Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Names Revisted

Thanks to all of you who took the time to weigh in with thoughts on the names I listed. And Debbie posed the question of what kind of image the name Travis conjures. That's easy - Suave, Debonair, Stunningly Handsome (in a rugged sort of way) - Okay, probably not, but since William B. Travis was one of the fallen heroes of the Alamo I do like to imagine the name his decidedly Texan. Yes, I am aware he wasn't a native Texan, but not many were in those days, except for Native Americans, of which I have a fair amount of blood myself. And there is a saying about transplants that eventually earn the right to call themselves Texans.

William Barret Travis might not have been born in Texas, but he got here as fast as he could.

Nowadays, among younger kids and adults, Travis seems to be a fairly common name in Texas. I had two on the hockey team I coached a few years back, but the entire time I went through school I only ever encountered one other Travis. And he was kind of an ass, but then again he probably says the same thing about me. But enough about me. Ont he the names I threw out their for y'alls take.

Hank Petty Zybeck - A car salesman. Tall, redheaded, a good ol' boy and the first person narrator of Plundered Booty. Here is the excerpt where the reader learns his name ...

Here’s what I can tell you. My name is Hank Petty Zybeck. Hank, after the greatest country and western singer of all time. My dear departed daddy's description, not mine. Petty, for the king of all racecar drivers. Again, my daddy's opinion, but one I happen to share. And Zybeck, because I'm my father's son. Least that was my momma's claim to her dying day.

Fiona Meese - I shouldn't have included the last name since I never actually use it in the novel. As I said Hank tells the story and he is not the kind of guy to use last names often. I can't tell you her exact role in the story but Fiona is a complex character. Both mild mannered and meek, like the librarian B.E. Sanderson envisioned and shrewed, stiff and unrelenting when backed into a corner.

Betty Raintree- Nearly everyone agreed she was Native American, Cherokee as a matter of fact. In the beginning of Plundered Booty she oversees the car lot's finance and title clerk offices. Plump, a bit of a hypochondriac she is anal when it comes to numbers and sloppy mistakes.

Rex Austin - Until the new boss takes over he is the dealership stud. Here is the way Hank describes him ...

Rex Austin was the stud of the lot. Early forties, with brown, sun-streaked hair and a dark golfer’s tan. Athletic build. But his shiny appearance and salesman demeanor turned some people off. ‘Course he bragged about lots of women, but he too, was married.

That wraps up the characters I threw out from my WIP (work in progress) Plundered Booty now those from my finished novel, A River Without Water.

Sergio Ochoa - Yep I screwed up and misspelled his name in the original post. Sergio/Sergei they do tend to give the reader a different ethnic background of nothing else. Sergio is actual a minor character a temporary antagonist. A former boxer, current professional poker player and cocaine addict. He is actually a minion of another character and one agent told me to cardboardish and predictable. But I still like the name so one of these day I'll go in a tweak him enough to take away the stereotypes.

Blue Riggins - The male protag of A River. Former champion steer wrestler turned pro poker player a tragic figure who engages in a good bit of self destructive behavior as way to punish himself for what he views as past failures. Other people look up to and even idolize him but he's definitely a glass half empty kind of guy ... until a wily female changes his perspective. A modern day cowboy who secretly relishes playing the hero but is hit hard if he fails at the role. I priginally spelled his name Bleu, after a Texas singer named Bleu Edmondson but one editor said that reminded her of the French or bleu cheese whereas blue made her think of true-blue and steady dependability like denim blue jeans, So I changed it.

Donnie Yates - Blue's best friend and former rodeo sidekick. A wiry little bullrider with a big ego, a larger heart, and an even bigger taste for women. A scene where Blue talks about Donnie ...

“Sometimes I envy Donnie,” Blue said when they were back out on the lonesome highway.

Lindsay turned in her seat to face him. “Why?”

“He doesn’t have a care in the world. He can travel a thousand miles to an event, get bucked off right out the gate, and still get up from the dirt with a smile on his face. He’s always happy.”

“Trust me. No one is always happy,” Lindsay said with more conviction than he’d ever heard in her voice.

The tires hummed against the pavement.

Blue took a deep breath. “Maybe not, but Donnie comes a hell of a lot closer than me.”

