The extravagantly unique and quirky SF/thriller author Geoff Nelder, as usual, has a more than unusual way of showing us his favourite character. Relish in his wit and humour. Adults only, please.
The exuberance of Megan Wagstaff
Character from the ARIA Trilogy by Geoff Nelder
“Think not that seven billion people died on Earth in the ARIA Trilogy, but that a few thousand survive. Traumatized, yes, terrified that someone with infectious amnesia might get too close, but in spite of that, basic personality traits of each individual show through. I’ve been a judge—”
“Hey, granddad, what gives with the speech?”
Her ferociously red hair threw sparks as she drew a hand through it. Wafts of chewing gum aroma entertained my nose driving out the coffee I’d spilt earlier.
“Megan, meet this Dictaphone, I’m doing a character piece for a blog and, hey, I’m not old enough to be your granddad!”
She laughs, punches me on the shoulder and instead of taking the chair opposite me, she perches on the desk corner. “I think you might have that ARIA infectious amnesia thing, “she says, “if you think you’re young enough for me. Is that ginger marmalade on your toast? I’m ‘aving it.”
I reach out but fail to defend my breakfast and I mock frown. As if I’d make a play for her. She’s always a teen tease.
“Megan, in ARIA you’re an obstreperous girl with attitude against everyone against the mad Doctor Antonio. What was it about him that appealed to you?” I push the Dictaphone towards her.
“He wasn’t mad!” Crumbs spluttered at me. “He was misunderstood.”
“But he killed—”
“Not his fault, obvs.” She took a long breath as if consulting her database of ideas. “You ogling my tits? Again?”
“You’ve spilt marmalade on your erm…basque. What do you mean, again? Anyway, I’m giving the blog readers tips I give out when judging writing comps.”
At last she smiles, uneven but realistic teeth. “You’re a judge? Cool. Go ahead.”
I take the Dictaphone and alternately glance at her and my notes.
“Competition judges often use these points when assessing characterisation in stories:
“One. Are characters distinct in their behaviour, voice, appearance?
“Two. Especially in a novel, the character should undergo a change in the course of the story.
“Three. The character should be interesting – think OTT like TV soap characters.”
Megan snorts, blowing more crumbs at me. “They’re not in Frasier re-runs mum watches. All boring.” She pulls a savage smile.
I point in the air. “Filmed years ago when viewers appreciated dialogue more. Anyway, which character in Frasier do you like most?”
“Bulldog, of course.”
I spread my arms in glee. “Exactly, he’s the most over-the-top person on the show. Now, if you don’t mind.
“Four: If the character is ‘nice’ does the writer go the extra mile necessary to make him or her convincing and worthy of the story?”
Megan pouts and frowns. “I’m not nice, so are you saying I’m unworthy?”
“Stop putting words in my mouth, Megan.”
“But it’s you, the writer, who puts words in my mouth, so if you’re saying—”
“Yes, yes. Let me finish this blog piece…before I delete you.”
“Five: Do all the characters have a role in the story in that each moves the plot on?
“Six: If a character is a cliché (and many may have to be) is there some quirk or trait to lift him or her off the page? Hah, I’m just remembering, Megan, when you snared Ryder in Book Two and kept demanding ‘naked cuddles’ with him to embarrass him in front of his ex-fiancée and others.
“Seven: It isn’t always necessary to describe a character but if so is it well done?
“Finally, eight: Do I care what happens to the main character?”
She brushes at invisible toast detritus on her mauve velvet dress. “And who, in all fiction, is your fave character, Geoff Nelder?”
“Well, it could be Lazarus Long, or Ellen Ripley…” Her eyes widen so much I see myself in them. “But, of course, it’s you.”
“Right answer, Mr Author, now let’s clear this table and get it on Naked cuddles.”
“No, Megan, stop kissing me. This is inappropriate. Delete, delete!
ARIA (medical mystery, apocalyptic)
A half hour read “of pure genius” The Chaos of Mokii at http://mybook.to/ChaosOM
Geoff’s Website: http://geoffnelder.com