Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
You know, as a fiction writer I’ve always wondered how real the characters in my books are. Do they have a life of their own, or are they restricted to the movements and thoughts that I give them? What would it be like to be one of them?
Well, after seeing Sarah Palin’s unreal endorsement of Donald Trump last week, it finally struck me: we are all characters in some cosmic novelist’s book! There’s no other explanation for what I saw.
If it’s true, I’m hoping the writer isn’t one of those who plot the whole thing out in advance. That’d be bad because we have no chance at changing the outcome on our own — by acting with autonomy. We’re the unwitting victims of this guy’s sadistic cruelty. But if he’s basically improvising (and that scene with Palin and Trump makes me very hopeful that he is), maybe we can start to strain the chains that bind us to his narrative and force him to rethink things.
I guess the problem for us is that novels always get worse for the characters before they get better. Since our creator appears to have it in for us, I’m already fearing one big clusterfuck of an election next fall, with results that will set up a really nasty sequel.
So join me, fellow prisoners, and let’s become the kind of characters who surprise their author by doing what we want to do. Put an end to this hack writer’s over-the-top plot devices.
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[By the by, “Gatecrash: Liberating creativity in the age of boilerplate fiction” will conclude on Monday with an inspirational message of hope and change. Be sure to tune in. I’ll also provide a link to a page with all the posts in one convenient location, plus a pdf file of the full essay you can download for free.]