October 29, 2008

SPEAKING OF MY W.I.P*. . . .

.


by Stephen Bly


I had to debate the series title. I wanted to call it, “The Missouri Breaks Reunion Series.” But only a few readers would know that the Missouri Breaks region is located in eastern Montana along the Missouri River. I feared some might think of this as a Missouri story. So I changed the title to Creede of Old Montana Series. With ‘Montana’ and ‘Old’ in the title, most everyone will presume the genre as western novel. Check out the sample mock-up cover I developed.

The title of the first book, The Lady Who Lingered Too Long, has two purposes. To reveal the protagonist’s longing for the right woman and that a woman will be crucial to the story. Since 80% of book readers are female, so I’m told, I wanted potential gal readers to expect the story to hold their interest. And to ponder that a woman who hung around and might be ignored could be dangerous. . .or in danger.

Why the name Avery John Creede for my hero? After 100 books, it’s sometimes tough to find a new name that seems right. I’ve used up a lot of good ones. So, I built a background for this character before I named him. I wanted the name to fit his personality. Creede came easy. . .here’s a man who tries to live by “the Code” to keep his principles, to live up to what he views as moral and biblical standards. Besides, I thought “Creede of Old Montana” had a great ring to it.

As far as Avery John. . .well, I don’t think I’ve had a character whose name starts with an ‘A’ before. And the name fits the era. I suppose I could have called him Reginald Nelson Southwick instead. But somehow, that didn’t fit. Avery’s a hardened cavalry vet. That doesn’t mean he likes shooting anyone. He knew, first hand, taking a man’s life changes a person. On the other hand, he also knows if he hesitates in certain situations, he’ll be the one shot. He’s not wimpy. He’s not dumb. He knows how to survive. I’m not that confident about Reginald Nelson Southwick.

Of course, being a W.I.P.,* by its very nature, all of this could change. I just jumped into the story a few months back to see how it goes. No outline. No storyboard. No plot scheme. Just a cast of assembled characters raring to go and a fascinating (to me) place and time. I’ve been plopping them down and turning them loose ever since to see what happens.

On a different note, many of you asked. . .well, actually, only one or two of you. . .about where you could view pictures of some of those weapons I blogged about last month. You can see most all of them at my antique Winchester collector website http://www.tapaderaswinchesters.com/. My partner and I have lots of fun buying, selling and collecting old Winchesters. And that sure comes in handy when writing westerns.

On the trail,
Stephen Bly
http://www.blybooks.com/
http://www.onestepovertheborder.com/
http://www.tapaderaswinchesters.com/

* W.I.P. = Work In Progress

16 comments:

Molly Noble Bull said...

Great post, Steve. As the daughter and granddaughter of cowboys as well as the mother of three cowboys, westerns interest me. But please always put in a romance. Women gotta have that. Janet will understand.
Molly
www.mollynoblebull.com

Jessica said...

That is a great title, I think.

Stephen & Janet Bly said...

Molly: Thanks for the note. As all my readers know, I include romance in all my fiction (whether classic western or historical or contemporary). In fact, the romantic element is often front and center, as in The Lady Who Lingered Too Long. So, not to fear.
On the trail,
Steve
www.BlyBooks.com
www.OneStepOverTheBorder.com

Stephen & Janet Bly said...

Jessica: Thanks for the comment. Finding the right title is half the battle in making a story work. . .and attract readers.
On the trail,
Steve
www.BlyBooks.com
www.OneStepOverTheBorder.com

Anonymous said...

Hey bosses,
Great article and it is a great read for anyone interested in not only the "Old West" but also in Stephen Bly books. Can't wait for the finished "W.I.P." Blessings,
Jan Grueter,
Your Adm. Asst.

Stephen & Janet Bly said...

Hey, A.A. Glad to see you're reading this blog! We're delighted to be a part of it. Don't work too hard this weekend helping Janet with that women's conference at Lewis Clark State College.
On the trail,
your other boss,
Steve
www.BlyBooks.com
www.OneStepOverTheBorder.com

michelle said...

Whoo, Hoo! Can't wait to have a new Bly book! I love the title and the character...I agree that Reginald Southwick sounds like someone in the south on a plantation...not in rough country like ours! Avery works great! Your North Western South Dakota fans are looking forward to it!

Stephen & Janet Bly said...

Michelle: Thanks for the enthusiasm. Much appreciated. Hope to get a release on The Lady Who Lingered Too Long sometime in 2009. Stay tuned!
On the trail,
Steve
www.BlyBooks.com
www.OneStepOverTheBorder.com

Vickie McDonough said...

Thanks for letting us see how you process the names of your characters. I agree that Reginald Nelson Southwick doesn't fit a tough hero. He sounds more like a Boston socialite or a Georgia plantation owner.

Tina Dee Books said...

I love that: Creede of Old Montana.

The Lady Who Lingered Too Long adds more intrigue.

This is going to be a fun read. Thanks for sharing Stephen.

Now I'm off for a peek at those old beauts...Winchesters!

Great post, thank you, sir!
Tina Dee

Stephen & Janet Bly said...

Vickie: Thanks for the comment. Fitting names to perceived character traits can be tricky at times, but critical for the story world.
On the trail,
Steve
www.BlyBooks.com
www.OneStepOverTheBorder.com

Stephen & Janet Bly said...

Tina: Hope you enjoy perusing our antique Winchesters. This is a hobby that grew out of my wanting to actually shoot all the guns I use in my books.
On the trail,
Steve
www.BlyBooks.com
www.OneStepOverTheBorder.com
www.tapaderaswinchesters.com

brendalottakamaggiebrendan said...

Great post! As to the Avery John name, I can't help but think of the famous jeweler, John Avery, who started in Texas and has beautiful Christian jewelry. The name is just reversed.

Stephen & Janet Bly said...

Brenda/Maggie: Thanks for the note. Hey, I'm sorry to say I'm not acquainted with the John Avery jewelry line. But I may have chosen Avery John for my protagonist even I had known. That's one of the many ways I pull out names from my cowboy hat.
On the trail,
Steve
www.BlyBooks.com
www.OneStepOverTheBorder.com
www.tapaderaswinchesters.com

MSGWife said...

I'm so glad a new book is coming soon. I can't wait. I think Avery John is perfect for the male character. It's a solid name for a man, someone I'd like to know.
When will the book be published? Soon I hope.
In the City but wishing I was on the trail,
Cait

Stephen & Janet Bly said...

Greetings, Cait: Thanks for your note. I'm hoping for a release of "The Lady Who Lingered Too Long" sometime in 2009. Will let you know. . .as soon as I know.
On the trail,
Steve
www.BlyBooks.com
www.OneStepOverTheBorder.com
www.TapaderasWinchesters.com