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Self-indulgent and evil (?) pleasures

October 29, 2012

We’ve all dealt with them: the guy at work who makes unnecessary busy with pointless obsessions with minutiae; the woman at the checkout line who keeps you waiting while she chats with the person in front of you, slowly bagging the 47 items in the express lane; the parent at the mandatory school meeting who wastes time by asking questions that were already answered.

The pinhead owner who manages to take a once-proud baseball team in New York and force it into a situation where its revenue stream looks like a small-market team, in spite of playing in a new stadium.

As writers, we have a unique and self-indulgent avenue to vent our righteous frustrations with such people. People with their names–or remarkably similar names–could wind up inconvenienced, imprisoned, or even dead in our manuscripts.

The sign says TEN items, not the whole stupid store. Now you’re going to pay!

You have to be careful with this approach. After all, if I named a character Ed Filpon and said he was owner of the New York City team in the National League, and then had a sadistic murderer drive over him with a slow-moving steamroller, it might not be the best thing for my writing career. (Note: I’m sure Fred Wilpon, the Mets actual owner, is a wonderful individual. I use his name only as an example of what a person could do.)

At the conference, we sell t-shirts that say “Careful or I’ll put you in my novel.”

The question is, have you actually done that? If so, what have you done to them?

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. October 29, 2012 6:10 am

    I have a handful of people I know who will make up a fraction of the composite of my villain. I chose these people because I can describe the parts of them I REALLY dislike without anyone having a clue as to who they are. :D

  2. October 29, 2012 9:19 am

    I didn’t make this person a ‘villain’ so much as a catalyst for the protagonist. It was cathartic for me to write her in this way and I liked how the situation ended up.

  3. October 29, 2012 8:35 pm

    I put a pablo Escabar, Jr. in one of my stories. I may have a problem.

  4. October 30, 2012 2:45 pm

    I love the idea of getting even with all those pesky people in life, the unappreciative boss or spouse, the spoiled child, the overbearing mother.. but then we might have to suffer their wrath later. My canned response: its a work of fiction, no bearing on reality. Right!

  5. Chris Hamilton permalink*
    October 30, 2012 3:31 pm

    Jodi Picoult had a guy named Chris Hamilton in one of her books. She didn’t kill him and he’s not named after me. But he is named after a guy a friend of mine knows.

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