“A Conversation with Ray Bradbury”

tell me a story
“A Conversation with Ray Bradbury”
Post Thursday 21st August 2014

Marvelous words from the heart & mind of Ray Bradbury. A Dreamer. A Reader. A Thinker.   A Librarian. A Writer.

You Become the Authors Who Write the Books. Listen As You Read. You Become Emily Dickinson. You Become Ernest Hemingway. You Become Shakespeare. How Great Would That Feel.

Get Inside of the Words the Author Chose Particularly For Just This Moment In Time. Quite Often Different For Everyone. Learn About Books.

Reading Can Give You A Great Education.

Bradbury Wrote “Fahrenheit 451″  A Book Every Person Needs To Read.

Be the Book. Be the Words. Be Aware. Be Informed.

Do You Know What Fahrenheit 451 Actually Is? Or What the Book Is About? Great Ending. You Don’t See It Coming.

“You Don’t Know What You Are Because You Are In Love.” A Book Can Make You Feel In Love Or Many Other Different Ways.

Books Are Smart & