brni (brni) wrote in circletpress,

Of Unfortunate Names, and Other Follies

I don't know if you've read Like a Treasure Found yet, or looked at the segment of my story exerpted at - but I suspect that a number of you might be asking the same question I asked myself when writing the first sex scene:

"Deadbeef? You named the love interest Captain Deadbeef? SRSLY and for reals? What were you thinking?"

Because, as Paul said, using the correct character name is vital to a story. And also, I gotta tell ya, hot sex and "Deadbeef" go together like... like... um. They don't.

Which made for an interesting, if unanticipated, writing challenge. :) I'm good with that. I like challenges.

But back to Captain Deadbeef. Why did I give him that name? Well, see, he hadn't originally intended to be in a porn film. Some improv at the local theatre, maybe, or a walk-on in his college roommate's senior thesis film. But that was a long time ago, before the world turned to shit, and the man who would become the Dread Captain Deadbeef left his job as a computer programmer for a life of adventure on the high desert.

Captain Deadbeef first saw light in a grim little story that has not yet seen press - that story, Facing the Wind, will be coming out later this year in an anthology called Spells and Swashbucklers, and takes place about ten years after On Arid Seas. I loved the world of that story, and the characters who insisted I include them, and when I saw the the call for this anthology, I jumped at the chance to explore it all a bit more.

So who is this Deadbeef fellow, anyway? Well, as the world falls apart and the people with the guns and inclination turn to preying on others, Captain Deadbeef and Ms. Canbrach bind demons to the hull of a mini-golf pirate ship, and set out to prey on the victimizers. A pirate of pirates, so to speak. Which is a somewhat meta and postmodern place to start with, and Deadbeef has the Dali-esque sensibilities and the comic book collection to support his decision to dress the part and try to never take himself seriously.

Also, for people who write code for things like high-end routers and the like, the term DEADBEEF has particular meaning. It's a hexidecimal number that gets written into the parts of memory that, if you end up there, you're seriously fucked. First time I saw it was in the crash log of a cisco router, and when I looked it up in the troubleshooting manual I learned that 1) it was probably cosmic rays, and 2) if it wasn't cosmic rays, get new hardware.

So taking Deadbeef as a name was, for him, both a statement on the state of the world, and an ironic and self-conscious effort to subvert his own ego.

Of course, that can work against you in intimate moments, and against the author. The way I tried to play it was to have him be very aware and very self-conscious of the inadequacy of his name for a sexual/intimate situation, and for Jamie to clue in on that sense of vulnerability, and work it into the game. It plays into the power relation between the two, and figures into the way power is traded back and forth as situations change.

The other challenge this story presented for me was that it was the first explicit sex scene I've written between two (human) men. I guess I did okay, because Ms. Crelin chose to include the tale in her collection. But I'm curious, for those of you who have read it - did it work for you?
Tags: author chats, like a treasure found

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