This week I revisited a lot of the writing I did on the novel (still untitled, but PSA is a good placeholder… 🙂 ) over the last few years.  Despite the advice of Mr. Stephen King, I am used to working on stories over the years, both for my own projects and professional. In the latter, the projects I was attached to took a long time to develop on their own, so my contributions had ample time to percolate and ferment their own eccentricities.  Still, coming back to something you’ve written a few years ago brings with its own little joys – and annoyances.

Many of the names I had used in my first chapter drafts were placeholders. Literally the first word or name that came to mind when writing something. In this case, I like to listen to Mr. King and make sure that I keep writing and the name choosing process shouldn’t slow the Good Work down. My colleagues have over the years blasted me for my weird names and that’s because sometimes I find a placeholder name too good not to use! Xingxao McGrath, I’m looking at you!

Back to PS-Ana:  in this case, the place holder names (Dweezel, Garrett, Suzi) just did not fit my vision of the novel, which starts in a section of human space colonized by ethnic Swahili, african and asian nations/alliances: Bustani, which is Swahili for “Garden”. I’m not sure that their new versions are any more appropriate (Dereva, Azize, Suze), but they are a step closer. Even the protagonist’s name, “Karyss”, doesn’t seem to fit. Of course, that name was a placeholder long before the full novel idea came to be, going back as far as 1998.

As I said, sometimes its hard to give up on a placeholder.