Back in the Saddle Again (with a Little Boost)
Sell Block

The Name Game

As I mentioned in my last post, my one and only writing goal for 2017 is to finish a new "Holmes on the Range" novel. I got started January 3. Since I'm an outliner, never writing a word until I know every beat of the story from beginning to end, that means I've spent the last month just thinking, taking notes, thinking, taking notes and then thinking some more (and taking more notes).
I'm pleased to report it still works: I've almost got the whole thing mapped out. I still don't know how all the loose ends are going to come together in the last few chapters or what the climax will look like, but the who, where, what, why and how of the mysteries (there's more than one) are nailed down.
One of the very last steps in the process will be naming all the characters, so for now I'm using placeholder descriptions for them. Which means my Dramatis Personae currently looks like this:
Big Red
Old Red
Col. Crowe
The Rancher
The Hired Gun
The A**hole
The Scumbag Duo
The Merchant
The Marshal
The Deputy
The Matriarch
The Hothead Son
The Other Son
The Young Son
The Daughter
Renegade #1
Renegade #2
Renegade #3
The Dude
The Saloon Owner
The Evil Clone
Reader challenge #1: Spot the character who's not *really* in the book!
LukaReader challenge #2: If you think you've got the perfect name for "The Rancher" or "The Matriarch" or one of the other characters, let me know. (I can already guess some of the names people will nominate for "The A**hole." Please, folks -- nothing political, and keep in mind that the character's supposed to be sinister. "Kanye" and "Bieber" aren't going to be great names for an Old West bad guy.) If I use one of your suggestions, you will receive a special prize: a hearty handshake (if you're within reach) and the knowledge of a job well done. Oh, and a shout-out in the acknowledgments. That's "special," right?
Writer challenge #1: Finish the damn outline, Hockensmith!
Back to the thinking (and taking more notes).... 



Well, personally, I think Mark Baker is a good name for a Marshal. :)


For Merchant I propose: S.D. Hilton or Hylton, the purveyor of the finest damn goods you're likely to purchase on this fine day.


How about DeBarge for the A**hole? Guaranteed not to offend anyone I know, I promise...


Thanks for the suggestions, guys! I'm pretty sure I can find slots for "Mark Baker" and "S.D. Hilton," but "DeBarge" probably won't make it in. It would be too much like having a pesky family turn up called the Osmonds.


Worth a try - completely forgot about the singer. Just trying to a** up my own surname with the De bit. How about Keith Hooper as the Marshal? Just trying to get on my father-in-law's good side...


For the two sons, you could do what my wife has always suggested - name one "subject" and the other "control". (It's probably a good thing we don't have any children . . )


Oh - and for the Rancher, there is always "Ranchy McRanchface". (Or maybe not.)

Wes Weitzenhoffer

I mean I've always been partial to Wes as a first name, but assuming Weitzenhoffer doesn't roll off the reader's tongue, how about Markson for a last name? Wes Markson (My dad's name was Mark). Maybe for the Deputy?

The matriarch - Desiree Cooper
The Dude - Duane Sawyer
Evil Clone - Thaddeus Finch if it's a guy, Claudette Brown if it's a woman


The rancher, Able Dorriety (it's an old western, so Able spelled like this works)
The matriarch, Delia
The hothead son, Dixon
The other son, Dell
The young son, Davie
The daughter, Dorinda
Oh, my I might be over doing.......

David Biemann

Hi Steve! Here are a few suggestions

Stephano Gobbo for the Merchant,especially if he's from Venice. Crawford Broadrick: for the Marshall. Ivan Drinkwater for the saloon owner. Smokey "Pagliacci" Robinson for the evil clown. Ooops, that's evil clone, never mind. Tom Dent for the hired gun. Daws Butler for the deputy. The Racaille brothers for scum (French translation)
Josh Gade for one of the renegades. Pete Dinkum for renegade. Keith, Toby and Dana for the sons. Emmaline for the daughter. Maurice Rimbaud for the dude.

Teresa Fermin

The Evil Clone isn't really in the novel.

The Rancher-Adam Haney
The Matriarch-Teresa Hughs
The Hothead Son-Charles
The Other Son-Kain
The Young Son-Thomas
The Daughter-Dorene

Jessica and Joey Claypole

I made my hubby play the name game on our drive home from work and we have cast the whole book for you. :-)

The Rancher - Bernard Coffindaffer
The Hired Gun - Marcus "The Ironhand" Suitland or "Trigger" Bartlett
The A**hole - William "Bill" Daymarr
The Scumbag Duo - the Yadel brothers, Matthew and Steven Yadel
The Merchant - Don Hinkle
The Marshal - Ivan Riggs or Jonathan Broswick
The Deputy - Sam Anderson
The Matriarch - Helena Rittenbound
The Hothead Son - Clayton or Timothy Rittenbound
The Other Son - Isaac Rittenbound
The Young Son - Oliver Rittenbound
The Daughter - Penelope Rittenbound
Renegade #1 - Cliff Adkins or Logan Morales
Renegade #2 - Eugene Ford
Renegade #3 - Kenny Brewbaker
The Dude - Daniel Wagner
The Saloon Owner - Fitzpatrick "Fitz" Coogler

Also liked Duane Sawyer, Smokey Robinson and Emmaline from the comments!


