three gophers - one dressed as a surfer, one with a blond ponytail holding cash, and one dressed as a witch

Battle of the Protagonists

Let’s just assume it is normal for a writer to have her characters talking inside her head. I’m not saying this happens to me…okay, fine, it does. But it’s usually limited to conversations between the characters within a single book. Awhile ago I got to wondering what would happen if my various main characters met each other and compared notes on how I’m treating them.

This probably won’t be funny to anyone except me. And that’s okay. If I can’t entertain myself, what’s the point of doing this anymore?

July 2012

INT. A TRAVELING PET SPA

Amalia, a privileged witch, smiles smugly at Ari, a teen entrepreneur from a working-class background.

AMALIA

I suppose you’ll have to wait a little while longer for your story to be revised.

ARI

What? But…but she promised.

AMALIA

Well, my story’s further along. It takes priority.

ARI

You sanctimonious little b–

August 2012

EXT. FLOODED WAR ZONE OUTSIDE STONE CITY WALLS

Amalia skips past, wielding a flaming ball of magicky something-or-other.

AMALIA

Never mind. My book’s done now!

ARI

FINALLY. It’s my turn!

January 2013

EXT. SMALL-TOWN CITY HALL

Ari’s shaking her fist at the miniature dog fountain when Annie shows up with a surfboard. Annie leans her surfboard against the dog fountain, which promptly tips over.

ANNIE

Hi!

ARI

Who are you?

ANNIE

I’m Annie. I’m in the next project.

ARI

What is it with the A names?

ANNIE

I don’t know about you, but my name totally fits me and my time period. I’m historical.

ARI

Actually you’re a little too present, cutting in to my time. I should be completely revised at this point.

ANNIE

It’s not my fault your story’s unmarketable and weird.

ARI

Unmarketable? Unmarketable? Oh, I guess you’d know all about that, Miss Historical-Novel-In-Verse.

ANNIE

At least I’m not completely wackadoodle. And I don’t hit people.

ARI

I don’t hit people. Much. Besides, you hit someone!

ANNIE

Yes, but my reasoning was dark and dramatic. Yours is because you feel like it.

ARI

I kinda feel like it now. Come a little closer.

October 2013

EXT. BALMY HAWAIIAN BEACH, MONSTER WAVES IN BACKGROUND

ANNIE

I’m nearly in draft 3 and she’s still going strong!

ARI

(sobs) I’m in Draft 480 and she still isn’t done with me!

END

11 comments

  1. Helene · October 18, 2013

    Okay, I think this is hysterical!!!!! And what IS it with A names???

    • Beth Hull · October 18, 2013

      Maybe I look for names in a baby name dictionary, start with A, & read until I find one I like? 🙂

      • Pat Kahn · October 18, 2013

        Good technique. I’ll have to try that.

        • Beth Hull · October 18, 2013

          That’s actually not what I do at all, Pat! The names just pop into my head, although I’ve used baby name books for supporting characters. A reverse baby name book is pure gold. Scrivener has a name generator as well, & you can search for names that have specific meanings.

  2. PB Rippey · October 18, 2013

    Ha ha! (that’s big laughter) Okay, you really know your characters, Beth! I think you should send this to the New Yorker immediately.

    • Beth Hull · October 18, 2013

      If only I could transfer that knowledge to their stories a little better, I’d be set!

  3. jamieweilhealthcoach · October 22, 2013

    OMG, Beth–what a concept! Totally see it! Love the way your mind works. Here’s mine:
    Shea: He’s after me–what do I do? He knows I saw him kill her.
    Paige: Big deal. At least your not sitting in a nut house jacked up on crazy pills.
    Shea: You got a point.
    Oooh, let’s have a party and dress up like our protagonists!:)
    You so funny, QS. (And I’m digging your new Spirograph border.)

    • Beth Hull · October 22, 2013

      A protagonist party! I love it! It’s even better if we dress up like an unpublished protagonist, because then we can talk about them. Sounds like a great improv exercise, & might even open up new dimensions in our characters. We should take this act on the road, QS!

      • Beth Hull · October 22, 2013

        PS: Glad you like the border! I wanted to play with the customization feature, & I LOVE color. 🙂

  4. readingisdelicious · October 25, 2013

    Hahaha, this was hilarious. You need to pick some middle names, like M next. You like the extremes. 🙂

    • Beth Hull · October 26, 2013

      My next character’s name starts with N! Hooray!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s