Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Character Notes: Roderick Owen

For years, I kept the original note cards I made for my first novel's characters. Although the major characters rated 4- x 6-inch cards, some of the minor characters only got 3- x 5-inch cards. I'm thinking I ran out of the larger ones, which were the first ones made. The lesser characters' notes were typed up as they were created in the writing of the novel. All the cards are typed with a typewriter I haven't owned for probably more than twenty years. I came across the cards about three years ago, to my vast delight. I thought they'd been tossed out when I moved.

Here's the note card I wrote about Roderick Owen. I'm going to write it out just as I originally typed it, run-on sentences and all. It's sort of a stream-of-consciousness, creating-on-the-spot note. Interesting to see some old conventions, like the apostrophe after the contraction of "though".

Roderick Owen
is a tall man, with med bl graying hair + full beard throughout story, craggy face, a strong man, he's a stockman, he's worked with dairy cattle in the east, he has blue eyes, and he is tough, he's used to command, he's the head of his household, what he says goes, even with his adult sons. The years have filled out his once slender build with muscle, but he is not fat. He served with Ashby, then with Rosser in the regular Cavalry. He also grew wheat and corn on his farm outside Mount Jackson, Shenandoah Cty, VA. He supported states rights, and thus, the South, tho' he was not a slave-holder. Loves Virginia, but sees hard times ahead. Not a coward, he has gained a sense of adventure from his wartime experiences, and hopes to make a better life in the west.

On the other side of the card I have a photo of actor Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., with an overlay I made of a clear film, upon which I penciled a full beard. A second photo is of Charlton Heston. Below the photos I wrote by hand:

2 items in code: Build an empire, and maintain family solidarity (supports the empire)

In your opinion, did Rod Owen come across in The Man from Shenandoah and Ride to Raton according to my original vision, or somehow else? How did you envision him?