Wow -- I'll never have to make up a name again! Thanks, guys! I'm hoping to start writing in a week or so, so I'll be able to announce the winning suggestions soon. (Although maybe I should hold off for a while. Every so often I begin with one name but then decide after I start writing that it doesn't really fit the character. I'd hate to tell someone I'm going to pay tribute to their beloved grandpa only to change the name to "Ivan Drinkwater" a few weeks into the book....)

Smokin Joe Soper

Thought of a couple... Enjoy!!!

The Rancher (Avery Woods)
The Hired Gun (Andy Forsal)
The A**hole ("Bum" Chambers)
The Scumbag Duo (gotta be the Blues Brothers Jake and Elwood)
The Merchant (Robert "Bob" Chapman)
The Marshal (Locke Bolt)
The Deputy (Mitch "second" Fiddle)
The Matriarch (Edwardina "Mama" Spelling)
The Saloon Owner (Howard "Howie" Johnson)


Thanks for the suggestions, Smokin Joe! There are some good ones -- but I think the name I see that I like the best is "Smokin Joe"!

Bob (Xnysmokie)

I'd go with either Moore E. Arity. Lol

Or the butcher. More to come if neither of these 2 float your boat (or sink it)

Bob (Xnysmokie)

Renegade maybe "Badaz? (Or Badaz)

Bob (Xnysmokie)

Meant or the deputy as Badaz sorry

Steve Williams

Hired Gun - Ford Hyer or Mercer Norris.
Rancher - Horace Mann or Jake Steerman.

Smokin Joe soper

If your going to use smokin Joe my wife will advise that it be for the a-hole


Thanks for the suggestions, guys! I've got so many good names at this point I'm stockpiling them for the *next* book.

Friendly advice to Smokin Joe: Maybe you oughta try giving up the Smokin -- that might make your wife happier!

Steve Williams

A Hole - Ace Howell
Renegade 1 - Smart Elk
The Dude = Biff Bowler
Saloon Owner - Phil Stein or Phil Fuller


For the scumbag duo, Harold "Big Blue" Pemberton and Eustace "Old Blue" Pemberton

Emmit Scott

The Daughter - Jo (short for Joanna) or Annabeth or Emma
The Marshal - Emmett
The Deputy - Clayton
The Hired Gun - J.D. or Clint
The A**hole - Ray
The Rancher - Anders
The Hothead Son - Ethan
The Other Son - Josiah
The Young Son - Noah
The Merchant - Olan


So it'd be the Reds against the Blues, eh, Liam? Sounds a little too much like the current state of American politics!

Thanks for the suggestions, guys! It's almost time for me to start making decisions....


The political reference had honestly never occurred to me. I just pictured the Pemberton brothers as having piercing blue eyes. Kind of like how Otto and Gustav got their nicknames from their hair color.


I've been spending too much time on Facebook lately, Liam, so I'm afraid I'm starting to see political turmoil in everything! I ought to take a break from social media till the current hullabaloo blows over. Maybe I should come back to Facebook and Twitter in...oh...10 or 11 years?

It would be funny to have the Reds go up against some Blues. Maybe I should have them meet a couple of bad guys from this family:


My thanks to everyone who suggested names for the cast of the next "Holmes on the Range" novel. You'll all get shout-outs in the acknowledgements. Now that all the characters have been christened, I'm ready to start writing. So the next update on the book -- hopefully coming your way in about six months -- will be "It's done!"

Bryan Steelman

Rats, I think I may be too late for this soiree, but what the hey...
The Rancher - Jack Crabb (yes, I read Little Big Man)
The A-man - Rusty Spike (why not)
The Scumbags - Jim & Sam (easy for readers to remember)
The Merchant - Cash Diablo (aren't they all)
The Marshall - Rufus T. Firefly (yes, I watch the Marx bros.)
The Deputy - Cleatus (we need more Cleatuses)
The Matriarch - Polly Allday (wolly doodle)
The Hothead - Hub
The Other - Josh
The Youngun - Caleb
The Daughter - Nicolette (has a ring to it)
Ren 1 -Horse
Ren 2 -Jumping Frog
Ren 3 -Running Duck
Dude - Frank Baster
Saloon Keep - Hans Munson (it's a long story...)
Clone - B.S.Steelman


Thanks for the suggestions, Bryan! I'll throw them into the mix. I've given the main characters their names, but side characters keep popping up who need names, too. So who knows? Maybe "Running Duck" and "Rufus T. Firefly" will make it into the book after all!

The comments to this entry are closed.