Monday, January 14, 2008

A Week of Confessions...


(Pickpocket or writer?)

This week at the Class 2k8, we'll be giving you the inside scoop on some of the lines and names and ideas we've umm.... "borrowed" from other people... and used in our books.

This is not an uncommon practice, for authors to steal (as the saying goes, "good poets borrow, great poets steal") from other books, people, movies, folklore, even the guy sitting at the next table at the Starbuck's talking too loudly on his phone.

Really, everyone does it. Really!

But it's worth talking about. Not because it's shocking or wrong, but because it's FUNNY!

Up first is Elizabeth C. Bunce, author of the upcoming, Curse Dark as Gold.
Liz, your whole book is in a sense "borrowed" because it's a retelling of a fairy tale. But I think you've got a good story about a borrowed name?

LOL!
Well, because "Rumpelstiltskin" is, in part, about the power of names, I wanted the characters in CURSE to have literal and/or "meaning-laden" names--the miller's daughter is Charlotte Miller, the blacksmith is Nathan Smith, etc.
The crochety old dyemaster is Mr. Mordant (mordant is dye fixative). While I was running the manuscript through critique group, our moderator was subscribing to an email "word of the day" service. One day she brought in the word "dag," which means (cough, cough) a small bit of feces caught in the wool around a sheep's, uh, yeah.
She was so excited, and begged me to find a place to use it in CURSE. I resisted, until one of the very final scenes, when suddenly I needed a first name for Mr. Mordant. Dag it was, and it was perfect!

Well, and then I totally stole Pilot, the name of the dog, from JANE EYRE.
That's great, so now our readers know the "dirt" on CURSE *and* they learned a new word.
Awesome!

7 comments:

FrecklesandDeb said...

I love it when I come across imaginative names in a novel. Dag - who would have thought! Thanks for the inside info! Looking forward to reading Curse and checking out those names.
Deb

PJ Hoover said...

Love the Dag thing. It add so much to have small details like this mixed in!

Ellen Booraem said...

Around here they call those Dingleberries. Not far from Dag, actually.

Great story.

Ellen

Erin said...

heheh! Thanks for sharing, Elizabeth. Cool stuff to know...

gabe said...

Can't wait to read your book!
-gabe

gabe said...

Can't wait to read your book!
-gabe

Barrie said...

This info could come in handy when playing "Balderdash." Thanks!