book promotion

Characters Matter

Above: Photo of Hybrid Human and Fictional Character
Below: Post by Old Spice, Earth Mission Commander

Just when I figured I had you humans thought out, up pops a Zombie. Which, according to the report just handed me by Lizbeth, my assistant ventriloquist doll, turns out to be part of a second Intelligent Life Form co-populating Earth with Humans. Fictional Characters are everywhere influencing what Humans say and do. They are quoted, they are held up as shining examples to emulate or villainous evil to destroy or simply endearing personas.

Fictional Characters may be anything imaginable. A woman becoming a Detective, a Girl and her flying carpet, a fighter pilot wreaking Major Havoc. Some are laborers, loggers, tradesmen –Ordinary Folk. There are Gods in agony and Lethal hackers There’s even a cat out there somewhere though I’m told he’s Sly and can be hard to spot.

The impact on Humanity of Fictional Characters is to alter individuals, create cultures and build civilizations. Kids play with imaginary playmates. Cultures are created around gods and myths. Heroic figures guide the rise of civilizations.

Humans are easier to understand when their imagination is weighed equally with their intellect and emotions.

And that’s why I’m here. To study Humans. Those rumors about my family banishing me to Earth over an incident involving my father’s mistress are misleading. My job, with Lisbeth’s help, is to understand Humans and the Fictional Characters they live with.

Tell me, as a writer, what Fictional Character(s) live in your head?


35 thoughts on “Characters Matter

  1. mimispeike says:

    The most interesting fictional character that lives in my head, endlessly reconfigurable, of a level of lunacy that Sly only nibbles at, is me.

    This just in, on HuffPost. DJT is taking, he’s taken it for years, a drug to combat hair loss, that has a side effect of mental confusion. The truth is better than fiction. Let’s all contemplate on that for a while.

    I will be exploring that idea in my upcoming all-too-true memoir, which I will, however, promote as a Low-Life Fantasy/Fiction.

    I hope I can get people to buy that. Well, my parents are dead. My brother and sister and husband know all. My husband loves the what-the-hell person that I am. I don’t think I can appall my brother any more than I have already. My sister is a push-over. I intimidate her, and she has good stories to tell her friends about her weirdo sister. The rest of my relatives, the rest of the world, can like it or lump it.

    Good progress today. I may have, by the end of the weekend, chapter one: I Begin. My cutest character is about to make her move from my brain-pan to my page.

    Thanks for the segueway, GD. you’re a pal.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Welcome to the co-op, err . . . weird doll-thingy.

    As to your question of what fictional characters live in my head: any I choose to write about, whilst I am watching them.

    Understand that I use the word “watching” because that is the word which best describes the process of writing fiction at the time I am writing it, i.e. observing characters in collision with one another. With this significant difference over the passive watching of film: I head-hop into the focal point character in any given scene in order to more fully engage my senses: sound, smell, taste, touch. If I didn’t engage senses other than sight I would run the risk of simply turning observed events into text. This would result in an after-action report, not fiction. (“Visual fictioneering: Dry as dust and twice as dull; the bad writer’s prose is the good reader’s hell.”–Carl E. Reed.) You cannot transport a reader into a story’s world by merely reciting visual details; you must evoke as many of the senses as possible whilst also calling upon all that you have learned of the craft to fashion into cunning order those words best suited to the effective telling of your tale.

    PS. Nice job with the hypertext links in your blog post; that took more than a bit of work. Impressive!

    Who are you?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Old Spice says:

      Spice thanks you for the wonderful insight, “You cannot transport a reader into a story’s world by merely reciting visual details….”

      And asks, when observing your characters and head-hopping amongst them, are you moving them around like toy soldiers or are you just along for the ride? Moving them, he suspects, through the plot while also reporting their reactions.
      (If you ask me, Boss Thing asks that because, as a fictional character himself, he doesn’t know if life is divine fate or divine intervention.)

      (As for your question, who is he, I’ve asked Spice that before. It gave him an Existential headache.)
      Ventriloquist doll, Official Translator

      Liked by 3 people

      • Re: “When observing your characters and head-hopping amongst them [one focal-point character per scene] are you moving them around like toy soldiers or are you just along for the ride?”

        This is a trickier question to answer than you might realize. I was going to say it’s 50/50 but then I thought–hang on a second–even when consciously aware during the writing of a story that “okay; now character x needs to get to position y” the only reason I do think such a thought is because that character movement/stage direction came to me in the flash of inspiration that originally triggered the story. Or such character movement simply occurs while I am watching the scene play out in my head.

        Ye gods! I am this close to admitting: I don’t so much write my stories as transcribe them directly from the unconscious.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Old Spice says:

          Spice says you are an Invert. Not introverted or extroverted, inverted. Sorry, but for all I know, he’s talking about your nipples.

          No, Spice says “Tell him he has what Marx called ‘an inverted consciousness of the world,’ that his stories are his real consciousness.”

