Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Saga of Steve

Recently I mentioned throwing a random guy named Steve into stories. Not just mine, but those of my NaNoites as well. This is a long running joke that goes back to my very first NaNo novel in 2010. It was a Steampunk story involving Nikola Tesla, Jekyll & Hyde, The Time Machine, Sherlock Holmes, and Jack the Ripper. See, ol' Jack was a Morlock from the future who came back in time to, I don't know, eat people. Lots of random things happened in order to keep the word count up.

At one point, unsure of what to do next, I asked my Facebook friends, "What should happen next in my novel?" with no context or clue what the story was about. One suggestion I was given was, "Steve takes one for the team." So then I had to create a character named Steve, who was then murdered horribly by Jack the Ripper while my other characters escaped.

Then, it became a running joke. In total, Steve has appeared in some form in five of my projects (yes, I just stopped to count them). The funny thing is, the joke is that "Steve is a douche, and he's probably going to die," even he only actually died in the first one.

Steve is also the only name that's allowed to be repeated. As a general rule, once I use a name in a story, I can't use it again. I think I started that to prevent me from reusing the same names I like over and over. If I do reuse one, a certain number of years must pass first. But not Steve, he can show up in every story if he wants to.

I started sharing Steve with the other NaNo writers around me. See, there's a lot of recurring elements across NaNo novels, like the Travelling Shovel of Death and a fellow named Mr. Ian Woon (an acronym of NaNoWriMo). So, I've made it my mission to infect as many novels with Steve as I can. I created the Big Bag of Steves for my regional gatherings, and I even offered the list up online to spread the plague of Steve even further. It's my goal that one day, every NaNo novel will contain a random character named Steve (or some variation thereof).

So if you, silent reader, find yourself working on some fictional endeavor and needing a random character to do something, I encourage you to add a Steve of your own.

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