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Ten Signs That You Might Be A Novel’s Character

1- Nothing is ever easy, nor simple.  Say you are walking across the street to get a gallon of milk.  A rare make of car will almost run you down.  The store that sells the milk will be out of milk. You’ll have to walk across the most dangerous area of town to get to the next store.

This means someone is making you terminally interesting.

2- You remember more near-death experiences than a character in iZombie.

This is probably just background infodumps.  The author is trying to show how resilient you are.

3- All or your friends are terminally interesting and can be counted on for either an explosion or comic relief when needed.

This is good for keeping the plot moving when you’re tired/recovering/ill.

4- You have one or more catch phrases.

This is very useful for delineating a character when the author doesn’t have particularly good character skills.

5- You consistently get interrupted when you try to tell people the most important part of any story.

This is an attempt to create suspense.  Not a very clever one.  BUT, you know, sooner or later your author might find a good writers’ group.

6- You have almost lost a friendship to a huge misunderstanding which would have been cleared up if you’d just paid attention.

7- People are insanely attracted to you, despite age/body type/lack of interest.

8- You have one or more unlikely abilities, which comes in handy in circumstances that should never strike.  Say you are a camel whisperer.  It will turn out the only way to escape a traffic jam is on camel back. If you’re this well foreshadowed, you might want to consider you only exist within pages of a novel.

9- You never cry.  You’ve tried to, but you just can’t cry.  You can REMEMBER crying, but that’s probably back history.  Main characters don’t cry, because then the reader will have to.

10 – You don’t remember some of the more exciting episodes in your life, or not in detail, particularly if they involve more than three people.  This is because crowd scenes are very hard to write, but easier to summarize.

BONUS: if you keep finding people who were murdered in bizarre ways, you’re not the main character of a novel.  You’re an amnesiac mass murderer.

 

74 Comments
  1. Luke #

    Thankfully (I think) 3, 7, and 9 don’t apply.
    Otherwise, I might have to worry about my own existence.

    February 24, 2016
  2. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard #

    But what if you are the character in a novel but appear to be the comic relief. [Evil Grin]

    February 24, 2016
    • CACS #

      Tell that to Guy…

      February 24, 2016
    • As long as you are plucky……

      February 25, 2016
  3. There are times I am grateful my life is boring.

    February 24, 2016
  4. CACS #

    I have acquaintances who seem to have catch phrases. This does not usually endear them to me, particularly if they beat a proverbial horse to death with their incessant use of such phrases. There is one gentleman who, although I know he means well, makes me want to do violence every time he says, ‘I hear you.’ I never did ‘get’ the charm of J.J. and his Dyn-o-mite! from Good Times.

    I do not recall if either Elizabeth ever cried, and cannot really imagine Darcy letting anyone catch him doing so. I am sure that Mrs. Bennet probably did enough for them and many another character as well. You have given me a reason to reread P&P! Thank you!

    February 24, 2016
    • The Other Sean #

      I hear you, man.

      February 24, 2016
    • Catch phrases are just cartoonish verbal mannerisms. Everyone has some verbal mannerisms, just few are catch-phrase worthy. Around here, the few that are aren’t printable – at least, not in polite company.

      February 24, 2016
    • Alan #

      Catch phrase – the verbose version of “umm…”

      February 24, 2016
    • 0ldgriz #

      My late brother in law had a suite of catch phrases. All were either Pretenders or Tom Petty song lyrics.

      February 24, 2016
      • Draven #

        mine are all movie quotes, obscure and otherwise

        February 25, 2016
  5. #3 and #4 are pretty well ubiquitous for my internet friends. #8 too. Does this mean _I’m_ a secondary character to all those people who say “Who let Rex [fill in the site of the explosion] this time?”

    February 24, 2016
    • #3 and #4 do seem fairly standard. And as for #8, ‘unlikely’ is a decidedly subjective thing. *Checks* Well, can’t say I’ve ever experienced #7. But that #5… uh oh.

      February 24, 2016
  6. c4c

    February 24, 2016
  7. I guess I’m not in a novel – phew. Though 6 has come close and 9 is pretty much true too

    February 24, 2016
  8. Explosions? Not any more – The Feds harshed our airshow mellow. Near-death events? Not since I stopped substituting in the junior high.
    Friends with catch-phrases? No, but their souses seem to have a few (usually along the lines of “oh no, you didn’t just say that.” [Come to think of it, our coworkers use that line a lot as well. Hmmm . . .])

    February 24, 2016
  9. 5 actually happens to me any time I open my mouth. Not sure what that means…

    And I have a small cache of catchphrases. Does this mean I’m a secondary (more likely tertiary) character in someone else’s novel?!