          Liked by 1 person

          • That’s . . . a very interesting way of putting it. I’ll need to mull that over. I see reality as stimulus and my art as response to that stimulus, so in that narrow knee-jerk Skinnerian stimulus/response sense . . . “his real consciousness” . . . yeah, that might apply; it might indeed . . .

            Liked by 2 people

  3. Perry Palin says:

    This is a great question. I had to think about this overnight before I could describe the character living in my head..

    I am one of the “realists” that Ursula Le Guin laughs about in the speech linked in an earlier blog post.

    The MC of my yet-to-be-published first novel is Paul Standing Bear (AKA Paul Standing), a man in his thirties, raised by a single mom on a Native American reservation. He went to the city for education and for a career in business. He is articulate, perceptive, and persuasive. He has family and a number close friends on the reservation. He doesn’t need a lot of friends, and he has few in the city. He does not initiate events; he is reactive, but when he develops a response to events around him, he is persistent. He will form close alliances with other to reach his goals. He is self-reliant. He sometimes doubts his own abilities, but not his motivations. He will take calculated risks to reach his ends. He is competent with computers and business operations, but his preference is for canoes, fishing rods, and horses and mules. He is at home in the woods, and prefers to go into the woods alone. He is not especially handsome, but women are drawn to him. He is serial monogamist.

    I’ve written a lot of short stories where the character of the MC need not be so finely drawn, but most of my male MCs, from the age of eight to eighty, have a mix of Paul’s traits.

    The stories with a Paul-type MC are well received by my readers. When I write about other types, those stories are not nearly as popular, measured by non-scientific methods.

    I’ll be interested in others’ responses. I’d like to know what this all means.

    Liked by 3 people

      • Perry Palin says:

        Ah, GD, another good question. I recently found some old records of inventories and psychological tests I took before I was hired to my last day job. I am not so smart but otherwise a similarly twisted Sheldon Cooper.

        I have some of Paul’s traits, I suppose, or I wish I had them. Especially the part about canoes, fishing rods, horses and mules.

        Liked by 2 people

          • I’ve noticed, and my wife has mentioned it too, that my female characters tend to fall for the smartest guy in the room. I rarely think of myself as the smartest guy in the room, but I certainly rate higher on that scale than on attributes like strongest, or most handsome, or most rich and powerful, so I suppose there is some wish fulfillment going on there.

            Liked by 3 people

            • Perry Palin says:

              My female characters fall for the guy who in high school had Elvis’ hair and who drove a clean car and smoked unfiltered cigarettes behind the school. But the girls were on to something. He is the smartest guy in the room. Later in life the rest of us are trying to explain obscure New Yorker cartoons to one another, while middle aged Elvis has a good paying job as a heavy equipment mechanic and comes home to build from scratch a play house for the kids.

              Liked by 2 people

  4. mimispeike says:

    Old Spice, I’m blaming you for this. You put a thought in my head: “Fictional Characters are everywhere influencing what Humans say and do.” (And/or are relevant to what Humans say and do.) Hence, my post. Ask GD what he meant in his comment, please.

    Liked by 2 people

        • GD Deckard says:

          I made one of the main characters in my WIP, Bob Vs The Aliens, a member of the Co-op. Old Spice, the Alien, is now on our Authors page. Then, I gave my character a ventriloquist dummy, Lizbeth, to serve as his Official Translator. (It’s no coincidence that his post is about fictional characters. 🙂 )
          All this is from my WIP as a fun way to promote it.

          Liked by 1 person

          • This is . . . getting complicated. For you. But hey; whatever works! Whatever gets the words down on the page, right? (Whew! For a moment there I thought we would all need at least one alternate authorial identity on this site; I was getting ready to create “New Bland”–a painfully shy and reclusive alien comprised of thrice-masticated cardboard upchucked by the hovering zum-zum plant whilst being tickled by priestesses of Lint–to counterpoint Old Spice.)

            Liked by 3 people

  5. mimispeike says:

    I’m going to create a second me who will tell me I’m an asshole who needs to shut the fuck up. For years I’ve told my sister, tell me when I’m being a despicable ass (I kind of push her around) and I’ll agree with you. She never has.

    Does anyone here have the nerve to do it? I need that. I honestly can’t tell when I’ve gone too far.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Thank you, Old Spice, for such an interesting question and way of introducing it, which Lisbeth, I believe, has translated admirably. As Mimi says, ‘The most interesting fictional character that lives in my head is me.’ At least as a catalyst, though the resulting character may be very different, sometimes doing things I can’t or really wouldn’t want to. Taking my cue from Flaubert, I don’t hesitate to say, (despite the pretension), ‘Magali Rousseau, c’est moi.’ That said, there are other people there too, as well as in all the other characters. A physical trait, a way of speaking or moving – any tiny thing can blossom into a character, always (in my current work) grounded in a psychological reality. In that sense, like Perry, I’m a realist. That’s a self-imposed constraint which has its own obstacles and pitfalls. I’m still learning how to weave a credible course between them.

