The Way of the Word

25. January 2011

Novel in Progress: Shaw Returns!

First off, a word about spoilers. There will be. In the course of this workblog, I’m going to talk about plot developments and my thoughts behind them. For example, how the original idea evolved into what will actually end up on page, the thought processes, research, procedure. I don’t see the harm in that, because as things stand right now, the only person other than I who will ever read this novel will be my porn consultant.

Yes, I have a porn consultant. Sounds like a great job title, doesn’t it? As I said in the previous post, this adventure is set before the backdrop of the porn industry, about which I know next to nothing. But I do know people who have some knowledge about it, and one of them agreed to be my Porn Consultant for this novel. As such, I ask for his input during the planning and research phase, and he will have to read the script as it develops to tell me where I got things wrong.

He was already useful. There’s a trend in porn right now that I didn’t know of. He knew, and commented on it conversationally. I immediately seized on it, because that trend adds very much to my Big Bad’s motivation. Why does the villain do what he does? Because his sort of crime no longer pays, so he needs to find new ways to make an illicit buck.

The next thing is Naming the Babies. I have a lot of title ideas in my Plotmaster 3000, inspired by the fantastic titles Mickey Spillane used for his books. I’m keeping Hell to Pay in case I ever do that televangelist story, but others that might fit this story are .40 Caliber JusticeDeath’s Angel, Survival of the Deadliest.

However, the first Shaw novel, The Coldest Blood, got its title from a James Bond movie theme song. It’s a soundbite from the Casino Royale theme song. So I’m contemplating the idea of making that into the pattern for the Shaw titles. Which means I’d need to listen to all the James Bond movie theme songs (not much of a sacrifice, except in the cases of Die Another Day and Quantum of Solace – I hate those two songs) to check if there is a soundbite that I might like as a title. (Actually, there might be: GoldenEye has the soundbite A Bitter Kiss, which I like as the title for this story. But I also like it as the title for another possible Shaw story, so I’ll keep looking.)

Character naming is also difficult. Oh, it’s easy for throwaway characters. Like the three hitmen the Big Bad is going to send to take out Shaw. If I name them at all, I’ll simply take the first three spam mails in my junk folder and use the names of the senders. Important characters are where it gets tricky.

For example: Shaw has a recurring character whose name is Christie. I’m definitely not going to rename her. But there’s another character who is relevant in this story, his love interest for Shaw 2. I had wanted to name her Charlotte “Charlie” Parker. But Charlie is too much like Christie, it might confuse the readers. Which means I need to rename that character. It’s not much of a sacrifice. In the honored tradition of serial action heroes, no love interest ever returns for a sequel. (Well, hardly any, hardly ever — I could name two or three, but they are exceptions rather than a rule.) It’s the character who won’t return who gets renamed.

The next time I’ll update this workblog, I’ll have at least a working title for this novel.

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