Wow. Hadn’t realized it had been so long since I blogged… Have finally finished the ghostwriting gig, which was unexpected fun. Now I really ought to get back to Da Silva #5, which has been sitting at the same stage for longer than it took me to write the first four books. That’s not a case of writer’s block so much as getting a bit cheesed off at having four unpublished novels lying around.
(changes subject before starting to rant…)
So. Apparently there are rules for recruiting your Scooby Gang, I suppose there are also marketing guidelines so they appeal to as wide a range of readers/viewers as possible. And of course nowadays you have to be an equal-opportunity employer.
Sadly (or perhaps not) neither I nor the Captain had read the recruiting manual when we began to gather allies, and yet we still managed to amass a remarkably diverse bunch of people, ranging in age from da Silva’s son Zé, who is about 13 at the time of Demon Weather, to the 50-something Montague Pierce. The gang includes Harris the werewolf, from Boston; John Yeoh, originally hailing from Hong Kong; the Captain’s wife Emilia, born in Venice; and Pierce, an Englishman who lived in Brazil for many years. The ghost, Zacuto, lived and died in Lisbon, murdered by a mob 400 years before. (Isabella‘s crew are a polyglot lot, as well.)
Having gathered this gang together, the core five kinda fit into what TV Tropes calls the Five-Man Band (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FiveManBand): “a group of characters whose members fall into archetypes which all complement one another. They are a very specific team with skills that contribute to the group in a unique way.”
The Captain’s Scooby Gang have something more in common, however: All of them are damaged in some way. Da Silva, of course, missing an eye, has metaphorical as well as real demons to fight, a shady past which he mostly manages not to feel guilty over, and a reluctance to take on the role of hero for many different reasons. Harris considers he has no soul since being “wolfed”. Pierce, purveyor of hard-to-find books, is wilfully blind to to the inherent wickedness of his clientele because he has surrendered to fear. Zacuto can’t get over being murdered by the Inquisition (and who can blame him?) and Emilia is crippled not only physically but by society’s attitude to women.
None of this was planned, as followers of this blog will know. The only planning that goes into anything I write was neatly summed up by Joss Whedon when he made a comment on the lines of “Take some characters, and add some peril.” And, also: “Humor keeps us alive. Humor and food. Don’t forget food. You can go a week without laughing.”