Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The New Dow

The new Emory Dow is a lot like the old Emory Dow (you can read about the old Dow here), only not really. This guy has gotten a pretty major overhaul. Hopefully, one that will make him a lot easier for me to write consistently and with a clear voice.

Physically, he's pretty much the same. Kind of an average-looking little guy with dark, receding hair, cold grey eyes, and a nose that's been broken one time too often. He's built like a brawler—thick fingered and broad shouldered—but isn't much of one. He smokes when he's agitated and he probably drinks a little too much, but he also tires to take pretty good care of himself. Works (slowly and not very well) with his hands. Runs in the morning. That kind of thing.

But, whereas the old Dow was an Essex Boy and a veteran of the Royal Army's actions in South Africa and Uruguay, new Dow is an American. A Los Angeles cop who made the homicide desk for a few years before being head-hunted by the UN Police Services. He only lasted a couple of years with UNPol, though, before the stresses of policing Montevideo in the aftermath of the Uruguayan civil war caused the behavioral problems that got him booted from the service.* But, by then, Dow had accrued enough friends—and shown enough of a knack for security assignments—that Sebastian Spence was able to land him a gig as a UN Specialist Contractor.

Dow lives outside of Santa Fe, now, not in the Peruvian mountains, but the house and living conditions are about the same in a "low-profile" kind of way. Marisol is still his second wife (the first left him as he was getting ready to go into UNPol), and she still does the same job that she used to...But they met differently and their relationship is a lot better now.

Psychologically, Dow is a lot cleaner now. The encroaching PTSD issues are gone, though he still has unresolved issues with what he saw in Uruguay. He's a little weirder and snarkier this time, too. A life-long lover of obscure facts and knowing a little bit about everything. He can get awfully dogged about things, too. Obsessive when there isn't someone around to reign him in the right way. That determination is going to cause some friction later on when the situation at the lunar colony gets more and more dire.

In essence, he's a character who I can get behind a little easier. In a way, I think it's sad that I've abandoned a version of him who was more of a reach for me—more of an excuse to stretch my creative muscles—but, for the sake of writing a book that makes sense and has a protagonist who feels cohesive, this really needs to be done.

I think that I can live with that.

Oh, and I think that I can also live with writing an American named Emory Dow. At least until a name that seems better comes along and I have to spend a couple of hours doing a Find/Replace.

See you folks on Friday.

 

-Sean

* This detail hasn't made it to the blog before, so I'll explain: The UN Police Services is based on the very real UN Police Division, which basically goes into areas in need and augments/expands the standing civilian police force. In the novel, one of UNPol's primary functions is to provide an internationally sourced police force that can be dropped wholesale into an developing or recovering nation that requests their presence—either because there is a lack of a standing police force in the region, or because widespread police corruption has been deemed too detrimental to the civilian population's wellbeing. UNPol then maintains a fixed presence in the area until they are able to help the local government develop and institute a suitable, replacement police force.

UNPol also provides police services for large UN installations that have persistent civilian populations. Such as the lunar colony. The character of Sydney Bessette, as well as all of her people, are standing UNPol representatives on the lunar surface, and—before landing the Lunar Station Chief posting—Sydney's story is much the same as Dow's.

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