The Tragical Naming of Dr. Fauste

"Your character is named Fauste?"



"... No?"


This wasn't the first time that my fiction professor and I had gotten into a tiff over stylistic differences of opinion.

"Why not?"

"Because... It just... change it."

Once upon a time, a writer earned a degree in the field and then became a professor. He wrote a few more books, earned another degree and became a hot-shot. Ergo, he lives happily ever after and makes your life a living hell.


He couldn't tell me why. He didn't know why, he just didn't like it. Maybe he felt it was a disservice to Marlowe, maybe he didn't even like the original play. Who knows? He never told me, and I didn't really care to know.

I was back at my computer, and threatened with the words 'not worth my time' and 'forget it'. They were daunting. All I could do was cry, but then I just opened up a web page with a search engine. I was making a statement with the name of Fauste, and it wasn't even spelled traditionally. I had researched every bit of it, and I did not come across my decision recklessly, although the original creation of the name was a bit slap-dash. Every serious writer should have some sort of character-naming book. Scratch that; every serious writer should have a library of them. That doesn't mean that the woman in the produce aisle can't be named the first thing that pops into your head, it just means that when you're seriously planning the story, you should pay careful attention to naming those that move it.

Fortunately, Patrick was on my side of things. Whether or not it was because we were forming a civil-disobedience faction inside of the class against The Enemy (i.e. those of us who weren't us -- minus a few important students with "real" talent -- as it was subjective judgment) will probably forever remain a mystery. Although he did always express genuine liking for the name anyway. And Penderan was simply a product of my imagination. And I liked it. No, scratch it; I really liked it.