Claudius Rivers. The unkempt, classical music loving, rather rebellious, young cynic. Where did I find him in my imagination?
The truth is, I have no idea. Claudius Rivers didn’t even start out as Claudius Rivers. He originally went by Brent Crutch, the brother of Claudette Crutch. Until I tried writing about him. I never got farther than a sentence of actual manuscript. The moment I started writing about “Brent,” I knew that this character was certainly not Brent. He didn’t answer to that name, his parents weren’t the type to name him that, and it didn’t match his personality. I further knew that he was not even a Crutch. Instead of being Claudette’s brother by birth, he was her step-brother.
So, I stopped writing and went back to the naming board.
Since all the characters in Journeys of Four were named based on the meaning behind the name, (i.e. Christine means “Christ Follower,) that, coupled with my plans to make this character a minor antagonist, greatly limited my options. I had about two choices for naming this young man, and Claudius just fit, despite my misgivings that some people might think that no modern character should ever bear the name of an ancient Roman.
Then came the surname, for which I can’t take any credit. I couldn’t think of anything whatsoever. I thought of surnames, only to reject them. So, I sent a (probably begging) e-mail and a good friend of mine suggested Rivers. I knew the minute I heard it in my head, that it sounded perfect. When I put it to paper, it was even better.
Actually, it was his name that made me want to use Claudius a little bit more. Originally, just a ploy to give Claudette a little more depth of character, I had planned to introduce him in one chapter. Then, I think he was supposed to run away or refuse to go places with his family or something. Never to be seen again. I liked his name though and it seemed a waste to confine it to one paragraph or even chapter. Before I knew it, Claudius Rivers had become, possibly, the most complicated character in my book, threatening to take over half of my manuscript. As I kept writing, his story kept spreading and growing – and I learned to love it.
In the end, Claudius became one of four main characters in my book. For awhile, I was afraid he would crowd everyone else out, but he didn’t. Christine has her part, Claudette hers, and Peter his. The more minor characters have their roles as well. And that’s just how it ought to be.
To the KING be all the glory!