Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Melville Price

I did not know, until a minute ago, that Melville Price was the name of an actual person, an expressionist painter who died in 1970. I am writing something called "Melville Price's Atlas Of," and I named my character after Herman Melville and the Price (originally Preiss) family in another of my novels. Now, I don't know. Color me quite surprised. I'll probably change "Price" to something else. Maybe "Preiss," but that's not likely. Hrmm, hrmm, etc. Hrmm. I confess myself vexed.

It will be necessary to come up with a new name. I'm keeping "Melville," damn it. But what for "Price?"

Melville King?
Melville Preiss?
Melville Nabokov?
Melville Melville?
Melville Beckett?
Melville Green?
Melville Half-Price?

It's a poser, and no mistaking.

Edit to add: December 2, and Melville's new last name is Hart. We'll see if that sticks. I do not like the way the vowel sounds carry forward from the "a" in Hart as well as I liked it from the "i" in Price. Vowel sounds, rhythm and stress are all important to me when constructing prose. I have a hard time making people understand this.


  1. You need to give those Preiss folk some relatives with a different last name, Scott! It's often a book convention that a family has only one last name, though--keeps relations clearer, I suppose.

  2. Given the variations, I think Preuss might be a euphonic option, especially in view of the more famous who bear the name--including a monkey.

  3. I've decided that I'm just trying to be too clever to have characters in one novel related to characters in another novel. It serves no purpose but to amuse me.

    The Preuss monkey looks like he could be a virtuoso violinist, though. Interesting. Tangentially, R.T., I shall be watching your blog to see what you do with it.

    Today's front-runner is Melville Rosen. That might be too iambic a name, though. Melville Rose? Certainly not. Hmm. More work is required. But it will come to me. Like everyone else who's written more than one novel, I've changed character names during the fifth or sixth round of revisions when the appropriate names have presented themselves. Melville for sure, though. He has an accompanist--a Manchegan pianist named Antonio Salazar--who'll show up in about the third chapter or so.

  4. Mr. Bailey, I have changed the designation of my blog--now called "a commonplace from eastrod"--and I hope to see you there every now and then.

    Is wish you well with Melville.

    (Hmmmm . . . that has a nice bit of euphony, too, don't you think.)

  5. Melville Malasarn?

    Melville Tolstoy?

    Do you like how I'm never actually helpful?

  6. Herman Malasarn.

    Leo Malasarn.

    Anton Malasarn.

    Alice Munro-Malasarn.

    Yes, these are all helpful.

  7. And do you like how it's not enough that you've already named a character after me in the past? My dream is that one day all literary characters will have the same name, my name, and that name will be the correct answer to all Jeopardy questions related to literary character names.

  8. One day, we will all be Davin Malasarn.

  9. i personally think you should of stuck with the great name melville price...........it's a great name

  10. What? The choice of price is right?

    1. No, the price is not right! I don't know if I'll stick with "Hart;" I'm rarely married to character names until I'm most of the way through a first draft. Sometimes I change a name in a fourth or fifth revision, too. I like "Melville," though. That's a great name. He'll have a sidekick of sorts named Antonio Salazar. That's almost the name of a guy I know in real life.