    February 24, 2016
    • Same here with 5 and 6 wasn’t an almost, it happened. 😦

      10 .. well, I usually just quote from Quantum Leap – swiss cheese memory. 😉

      February 24, 2016
  10. Heh…So don’t do this, I take it?

    February 24, 2016
    • some of it is inevitable. I was actually musing on the differences between even GOOD fiction and reality. Fiction needs certain short cuts.

      February 24, 2016
      • Ah. Part of it is selection bias (No. 1 – I can tell stories of standing in a car getting it cut apart around me and remember it well. Picking granny up off the floor less so since its so common)

        Interesting friends depends on the story. Sometimes its expected (Friends within career field or comrades in arms)

        Most of the rest I’m guilty of as a writer…but the current copy is draft for now…

        February 24, 2016
      • sabrinachase #

        Yeah, I have an entire *arsenal* of unfired Chekhovian guns in my life. So not fair…. Like the old glass milk bottle I found walled up in my house when gutting the upstairs to the studs. I mean, does that symbolize lactose intolerance? Ghost cats? WHAT?????

        February 24, 2016
        • Tell me you didn’t open the bottle and let the djinni out? Please?

          February 24, 2016
        • It means a workman likely misplaced part of his lunch package.

          February 25, 2016
          • Bibliotheca Servare #

            Spoilsport. Admit it, it’s probably a djinn. “Workman’s lunch” pshaw… *suspicious glare*

            February 26, 2016
      • I was actually musing on the differences between even GOOD fiction and reality. Fiction needs certain short cuts.

        And as JerryP is fond of pointing out, fiction has to be credible. (Reality doesn’t have to care if you believe it or not.)

        February 24, 2016
  11. Clyde #

    My wife cured me of blaming Al Gore for all cold snaps, so #4 doesn’t shouldn’t apply any more, but #1 is all too true. However, it’s usually boring things that keep me from getting things done. Think “There’s a Hole in My Bucket” rather than Indiana Jones and the Lost Half-Asteroid.

    February 24, 2016
    • I don’t blame Al Gore. I tell Dan “if we’d elected him, he promised global warming.”

      February 24, 2016
    • Not *all* cold snaps. Just the ones that seem to always happen at certain climate conferences.

      February 24, 2016
      • Or whenever manbearpig is giving a speech

        February 24, 2016
        • The Gore Effect is so well documented, I’ve seen people joke about “It’s getting to hot here/the A/C broke, let’s see if Al Gore will come give a talk about Global Warming.”

          February 24, 2016
        • The Other Sean #

          Is that a relative of the puppy monkey baby?

          February 24, 2016
    • Think “There’s a Hole in My Bucket”

      Yeah. Bloody annoying, honestly.

      February 24, 2016
  12. ‘if you keep finding people who were murdered in bizarre ways, you’re not the main character of a novel. You’re an amnesiac mass murderer.”

    Soooo, that explains all the weird stuff in Murder She Wrote. :-p

    February 24, 2016
  13. Reality Observer #

    I’d write myself into something as a character – but nobody buys a one paragraph story…

    Reminds me, though, I need to start tracking down Joe Buckley. I have one story line going where he, or someone using his name, is a) a highly intelligent and competent officer, b) meets and marries an absolutely gorgeous and brilliant woman, and c) ends up as the head honcho of the galactic Confederation. Seems to me I should get permission for completely misrepresenting the poor guy’s life…

    February 24, 2016
    • And then the supernova erupted….

      February 24, 2016
    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard #

      Eric Flint & Ryk Spoor let Joe Buckley live and even got him married to a wonderful (if dangerous) lady.

      Of course, if they killed that Joe Buckley now, his widow could come looking for them. 😈 😈 😈 😈

      February 24, 2016
      • Reality Observer #

        Argh! When I don’t even know that people have taken up residence in my head, it is very annoying…

        Which one was that? (And, looks like I get to figure out a different name, dang it!)

        February 24, 2016
        • Bjorn Hasseler #

          Do you have the ebook, _The Many Deaths of Joe Buckley_?

          February 24, 2016
          • Reality Observer #

            I did not. Now I do. Thank you, Bjorn.

            February 26, 2016
            • Reality Observer #

              And I own those novels, dang it! (Except for Digital Knight, which goes on the list now.)

              Annoyed by my horrible memory for names (real or fictional). But – absolutely no regrets ponying up another $2.99 for it, with it going to Baen Bulk and ReadAssist.

              February 26, 2016
  14. As a person, I’m terminally boring. This is a nice safe way NOT to be a character. Which is fine with me. Characters get killed.

    They also get the guy/whatever. Oh, well.

