Monday, October 30, 2006

Redshirts and Identifying Marks

Well, we can all identify Mark Townsend because he flatly refuses to volunteer for a Tuckerization in this story--and I have two other Townsends to whom he could be connected already in the story. Mark T. you are a coward! :) I wouldn't even have to kill you, I promise.

All of you other "Marks" :) listen up, I'm dealing the game like this:

I can slap a name onto a character - any name, any character - but that immortalizes your name on a piece of flat paper. Your fictional self will be what's called a "cardboard character" - I guarantee you will be a walk-on and your death will be swift but probably not memorable, probably one of many in that scene. I have a few positions for cardboard walk-ons, so if this appeals to you, go ahead, take it.

Many of you have asked for me to make your death memorable or more to the point, be inventive with your character. You've gotta help me out here if you want "you" to look like you in any way, shape or form.

What will make the character "you" to your real-life friends and family is if there is some habit, tic or twitch, some pet turn of phrase, some kind of little thing that people will "see" and realize "Oh my God! That's REALLY [your_name_here]"

At the same time, it has to be transparent enough that people who don't know "you" (or you or anything about you) will read right along without having been jerked out of the text by an incongruence (the Tuckerization part of your redshirting experience in my story).

That is, I have to incorporate said feature or facet into your fictional self in such a way that anyone who has no clue who you are (uhhh, that's 99.99999999% of the people on the planet where this will be read, probably Earth ;-))) won't wonder why you are doing [whatever]. I can't bet anyone will recognize said twitch, habit, tic, pet phrase or favorite sidearm--a Reader might even own the same wristwatch themselves so telling me what you're wearing won't make your fictional self "unique." Try again.

Although most of us won't admit it, most of us do actually have some identifying feature that those who know us after the initial stages of "Hello, how do you do? What a pleasure to meet you." fake-talk chatting would recognize us in a heartbeat based on that one thing we say or do. Waving your hands, pulling at your hair, please don't tell me picking your nose but hey, some people do this in public--I've seen it when I people-watch!! You see all kinds of things when you just fade into the background and watch with notepad in hand.


Go back down to the comment thread on the redshirt requests--or start a new one on this post--and give me these kinds of identifying marks or I can leave you as a walk-on made of cardboard or worse (for you--better, for me), assign you a tic I think suits your fictional self and serves my story.


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