The creature fell to the floor face first.

Layhilani’s sword slid out as the creature’s body fell. She jumped forward and whipped the cutting edge around, cleaving Lorenzo’s head off.

Dempsy had seen her fight like this before, even more because Layhilani often took pleasure in dangerous contests. This time however, she was merely ruthless and cold. Something about this fight was different for her.

“We have what we came for. It is time to leave.” Layhilani turned to leave without another word.

Dempsy looked at the shattered mess on the floor that used to be a person, “Tough break kid. Looks like your luck with women is worse than mine.”

Share on Tumblr

Concept and Setting Presentation

How do you even begin to explain something like this?

A very fair question was asked about the story I’ve put together in Master of the House.  Thank you to SJ21 for posting it.

“One thing keeps popping up in my head though. In what time period is this story set? There are various references to old-style weapons, clothing, and armor. The characters seem to do a lot of walking to get where they are going. It seems that the story is set during a time of limited technology, but then there is a reference to a helicopter. A little more clarification of what is going on here would be helpful.”

This question may be the result of only having one chapter available to read upfront or it may be the result of a failing of my writing to explain the place and setting.  I’ve heard it asked of me on two different occasions, so I thought I might put some thoughts down and see if I can justify what I’ve written.

To answer the question directly, the setting of the book takes place in a time and location completely set apart from any other.  Conceptually, the book is a non-traditional fantasy setting with an emerging steam-punk bend to it.

I remember back to reading Dune for the first time and the way that the book unabashedly put you in the setting and allowed explanations to come about as it developed.  It was unapologetic about introducing concepts and words that were not explained by narrative at first.  I think in many ways, that is what I do here.  Explanations for the way these people live and the way that limited technology exists come about as they are necessary to the character interaction.

The book does ask you to roll with the premise for a while.  Perhaps that is a bad thing?  Perhaps it makes it difficult to follow, I am not entirely sure yet.  The solution is simple, concepts can be explained as they appear.  I may need to do this.

My eventual answer is that all of these things are explained fully as the book continues.  My question in response to anyone reading or viewing this is:

“Are new concepts within a (story) fictional story troublesome or distracting if the answers are not presented promptly upon their introduction?”  Or  ”Do these fictional concepts move you to turn the page and look for the answer?”

Thanks for taking time to read and to consider my material SJ21!

Share on Tumblr

Digital Publishing?

One question that has begun to turn over in my mind s that of whether or not to publish in a digital format prior to traditional publishing.

This is something that I can do right now.  My first book is completed and ready to go.  I suppose I need to pull some cover art together if I decide to go this route, but I could have it ready in a matter or two or three weeks.

For those that don’t know, there’s been a stigma associated with any form of self-publishing in the past.  It can prevent an agent or publisher from picking you up later.

Or so I’ve heard.

But there’s a growing number of other voices saying that time has passed.  Publishers have evolved and accepted the digital market and that it’s not a problem any more.  I am going to simply need to make a call on this one day.  Right now, I’m leaning towards putting the book up on Amazon.

I have no doubt at all about the narrative or the prose of the book.  It’s good.  The issue is possibly the length.  At 250k works, it’s twice as long as what I understand publishers will take on for a first time author.  I’d roll my eyes at this, but I have no idea about the validity of such claims.  When I sat down to write the book, I just wrote.  I took the space necessary to tell the story.  There’s not a lot of fluff or cut-able content before you can begin punching holes in the plot.

Digital publishing offers me the opportunity to put the book out there without the over-head costs.  I’ve even considered putting it in the market in two parts.  There’s a very good point at which the book could be split.  It’s a lot to consider honestly.

With so much being made of creating a platform for your work and building a reader base, I can’t help but see the digital publishing format as an option I may look a little more carefully at.

That leaves the question for anyone reading this, what is the break point in terms of cost that you will or will not spend on a digital book?

How many of you even have eReaders or tablet PCs?

