titles and names

In spite of all the silliness and activity in which I find myself of late, I write feverishly. As reported earlier, Blood & Dust has been in the hands of several, and has received glowing reviews from everyone (except those cats at Scott Free, who gave it a hard pass–liked the writing, but I guess it’s just not the sort of thing either Ridley or Tony wants to direct.) Mosaic and Maple Shade in particular want to see more.

It takes me six weeks to write a seven page follow-up to Blood & Dust. Despite the interest in some parties (whose names shall remain Cristy) I decide not to entitle it Blood & Spurs. I call it Blood & Mist in order to underscore its early America setting, as in, “far back in the mists of ancient time…” Edgar reads it last week and gives it a far more glowing review than I expect. He puts it this way, “This is to Blood & Dust the way The Chronicles of Riddick is to Pitch Black.” He’s referring to the sheer scale of the story, which spans 160 plus years of American history. I think he plans to send the treatment over to Maple Shade and Mosaic this week. And now work begins on Blood & Glass, which brings all of the surviving characters of the first two into present day Los Angeles. It won’t take me six weeks this time, as I plan to sketch it out in broader strokes.

Interesting tangential note: Sandrine has proven to be a pain in the ass. Her role is relegated to flashbacks in Dust. In Mist she’s the primary villain as well as the main love interest (it’s complicated.) In Glass she’s going to return and cause even more havoc. But it’s not the character herself which gives me headaches. It’s her name.

In the current draft of Dust, her name is SANDRINE BONNEAU. This surname appears by accident in some places in my notes as BONNAIRE. I had thought I’d made it up, but I completely forgot that Sandrine Bonnaire actually exists. She’s an accomplished French actress. Maybe that’s why I had “disguised” the name as Bonneau in later drafts. Still, it’s too close for comfort, so last week I set about finding a suitable replacement.

I narrow the chouce down to five possibilities. LEDUC, LAZURE, ROCHON, ARESENAULT and CAISSE. I like the rhythm of the four syllable name, So Sandrine Leduc has appeal. But visually, it displeases. I like Rochon a lot. Rochon Americanizes as RUSH, which I think has a cool drug connotation–always good when dealing with vampires. For a while I imagine that in Glass, folks refer to Sandrine Rochon as “Rush,” or even weirder, “The Rush.” But the word also has a Canadian Power Trio connotation. I decide to avoid that. Arsenault has too many syllables, I decide. But what about Caisse? I like the look of it. And I think that the rhythm and sounds have a certain power to them. For the duration of writing the treatment, Caisse is the name of choice. In fact, I even submit it to Edgar with that name in place.

But As much as I like it, I decide that it does no good to have an ancient, powerful vampire with a last name that translates as “cash register.”

Back to the drawing board. I try for a couple of literal names. BONCOEUR lasts for about five minutes. Sandrine Goodheart. Suitably contrary. Then BONSANG, which translates to “goodblood.” But I’m not confident about pronouncing either one of those in a pitch meeting, so I cross those off the list. For some reason, DORE (two syllables) appeals to me for a while. Then BROUSSEAU. LEJEAUNE for even longer, because I love the idea of having her name mean Sandrine The Young.

My final answer? ROUSSEAU. I know, it’s a bit more run of the mill, but it has its own set of connotations. Obviously there’s the Jean Jeacques connection. But I also like that it sounds like the Italian “rosso.” Sandrine The Red is a pretty cool moniker. And it has a similar feel to Sandrine Bonneau, to which I’ve gotten entirely accustomed.

SANDRINE ROUSSEAU.

End of tangent. End of post.

This is Sandrine Bonnaire. Now that I look at her,
I think she would be an excellent choice to play
a centuries-old vampire.

About the author: will

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