    Liked by 5 people

    • GD Deckard says:

      It’s been fun. Maybe, instead of blogging as authors, social media personalities based on our fictional characters would do better introducing our work as authors. (I’d love seeing Mimi’s Sly out there talking to people 🙂 )

      Interesting how “A physical trait, a way of speaking or moving – any tiny thing can blossom into a character….” I suspect the blossoming is two-way, that we take that character into our psychological reality.

      As to the question at hand, I can’t believe the jumble of fictional characters I’ve taken in over the years. If you live long enough, you live more than one “life.” The cartoon-like superficial western heroes like Hopalong Cassidy of my childhood in the 1940s taught me unquestioned “manly” values based on what was required for my parents’ generation to survive World War II (shooting bad Indians was a virtue,) to which the characters of the 1950s like Arthur Miller’s Willy Loman added uncertainty. These values changed in the 1960s to an all inclusive acceptance of others -Harper Lee’s Atticus Finch comes to mind. Over the next 50 years, aided by technology, this acceptance went as global as Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Now once again, change is here and too close for me to clearly see. My favorite fictional characters today include Riddick and The Terminator. That can’t bode well.

      Liked by 3 people

      • mimispeike says:

        My new favorite fictional character is Donald Trump. I’m writing a verse, Trump gives us his philosophy of life, in my new post soon. Ignore what’s there now. I have something else on the way.


        • GD Deckard says:

          meh, Hating Trump is a way to get lost in a crowd. But with your talent and historical perspective, Mimi, you can see things all sides agree on. Now that blog would stand out these days.

          Liked by 2 people

    • Magali Rousseau is fine character for you to aspire to be, Curtis. It only shows your excellent taste.
      I can identify, of course, with nearly every character I ever written (even Whisper, even Mistral). I know my mundane self is pretty damned mundane, and therefore pretty close to nerdy types like Owen Owens or Professor David Stokes. But there are parts of myself that identify very damned closely with some of the least admirable, most damaged, and hardest to fathom characters in my oeuvre. They are me as well.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. @GD: re: “Maybe, instead of blogging as authors, social media personalities based on our fictional characters would do better introducing our work as authors.”

    I’m not sure that would work in my instance. Consider:

    Professor Robert Howard Wilson

    “Regrettably, though not without—I freely confess it, though I immediately contradict myself with intemperate words that may strike your ear as unforgivably eristic and churlish—an inordinate measure of grim white-lipped satisfaction that I here call out the insult done to my person and recent experience by the outrageous presumption and reckless vulgarity manifested by the—forgive the aposiopesis; the mind whirls from so fuliginous and outrageous an insolence; to continue I argue that it is a damnable insult to aristocratic breeding and good taste, to say nothing of one’s preternaturally attuned and syllogistically rigorous intellection—I speak, of course, in a strictly Aristotelian sense; that is to say, in as straight-forward and breviloquent an Attic manner as possible, as contrasted with that of the flamboyant Asiatic or clinquant Ciceronian style of rhetoric favored by the vulgar, the intellectually bankrupt and the meretriciously mumble-minded; i.e. the Untermensch class of the mephitic cynosure idiotically attracted to all such bright and shiny logorrheic objects of arresting interest to the philistine, the poseur, and the rabidly Boeotian; I tell you that–in violation of the ancient ethical principle of alterum non laedere–a crass blue-collar Chicago Irishman by the name of Carl E. Reed—former marine, store clerk and—one reels; one faints—taxi driver!—has dared to chronicle recent events eldritch and eerie that drew the selcouth attention and thaumaturgical powers of Yours truly as I healed a rift in the multiverse by taking action that necessitated hurling a murderous adolescent fascist into a parallel universe from which he could no longer menace the innocent; I say–to follow this thought to completion–that it is a damn outrage that so common and doltish a public-library-frequenting parvenu has already told my story, for I had fully intended to chronicle such events myself in a euphonious Daedalian literary style that would have more accurately and aptly smacked of the fin de siècle, the grandiloquently polysyllabic and the unapologetically lexiphanian Jacqueminot. Sadly, the blackguard has already written his ‘book’. Tell him I—thus! thus!—strike his impertinent cheeks with my riding gloves. Challenge has been given; I will have satisfaction: dueling licorice whips at dawn, at an isolated, wind-whipped, sepulchral place of the upstart’s choosing.”

    Liked by 4 people

  8. mimispeike says:

    Anybody know the trick to twitter? I’m trying to contact Michael Moore, to tell him I have a fun poem about Donald Trump he might like to use. How do I get his attention? On Facebook, you make friends. I see nothing similar on Twitter.

    I’m also going to contact Huffington Post. Wherever I manage to post my poem, I’ll give a link back to here.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. GD Deckard says:

    Oddly, Perry Palin’s Elvis character (see post, 21 comments above) struck me as one of those little signs all around us these days that the world has changed. Fictional characters may reflect the world as it is before we consciously real-ize the changes and Perry’s Elvis suggests the common hero is back. That’s OKAY with me. I’m bored by cyborgs, apocalypse survivors, mentally bent cops and teenagers with super powers. Or, I could be just plain nuts.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s