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My humorous thoughts about life.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Finding Your Trademark Character

Kurt Vonnegut introduced us to Diana Moon Glampers—the ugliest, stupidest, and meanest women on Earth—who often made cameo appearances in several of his novels. In “God Bless You Mr. Rosewater,” Vonnegut writes:

The client who was about to make Eliot's black telephone ring was a sixty-eight-year-old virgin who, by almost anybody's standards, was too dumb to live. Her name was Diana Moon Glampers. No one had ever loved her. There was no reason why anyone should. She was ugly, stupid, and boring. On the rare occasions when she had to introduce herself, she always said her full name, and followed that with the mystifying equation that had thrust her into life so pointlessly:

"My mother was a Moon. My father was a Glampers."


My favorite role of Diana’s was as the button pushing general who would scramble the thoughts of intelligent people by causing plane wreck noises in their ears. If you’ve never read Vonnegut’s short story, “Harrison Bergeron,” check it out.

Although I’m no Kurt Vonnegut, I do have a character—or rather a group of characters—who will often make appearances in my books. I’m referring to my fictitious, metallic rock band, Leaf Jet 8. This group acquired their name by me randomly tapping computer keys then shuffling the letters around for a name that grabbed me. I’ve found success with this technique many times.

I delight in putting the band into each of my books, whether it’s something as mild as a song on the radio or as the main character’s girlfriend’s infatuation making her run off with lead singer Dallas Quinton. I’ve also had a good old time making up song titles to fit various scenes. Among the band’s greatest hits is Jenna’s Jugular, which was named after the lead singer’s ex-girlfriend Jenna who dumped him for a woman. Other hits include The Hellivator and Hold Up Baby.

Leaf Jet 8 may never make it onto a real stage, but they provide hours of entertainment as I enjoy cameo appearances coming to a radio near you. So what pops into each of your stories?

2 comments:

Ree Vera said...

I do have a character that pops up every now and then. His name is Bradley James.
He's always in the background...never noticeable enough to devote an entire scene to him...and he is my inspiration for most of my heros. Mainly b/cuz BJ (no pun intended) is the epitamy of male ego. The one man no woman could possibly stand. LOL.
Not sure if this counts but that's my character ha ha.
Loved this blog post :)

Joyce Lansky said...

Isn't it fun to reuse characters? That's exactly what I'm talking about. BJ is almost like your own little private joke; and if enough folks read you, they'll start to notice him.

Thanks for reading!