Ruby Riggins - Blue's older sister but at seventeen years older she's more like a mother. She is raising Blue's young daughter. She runs the family's highway-side cafe Riggin's Restaway. Her long time boyfriend Buster gave Blue his start in the rodeo world but these days the two men are at odds and Ruby is stick in the middle with her life put on hold to take care of everyone else's problems.

A River is hard novel to describe, but here is the premise. Blue a man whose wife died shortly after childbirth travels across the country with a woman who blames her father for ruing her life by forcing her to have an abortion. Blue never comes out and says it but there is a part of him that wishes his wife would have had an abortion after the doctors warned about risks because of her blood clotting condition and the female protag, Lindsey wishes she never would have had an abortion. Neither knows of the other's past but as things slowly reveal themselves both Blue and Lindsey are forced to see that the grass isn't always greener and that no matter what happened yesterday, it is today and all the tomorrows that really count.

Still here? man you are either bored or glutton for punishment. This might be my longest post ever. The next four are from a WIP I abandoned to concentrate full time on Plundered Booty. I will go back to it once booty has been plundered to its fullest extent. Like Booty it is also mean to be funny. the character are not quite as developed as the others since i have only composed thirty or forty pages and some brief sketches of characters and scenes.

I do not have a name for my female protag yet but the working title of the novel is If Only He Knew and it is about a forty something woman whose life is being ruined by sex from every angle.

Royce McEwan - Her cattle rancher husband. A blowhard.,fast talking womanizer.

Rose Devine - The protags Shirley Maclaine-esque nymphomaniac mother. Sure she's in her upper sixties but with the availability of Viagra and Cialis there are plenty of men at the retirement village willing to indulge her. Problem is she is at at staunch Southern Baptist ran retirement village and there have been enough complaints from other women that the former preacher turned administrator is threatening go kick her out. If that happens Rose will have to live with the protag and no way does she want that.

Joe Ray Pearson - Royce's ranch foremen. Loyal to a fault. A good ol' boy.

Luann Pearson - His gossipy and well meaning, but destructive wife.

Okay, I'm tired of typing and it is my bedtime. Adios amigos.

My wife has just informed me that tomorrow, she has a mission planned for me. A blogworthy adventure, so stay tuned for Thursdays blog and the gory details.

P.S. Don't let the kids read it.


Sherry said...

I can't wait to hear about the adventure -- you've piqued my curiosity!

alex keto said...

Regarding an agent saying a character was cardboard, Evil Editor lists the top ten reasons agents turn down books such as "It doesn't meet our present needs" or "The characters didn't engage me."
Evil Editor notes that all ten reasons boil down to a single thought. "I didn't like the book."

So... you may or may not want to change things like Bleu to Blue based on an agents comments.

Merry Monteleone said...

I actually like Bleu better - but don't go by me, I'm weird...

I'm interested in hearing about the character whose life is being ruined by sex at every angle... is this more of a figurative thing, or a flexibility issue (sorry, on occasion I can't resist)

Have you checked out Moonrat's jacket copy contest yet for either of these? Honestly, it was an excellent assignment, and it really helped nail down both the pitch and synopsis for me.

Patti said...

~clapping hands~ can't wait!

Barrie said...

You have some really, really interesting characters. I can just imagine how well they'd do with a whole book to interact in. :)

Monnik said...

Wow. I am so not even in the same league as you. You have a knack for character development - if I can tell whether I like them or not by a simple sentence, you've done your job well.

Have fun on your adventure!

Brooke said...

This was a VERY interesting post, I am intrigued!

When I told my brother what I was naming my daughter he had the greatest comment, "Tess...yup, sounds like she's gonna be able to make a GREAT cup of coffee."

Kristen Painter said...

Holy crap, that's a long post. How do you do it?

SUV MAMA said...

Nice. Hope you enjoy your adventure, as I know I'll enjoy reading about it!

Mr. Shife said...

I like those names. I have a couple of favorites like Bob Massoquoi and Bob Galliono. Actually pretty much anything with Bob. I just like the name Bob.

Charles Gramlich said...

Great names. These really help create a character based upon just the sound and flow. I'm not nearly as good with names. I thought I was OK until I read these.

Adriann said...

I'm amazed at how names really do give you a glimpse into a character! Plundered Booty sound very interesting.