The Journey of SILVER BROWN

I Title All My Chapters

This is a practice I’ve been doing almost since the beginning. Bestowing every chapter in a written work with its own title helps to give it some context, methinks. The few words that comprise it can be used to comment on the general vibe of the chapter or give supplementary information, in a way that doesn’t interrupt the flow of the narrative.


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My chapters frequently go through several working titles before they settle on a definitive appellation. The chapter I’m editing now sees our heroes visit the top-secret lair of a powerful warlock on the island of ₪KLAVERIOS, who after several rewrites has evolved into someone vaguely like a hybrid of Morpheus (of The Matrix) and the character Q of James Bond fame, with maybe just a smattering of Glinda the Good Witch thrown in. This exhibition-heavy whopper of a chapter’s original working title was:

…AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS LOUSY T-SHIRT

After fully digesting this chapter’s innards and melding my consciousness with its innate atman throughout the editing process, the old title found itself abandoned like an outgrown shell. Replaced with the (somewhat) more cozy WHO IS THE TRAINER? It’s possible the original title might be claimed by another chapter down the road; it would probably fit the next chapter after this one like a glove.


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The Journey of SILVER BROWN

The Parental Guidance of SILVER BROWN

A topic of discussion was brought up by one random soul in the vast swarm of tweeting romanciers earlier this month. It concerned the relationships (or if the case may be, lack thereof) that our hero(in)es have with their parents. An important question to consider when developing any and all major characters for works of fiction, methinks. Regardless of what the writer initially believes about that relationship’s relevance to the plot. Whatever input a young mind is fed during the formative years of their development would tend to have a lasting influence on shaping certain qualities and attributes of that mind, for either good or bad. Disposition. Approach to problem-solving. General outlook on life. That sort of thing. At least some of that input comes from the parents, but almost never all of it.

The question was open-ended, so I went with it. The website plug was something I tacked on at the end, because I just happened to have the link in my clipboard.


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The Journey of SILVER BROWN

Out With The Old

Hey, it’s a new decade. Thank the Dagda. The Weenie Teenies (which I personally think is a catchier and more befitting name than the Two Thousand and Tens, so I’m just going to go with that) will probably go down in history as the worst decade humanity has seen since the 1940s. So I’m glad that’s all over with. Sure, it was a decade that saw vinyl LPs come back from the dead. That was the shit! But then there was a shitload of other shit that was as shitty as all shit. Hopefully this new decade will bring more shit that’s cool, like the aforementioned second coming of the long-playing record. May these Twenties be twenty percent as roaring as the last ones, so they don’t end as badly.


If this reminds you of someone, you’re officially not going crazy.


In this spirit of dispensing with the old and embracing the new, I’ve decided to prune a couple of characters out of SILVER BROWN entirely. There was a scene in one of the early drafts where my main character wakes up in the offices of one of the most powerful cyberwarlocks in Sector India. There, the witch Florys MacNab is approached by this warlock’s man Friday – an eight-year-old boy known only as The Kid.

The Kid grew from an intellectual seed that was planted in my brain by an Ojibwe elder from an ancient land we now call Minnesota, by way of a book he wrote I once burrowed from the library. He would tell me of a forgotten yesteryear well before there was any such thing as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, when the Ojibwe did not bestow names upon their children at birth. In those days, it was an ingrained part of the culture and tradition that a name be thought of as something one had to earn. Many kids didn’t earn those names until they were eight or nine years old. Some not even until puberty, or later. But finally doing something to earn a name was one of the most important rites of passage in a child’s life.

A few of the customs observed by the Society of Wheel Turners in SILVER BROWN invoke this bygone Ojibwe tradition to a certain extent. In the early drafts, young Wheel Turners in training were literally nameless. Hence, the reason why The Kid was just The Kid, and nothing else. I eventually had to dispense with The Kid entirely, because his sole function in the story was to reveal exhibition that had already been revealed. But the tradition he embodied lives on, albeit in a modified form. In the current draft, children born into the Society receive a totem from their council of directors when they pass a strenuous series of cybermagickal aptitude tests. The warlock of Sector India I mentioned earlier is known solely by his totem. His legal name is the one registered with SAAZMOL, which is why he doesn’t use it. He is instead addressed by his contemporaries as Lord Pukerabbit. There’s a whole explanation of the hidden meaning behind that appellation, but I won’t get into that here and now.

There was another character I had to get rid of when he ultimately proved superfluous. A utility program called Dunsmure the Bird, inspired by watching too many videos on YouTube like this:



I initially threw Dunsmure the Bird in the story to serve as a sidekick for Elmýr Garfield. In later drafts, Elmýr Garfield would gain the ability to shapeshift, his new powers reducing Dunsmure the Bird to a Jar Jar Binks – an unnecessary character that could easily be removed from the story without the story suffering any, and in fact should be removed. The bird’s jarjarbinksiness wasn’t the only reason I got rid of him, though. There’s already a character in the story who’s a talking ferret; I figured throwing in a talking bird on top of that would be laying it on a tad too thick.