Last week I talked about all the NaNoWriMo prep activities I’ve been working through. This week is the final stretch, and with only 6 days of planning left, I will be filling in the finer details of the outline, character sheets, and other research items. It can be tedious work for those of us who just want to write already, but sometimes the fun of planning can sneak up and surprise you.
One of my main characters, Estella Broussard (a Deschanel cousin) comes from parents who are cultural anthropologists specializing in occult studies. When their children were little, they opened a museum in the French Quarter that touted itself as a headquarters for occult artifacts (which is a pretty lofty definition in New Orleans), but they learned the hard way that museum ownership was not all it was cut out to be…they were hardly breaking even with expenses, and obtaining rare items was putting them in the red.
So they do what any self-respecting scholar with a passion for their subject would do: they completely sell out. They turn the museum into a store that sells voodoo charms, altars, and spell books, and offer glamorous services such as fortune telling, curse removal, and curse placement. They also run voodoo and cemetery tours in the Quarter and give “magic seminars.” The wife, Pandora, is paid generously for her public appearances on local television, and the father, Jasper, is an author and self-proclaimed expert. For every genuine artifact they display in their store, there are ten forged ones. While once known as being passionate, local scholars of the occult, they become known for amassing wealth and greed by making a mockery of that which they love most.
The idea came to me partially due to healthy skepticism, but also curiosity, at some of the “experts” who appear on shows such as Ancient Aliens, or the various shows about psychics and paranormal. I mean, they’re obviously frauds…but were they always? Was money always the motivation for these ridiculous endeavors, or was there a time when they absolutely believed? Do people start off with good intentions, realize there’s no money to be had, and move down this path instead?
Anyway, this subplot idea snowballed into some really fun naming exercises…I started thinking about great names for their establishment, and some of the hilarious titles that Jasper Broussard might have published. The possibilities are endless, but I’ll include a few here:
Possible Store Names:
- The Voodoo That You Do
- Charmed, I’m Sure
- The Soothsayer’s Coffer
Publishings of Jasper Broussard:
- One Man’s Conversations With Marie Laveau
- Voodoo, Vodou, or Hoodoo: You Decide
- The Upside of Slavery: the Advent of Voodoo in the Antebellum South
You can see why I might be enjoying this.