    February 24, 2016
  15. Technically #1 is living normally in Soviuer Russia, Baltimore or Detroit…😉

    February 24, 2016
  16. dougirvin #

    Well, to quote Evelyn Cyril Gordon, “I hope there are many serials”.

    February 24, 2016
  17. B. Durbin #

    In regards to #5, I once played a game of “how long can I keep this character from getting food?”

    The irony is that I wrote that *before* I was a parent. Foreshadowing, yes…

    February 24, 2016
    • But that’s real life. Especially in some fields. I’ve done a reverse dine and dash at restaurants more than once (Pay for food, get food, get call before eating food).

      February 24, 2016
      • My med-crews and I called going to a sit-down food place “pager roulette.” Would the pager go off before the food arrived? There are a few places where if you are in EMS/flight crew uniform, they ask you to pay when you order, for the sake of the waitress who might otherwise have to drop everything to get your check. (And so they didn’t get stuck with a dine-n-dash.)

        February 24, 2016
        • How I learned about “for here, to go” Since I’m municipal they are usually pretty good if we leave because they know they will get their money. But more than a few meals died on the stove and I’ve had a few standbys because someone needed to watch dinner.

          February 24, 2016
          • Catseyes #

            Feeling your pain.

            February 25, 2016
        • TRX #

          I used to have often have lunch with a friend who had the city’s emergency wrecker contract. He always asked them to bring the bill and a to-go box when he ordered.

          I started settling my bill with my order too; many times I was nearly late to get back to work or an appointment because I needed to leave and I had suddenly become invisible to waiters.

          It’s one of my Special Powers. I still have the Mace holster with the Freon boat horn in my desk drawer. I used to use it to remind waitstaff that I was still there… getting the bill first means I can just walk out, assuming they ever brought my food in the first place.

          [some of you probably think I’m kidding about the boat horn. I’m not.]

          February 27, 2016
          • Alpheus #

            This reminds me of someone named Kathy at a website called “The Cornered Cat” writing about her ability to become invisible. Her website is dedicated to teaching women about self defense and firearms, so she was emphasizing things like body language and situational awareness. In her essay, she talked about how, with the help of a friend, they were able to figure out what she did to become so invisible…

            There have been times in which I felt I could be invisible, too, but I think that was just a delusion in my mind, largely as a result of my tendency to be quiet…

            (When I say “delusion”, I mean this: I’ve never really seriously tested my belief that I can be invisible; I’ve always just assumed that I have that ability, whether I have that ability or not…)

            March 2, 2016
  18. *checks list*

    *writes*

    *looks over list*

    Oh. Crap.

    February 24, 2016
    • It could be worse. You could be living next door to James Nicoll.

      Actually, I think he doesn’t have constant near-death experiences anymore. Probably because he went down to the crossroads and became an SJW, but that’s just a guess. (And it doesn’t seem to help other SJW’s, to be fair, so he must be an extraordinary crossroads negotiator.)

      February 24, 2016
      • Christopher M. Chupik #

        Living next to James Nicoll isn’t something I’d write even for a character I hated.

        February 24, 2016
  19. Alan #

    #6 – also the typical cause of office or social group political drama

    February 24, 2016
  20. Alan #

    BONUS – or the lead detective in a police procedural series

    February 24, 2016
  21. Arwen #

    Sweet! My peaceful life means that I am free to make my own choices and not living at the whim of sadistic author!

    February 24, 2016
  22. I want to write adventures, not live them. Besides, bald guys are never the heroes. Somebody else can play Lex Luthor.

    February 24, 2016
    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard #

      What about Telly Savalas of Kojak fame? [Grin]

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telly_Savalas

      February 24, 2016
      • Oh. TV. I knew I missed something by not watching it, heh.

        February 24, 2016
    • Bald guys are never the heroes? Clearly Yul Brynner, Sean Connery, Bruce Willis, etc. never got that memo.

      February 24, 2016
      • I suppose. But I was talking about fiction.

        February 24, 2016
        • Joe in PNG #

          There’s Leonard of Quirm.

          February 24, 2016
          • Joe in PNG #

            And how can I forget Lu-Tze! Never forget rule one.
            There’s also Professor X in the funny books.

            February 25, 2016
            • THIS. Lu Tze

              February 25, 2016
              • He was bald? Missed that. Then again, I don’t think I’ve read Thief of Time again since it came out.

                February 25, 2016
    • Bruce Willis in Red and Red 2,

      February 25, 2016
  23. Catseyes #

    What does it mean when the novelization of a portion of your life is actually more believable, in spite of the addition of supernatural themes?

    February 25, 2016
    • that you have a very weird life. Eh. Some of mine…

      February 25, 2016

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