Share on Tumblr

What’s in a Name Part 2

Yesterday I began explaining the origin of sever character names and the reasons how those names came to be.  Let’s continue where we left off…

  • Turnbill - I needed a gangster of shadowy power, someone distant with a name that meant trouble.  It was a tough one to figure out honestly.  When I get in that trap, I often scan old fantasy stuff and look for something small to go off of.  My MtG cards had a character from the Legends series called “Riven Turnbull”, note the last name is different.  I took the idea and swapped the ‘U’ for an ‘I’ because my initial idea was for him to be a powerful bureaucrat gone bad.  In essence, he turned bills that resulted in death and dishonor.  Dumb, but it stuck and it sounded sinister like I needed.
  • Honest – Honest may be my favorite character in the book.  She’s my instigator.  Her name was meant to be a strict matter of fact.  I think sometimes using a name as a means of explaining a character is quite effective.  It plays out well as she evolves in the book as well.  Her name may be one of the most effective because a reader must constantly wonder when or if she will break from form.
  • Skylar – I really just thought up the name of the worst person I had any dealings with in high school.  This was the name of a boy so callus and selfish that he left a friend of mine in ruin for several years.  Also, I think it sounds really douchy.
  • Abiel - Another real life name brought to fiction.  This is the full name of one of my friends who goes by the shorter version of “Abe”.  Since this character is for all intents and purposes a religious nut, expanding his name to its original use carries a nice bit of odd religious weight to it.

On another note, I resolved my issue from yesterday.  It was in the lamest way possible too.  I simply reverted to the original name I assigned to the main character in my initial draft.  I was over complicating the issue.  Several of the potential names I was looking at were too long or too…much.  In the end, this character will be named Eric Sturgg.  ”Eric” has connotations of leadership behind it.  There’s an old Swedish King named Eric the Saint who worked to bring Sweden back to the old ways, which has a small thread of connection to this character.

Share on Tumblr

What’s in a Name?

I’ve actually had a great deal of difficulty choosing names for certain characters in my current project.  I just haven’t connected with anything yet that I am comfortable seeing three to five times on a given page.  Not only do names have to fit the character theme, but they have to flow with the story.  I was thinking that by reviewing the names used in Master of the House, that I might figure something out for myself here.

  • Julian - This character went through numerous names but it was part of his theme.  He was the man of many faces, always switching it up for a given situation.  Like many of the characters in this book, Julian was someone’s roleplay character to start with.  I believe his original name was “Jules” (as in ___Vern).  I wanted something more serious for my cast lead and his name was given its full length.
  • Face - Another character born of roleplay, I think the player chose this name because he had recently watched “The A Team”.  Re-branding it a bit, I found it was still of use.  The character was a bruiser, a fighter…so his nickname of “Face” was a reference to his many black eyes and split lips.  Now his real name…that’s a spoiler I’ll keep to the book.
  • Katrina - I wanted a strong female name here that could be shortened to something cute.  Katrina/Kat…it allowed me to distinguish when people were close friends of hers or not, because she would absolutely not put up with nicknames from people that were not friends.  Some early readers took exception to her last name being “O’Malley” but the idea is that the prefix to that is honorific, not ethnic.
  • Hawthorne - This name was once again chosen by a player, but his full name of Matthew Q. Hawthorne was chosen by me and a small tribute to the film Quigley Down Under.  It’s about a marksman of incredible skill who I imagine Hawthorne to be a slightly more criminal version of.
  • Dori - Dori is tragically named after the girl I went to Homecoming with my freshman year of high school who completely freaked out and hid in the bathroom all night.  She may have been very, very high.  (or I could have been a lousy date)  Girl was nice, but flighty;  creative, but cripplingly disorganized.  My Dori is all of those things crossed with a fortuneteller.
  • Tin – Tin’s name comes from a song…this is no joke now.  Remember Gangsta’s Paradise by Coolio?  ”Got my tin in my hand and a gleam in my eye…”  Just gangster tie-in stuff for me, but I liked the idea of Tin using slang terms for hand gun as his name.

I may have to come back to this again tomorrow to go over some of the others.  I still don’t have an answer for my male lead character.  Arg…

Share on Tumblr