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Friday, March 8, 2013

Who Are These People?

A bit of a departure this morning, since I've not really accomplished much on "Seer, Tyro, Fiend" today. Still trying to decide how to do something. The "fiend" is going to contact Stefanie, but I'm not sure how just yet.

Anyway, the departure: how I name and develop characters.

Jack Watson: Oddly enough, when I began writing "The Dreamer Gambit," the private detective was meant to be a secondary character. I decided my main POV, Tabitha, should find him attractive, but he would want to stay purely professional. The next question was why, what motivated him. Thus began background development of the detective--stuffy upbringing, strong on ethics, recently divorced, disastrous marriage. He started to interest me more, and about the same time, I found that making him a POV would help to take the reader where the action is and could set up some tension in certain scenes. Why Jack? I don't know. The name popped into my head. Why Watson? His full name came out to be John Holmes Watson, Junior, but I wasn't even thinking of a Sherlock Holmes connection when I found the name Watson on a website of surnames. Then it fit. Make him an ex-cop and let his old connections tease him about Watson the Private Eye. With "The Changeling Kill," Jack sort of took over the series.

Tabitha Solo: Since the story of "The Dreamer Gambit" revolved around her, hers was the first name I had to come up with. The inspiration for "Dreamer" came from the dream sequence, and for no reason I can really explain, it started with Scott's voice calling Taaaa-bith-aaa. Her surname was Solokowski, which seemed like a good name for a Chicago girl, and HONEST, I SWEAR, I didn't think about naming a singer "Solo."

Tracy Wiley: Okay, I confess on a little word-play on this one. Once again, the name Tracy just popped into my head, but I chose the last name as applicable to her tendency to crack jokes.

Elena Griegos: Tracy's Doppelganger in "Two Faces, Two Faced." I wanted a name that sounded exotic, foreign, but perhaps not definitely indicating one country or another. Didn't want to target another culture or fall into any cliches about countries. The other consideration was that it be easy to pronounce. I don't want readers to struggle with the name every time they encounter it. The resulting name could come from a number of countries, but in the end, the character came from none of them!

Christian Roosa: Believe it or not, the sexy police detective of "Game Faces" and "Stranger Faces" was about to be called Jefferson, short form, Jeff. A friend of mine who could hardly wait for a followup to "Two Faces, Two Faced", didn't like it, and I wasn't all that excited about it either. Then I thought of Christian, which is kind of an antonym because the character is a womanizer. His last name? I once worked with someone with the last name Roos and was told it was Dutch. I remembered this as I passed a street on my regular route to the grocery story--Roosa Lane. Bingo! The detective has a last name!

Stefanie Durant: When I first wrote "Dabblers," some of the names were different. Stefanie's last name had to say "French" because of Paul and I chose Devereaux. Her friend Amy's maiden name was Parker, and her husband was Nathan. Then some good friends turned me onto the TV show "Leverage." It had characters named Nathan Ford, Sophie Devereaux, and Parker. Oops. Purely coincidence. I looked up French surnames on a website and found Durant, which means enduring, and I liked the underlying meaning for Paul. Amy's husband became Adam, and I changed her maiden name too, but it only gets mentioned a time or two and isn't really important in any way. By the by, I spelled Stefanie with an "f" instead of a "ph" because people call her Steffie, and it's easier to make the mental connection by sticking with the "f" all the way.

Today's Gotcha: Envelop/envelope The first one's a verb meaning "to surround." The second is a noun, meaning something that surrounds. The trick? Past tense of the verb is enveloped.

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