A question of character

No one is telling me anything funny about fannies at the moment.

It can’t be because they’re all reading the blog and running scared of becoming my next victim. Sorry, I mean, ‘subject’. They’re probably just busy with other areas.

One of my friends, Ancillary, did tell me an intimate story which I wanted to use but she wouldn’t let me. I found that a bit frustrating since it was the only story I had. But on the other hand, I don’t want to lose a good friend, so, of course, I respected her wishes, God damn her.

I was turning this over in my thinking parts when my friend Flotilla rang up. Flotilla is writing a novel, like a lot of my friends. She’s been kind enough to credit a remark I made as one of her starting points. Obvs I was delighted that she is profiting from my wisdom. She’s got a two book deal and more power to her elbow. Gnash gnash.

It was when she said she’s decided to call the main character ‘Cathy’ that my synapses went into spasm. Cathy is not really a name I like, if I’m honest. I’ve always thought it was a bit wishywashy. So on one level, she’s welcome. But on another, I’m starting to wonder, and maybe I’m flattering myself, just what this character who is acting on one of my remarks, and has my name, is going to be like? Especially since her novel takes place in a middle-class, domestic world, like mine, and is an intimate portrayal of a marriage.

How will I feel if this Cathy is fantastically bright, completely together and has published award-winning fiction? I suppose I’ll know she’s not based on me – boom boom. But what if she’s a bit chaotic, lazy, fond of food and drink? What if she’s an unholy bitch? Or just a loser?


Flotilla is a much cleverer and more sophisticated person than I am as you will all have realised by now. She didn’t ask my permission for any of this, and she is under no obligation to do so. She’s included me in the process, in a way, or at least, explained her process to me so that I am party to what she’s doing. Could it be she’s managing my expectations? Or is she just exercising that sliver of glass where her heart should be which they say writers have to have?

What if I don’t have that glass sliver?

She’s not the first of my friends to name a character in a published novel ‘Cathy’. The first ‘Cathy’ was incredibly sexy and had graphic sex with one of the baddies, if I remember rightly, so clearly NOT BASED ON ME. My  husband is evidently a goodie. So why did I blush when I read it?

That book’s being made into a film as I write this. Can’t wait.

Meanwhile, if Flotilla rings, I’m out. Or perhaps I’ll speak to her only in broken French. That’ll do it.

Anyone seen my petard?

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in characters, ethics, friendship, life writing, writing novels
2 comments on “A question of character
  1. bigmammafrog says:

    I’m just envious that you have friends who have actually written (and published!) books. I suppose you must have a special drawer to hold all those friend-lookalike dolls and sharp pins.

    It seems that most of my friends seem to have careers in mental health or lawless adolescents. I wonder what attracted them to me..?

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