Monday, July 15, 2013

Character study: Joseph Pepper IV

"He calls his cane the Wand of Blue Light." - Ethan Cassidy

Joseph Pepper IV is a character featured in The Fable Avenue Saga™, specifically the books The Ghost of Gabriel’s Horn and the yet-to-be-title-revealed follow-up novel. He appears in The Ghost of Gabriel’s Horn’s fifth chapter titled Water Bug Hollow, Louisiana 1917. Joseph’s visit to Water Bug Hollow is on August 12, the night designated for the annual celebration marking the area’s independence from slave owner Elias Jakobi. Joseph is there specifically to see his sweetheart, jazz songstress Theresa Amat. He has a gift for her, an ancient veil he claims is magically enchanted and to have been worn by a long line of African Queens, including the legendary Queen Califia, supposedly for whom after the state of California is named. Joseph also brags that he was given the veil after pursuing a bracket of finely cut precious stones named the Pillar Jewels, also referred to as The Sunrise Gems. More alluring, Joseph tells Theresa that he employed the services of the legendary African-American outlaw Thunder John and his crew The Brother Dogs to aid him on the failed excursion. Ever skeptical, but twice as intrigued by Joseph’s astounding tales, Theresa accepts the mysterious garment. Joseph Pepper also proposes marriage, which an excited Theresa also accepts. Joseph leaves Water Bug Hollow weeks later, heading to London. For the remainder of The Ghost of Gabriel’s Horn, Joseph Pepper IV is not seen but spoken about by various characters, with hints on his adventurous exploits in London. Theresa Amat anxiously awaits his return, dedicating several songs to him in her performances, and overjoyed when she finds out she’s pregnant with his child. In London, Joseph is pursued by a former American soldier named Ethan Cassidy, an associate of the villainous Sarinda Fallows.

Concept: Joseph Pepper IV is a dashing, erudite adventurer. He is an amalgam of famed spiritualist Paschal Beverly Randolph, literary and cinematic characters Sherlock Holmes and Indiana Jones, and real-life professor, author and all-around expert scholar on the Moors, Professor Jose V. Pimienta-Bey. Inspired by four people, Joseph Pepper (the English translation of Professor Jose Pimienta’s name) was labeled as “the fourth.” Joseph Pepper’s character was greatly inspired by the tales of black spiritualist Paschal Beverly Randolph and his travels around the world deciphering ancient languages, unlocking occult teachings. His physical description comes from P.B. Randolph, with a few modifications. His intellect and dress mirror that of Sherlock Holmes, his jaunts to procure ancient items for the greater good borrows from cinematic hero Indiana Jones, and his knowledge of various African cultures (and his name) is credited to Professor Jose V. Pimienta-Bey.

Joseph Pepper was added to The Fable Avenue Saga™ as a means to incorporate an adventurer who could point the story in the proper direction for ancient, mystical items. In earlier drafts from around 2002, 2004, he served as the main character’s great-grandfather. This was when Fable Avenue was called The Nu Ancients, and was meant to be a graphic novel or comic book series. Later on, and through study, he developed into the character he’s presented as. This was around 2010, near the end of editing and toward the release of A Company of Moors. Joseph Pepper’s erudite mannerisms come from British actor Jeremy Brett’s classic portrayal of Sherlock Holmes.

Joseph Pepper often wears the most fanciful clothes of his time, and presents himself as an aristocrat. Joseph likes being a ‘fancy nigger’ as he believes many whites probably refer to him, and he indulges in scholarly conversations that trip up many a prejudice person. He cares deeply for the well-being of black people scattered throughout the diaspora, and believes with all his heart that it is his duty to present correctly all of the pieces of African and black history, solo or in a team. Joseph always carries with him a peculiar cane said to be blessed with an alchemical anointment. It’s also encrusted with seven sapphires. Joseph Pepper refers to his cane as “Wanda,” which many believe to be either his grandmother or mother’s name. However, “Wanda” is a feminine play on the word “wand.” Joseph Pepper truly refers to his cane as the Wand of Blue Light, a self-made, mystical weapon that carries within it, according to Joseph Pepper, the power of Shango and Indra.

Both Joseph Pepper’s adventures in London and his adventures with the outlaw Thunder John and the Brother Dogs will appear in the next installment of The Fable Avenue Saga™.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The first Act, a wrap!

The first act of this new installment to The Fable Avenue Saga™ is complete. It clocks in at nine chapters and about 130 pages. Not too bad. A little over budget, but what had to be written was essential. I do wish it could’ve hit at around 100-110 pgs. But that was ideal. Realistically, I knew it would come in at around 120-125. So, 130 isn’t too bad (if I ignore my ideal). There were a lot of changes made. I stuck to the outline, but many happenings and goings-on and tiny details had their presentation reworked. One of the last scenes in the act was supposed to be a big blowup between characters, but I started seeing the confrontation as being too much. So I pulled back and toned it down. It comes off a lot better for both characters.
I’ve also introduced the first scene of my fourth and final epic poem which will be intertwined with the plot. The scene attacks the novel’s main character like a train crash and leaves him tight with emotions. I’ve plotted the course for the remainder of the fourth epic poem, now I have to hit the proper beats within the story’s narrative to put them on display.
I won’t be going directly into the second act. I’m now composing two short stories, in a sense, that will arc the narrative back to London, 1917 and Tanzania, 1883. Two major events, hinted at in The Ghost of Gabriel’s Horn will be the center of attention for the next (hopefully) 50 pages. One of those events deals with the question: What happened to Joseph Pepper IV while over in London? And what mythological bauble was he seeking? We will also get to know a young Madison Goodspeed who was constantly talked up in The Ghost of Gabriel’s Horn, and finally presented here.
The second act will have a focus on the story’s female protagonist. She was introduced as a six-year-old girl in the first chapter, but now she’s nineteen and a college student. Much of the fourth epic poem will inhabit the second act, a device used to bring the female protagonist and the male protagonist together. We will see her confront the trauma she witnessed as a young girl, and blossom into a young, bright leader on Fable Avenue. A few villains will step into the story’s narrative within the second act. Unlike Sarinda Fallows, these villains are not cunning, destroying lives indirectly through clandestine means. The first villain to appear, on orders of the two Big Bads is a brutal man. And his followers are worse than him.
There will be no rest for this writer. I’ve already plotted and outlined Joseph Pepper’s London adventure, and the story dealing with the ‘Tanzanian incident’. On the move. Getting things done.

b write black