Tuesday, 28 February 2006

I sent the revised first three chapters of Lord Alexander's Cipher; or, the Bridekirk Behemoth off to my agent yesterday. In fact I sent six chapters: the first few chapters were always the longest, and the first has grown longer as a result of some wholesale changes to scenes. The later chapters will get shorter as I flense them in the interests of pace. It made sense to even up the chapter length by splitting the first three each in half.

As a result the hero and heroine don't meet each other until towards the end of chapter 4. This is not best practice for romantic fiction, I fear.

I also changed my hero's surname. This was partly in response to the appearance of a hero by the name of Matthew Hawkwood in James McGee's Ratcatcher, and partly in response to Jan's comment that his original surname always made her think of outdoor clothing. So, he is no longer Lord Alexander Hawkshead, but Lord Alexander Harrow.

Following a link from Language Log, I thought that I should check the new name for sluttishness, using the Slut-o-meter created by Joël Franusic and Adam Smith.

There I discover that "Hawkshead" is 7.33% slutty, while "Harrow" at 2.7% is positively pristine. By way of comparison, "Darcy" is 4.63% slutty, "Rochester" 6.69%, (Rhett) "Butler" a disappointing 1.29% and "Heathcliffe" a bizarre -63% slutty.

Jane Austen (4.71%) and Georgette Heyer (10.23%) are both fairly demure, with Wenlock, at 3.05%, purer than either. My own name, however, scores a rather disturbing 93.97% slutty.


Doug Hoffman said...

My wife's name got 0%, while mine came in at around 20%. I thought I was a bigger slut than that!

By the way -- I followed your advice on the martini (except I used my Hendrick's instead of Bombay Sapphire) and loved it. I never used to like martinis, but I could get used to these.

Kate Walker said...

Ah, but if you spell Heathcliffe properly - there is no e at the end - then he's just 7.04.

Kate Walker who did her MA on the Brontes and so is a determined eradicator of Heathcliff's extra e!
(and who is also, apparently 3.8 on the slut scale)

Jan Jones said...

You're going to skin your chapters? Won't the rest of the words spill out all over the place?

PS - I approve of Harrow. Brings back fond memories of a pub on a hill...