ness writes about writing

Dear Character … A Loincloth is an Impractical Piece of Clothing

How often have you created characters who are simply cardboard cutouts? What if … what if one of those poor, defenceless characters decided to protest his ill-treatment? Following on from Part One.

[Extracts from] Requests to the Author, from the Promoting Character Development Society on behalf of Character 42b

Character 42b, who prefers to be known as Tom, requests that he be given more facial features. He considers that the only thing you find worth noting about his face – ‘dark eyes’ – to be extremely insulting, not to mention distressing. He does not wish to have too many wrinkles, and insists that he has the right to have a youthful air about him. You have, after all, forgotten to give him an age.

– paragraph six of page two

He would like a well-defined chin and ears that are not too large; he does not want the nickname of ‘Big Ears’, though he would like a nickname as you have neglected to give him one. He would wish to suggest the title of ‘Tall, Dark and a Mighty Warrior’ or ‘the Extremely Fierce and Magnificently Brave Wolf-Fang’. Either would be appropriate.

– paragraph eight of page four

Tom is weary of being the book’s joker and has suggested that he be placed in the role of ‘He Who Broods’ instead.

– paragraph three of page twenty

… he finds the insinuation that he has an obnoxiously loud laugh to be hurtful, and detrimental to his self-esteem.

– paragraph one, line four, of page twenty-three

Tom regrets to say that, though he is sure that wearing only a loincloth and war paint is the correct attire for a brave warrior of the blood, it is impractical in winter. And autumn. And spring. In fact, he would very much like more clothing.

– paragraph four of page twenty-three

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