Yes, I know I haven’t been writing here as much as I probably should. But I’ve been productive in the other writing arena, at least up until today. 2,500 words since the first of April, and that’s better than half of what I wrote during the entire month of March, (4,500) so I’m getting somewhere–at least, as I said, up until today…
The main character in Don’t Stop Believin’ is named Scott Elliot. His dad, named James, is a Detroit firefighter with some emotional issues, including a drinking problem — a bad one. It’s sort of important to the story, in that it has a lot to do with how Scott turned out the way he did. It’s not critical, mind you, but sort of important. I was doing some research at a couple of Detroit Fire Department websites (here and here) and I found out that DFD has a tradition of naming their fireboats after former chiefs. I discovered this when I read this section:
Since Detroit grew up along the waterfront, the need for fireboats emerged. The city’s first fireboat, the Detroiter, built by the Craig Shipbuilding Company, went into service in the summer of 1892. Dry rot set in a few years later. In 1902, its fire fighting equipment was transferred to the new steel-hulled James R. Elliot, named after Detroit’s second fire chief. The custom of naming fireboats after early chiefs began in 1900, when the James Battle joined the Detroiter on the river. Later, Detroit’s third fire chief, John Kendall, was honored by a boat built in 1930 to replace the Elliot.
That was lovely. My drunken firefighter dad had the same name as the second fire chief at DFD.
When I posted my dilemma on the Mystery Writer’s Forum, I suggested that I would just change dad’s name to Jerry or something like that, forgetting at the time that Jerry Elliot is a local morning radio personality. Then a member pointed out that
Your biggest name issue isn’t that your MC’s character’s dad is named Jim Elliott. It’s that your MC’s name is Scott Elliott, which is already the name of a Shamus-winning hard-boiled PI created by Terrence Faherty for a series of historical (or maybe period, but I won’t quibble over that) mysteries set in 1940’s-’60’s Hollywood.
Well, that was annoying in a huge way.
Sigh. It’s never easy, is it?