In my last post, Henry Miller Once Said, I mentioned – admittedly bragged about – my working on two writing projects at once. I have some of SBL 8 written and am pausing to consider character development of Princess Rouge and Princess Avec du Lait which will probably be a great influence on the finished storyline. The same kind of character consideration is holding up the start of my Book of Tobit Set in 1871 Southern California story (probably need a snappier title than that).
I’m a great believer in the adage, “God creates, Man rearranges”. I use it as an excuse to borrow from my literary betters. So, I’ve been searching my mind for instances of characters, fictional and real, that I could use as models for some of my Tobit characters. For instance, there is Tobias who is the good, brave, and faithful son of Tobit. The reader can assume Tobias is old enough to marry because that’s what he winds up doing. Other than that, the Bible doesn’t provide much more description.
As a model for Tobias one young fictional character I’d thought of was Newt from Larry McMurtry’s, Lonesome Dove. Another one is my own young man character, Lute, from my Heaven Bound in Anaheim novel. Knowing my predilection for borrowing I must ask myself: Who was the model for that character? I don’t know but am always greatly suspicious of the dark subconscious workings of my mind. Perhaps someday the novel will be published and some insightful reader will inform me of Lute’s literary forefathers.
Another character I’ve been thinking about is the demon, Asmodeus. I didn’t want an actual demon in my 1871 story – all the supernatural elements will be left out of my retelling – so, of course, according to the best Hollywood script writing traditions, the 1871 Asmodeus had to be a psycho.
(A Hollywood script writer once said that the best thing about creating a plot involving a psycho bad guy is that the writer can get away with crazy plot twists. Why? Because the crazy behavior of psychos is beyond the need for logical explanations.)
Okay, fine. The 1871 Asmodeus will be a psycho, but what kind? Any fans of the TV show, Criminal Minds, out there? There’s quite a variety of psychopathic villains to choose from. I’d like to let the biblical storyline dictate the creation of the 1871 Asmodeus but there is no explanation of the demon’s motivation in tormenting Sarah. She appears to be completely innocent of any wrongdoing that would justify a demon ruining her life. The only explanation of why her is Rowan and Martin’s Flying Fickle Finger of Fate. The Book of Job gives more of a motive for the destruction of Job’s life. The Book of Tobit – nada.
But that’s okay. The 1871 Asmodeus is a psycho. No explanation needed for his killing the seven husbands of Sarah. Sorry, that’s not going to work. In the Book of Tobit, Asmodeus kills each of Sarah’s seven husbands somewhere between the marriage ceremony and the wedding bed. (In my retelling I’m thinking of having the all the wannabe husbands killed well before any wedding vows are exchanged which makes them more like fiancés or even just suitors.)
Two obvious motives for the murders committed by the 1871 Asmodeus (henceforth to be known simply as Ash) are: One, he’s doesn’t want anyone else to have Sarah, but he’s too twisted in his mind to compete for her; or: Two, he has some crazy notion of her being an inviolable virgin.
I think I’ll go with the second motivation. Now all I need to do is create a realistic depiction of the kind of character who could be dominated by such psychopathic lunacy.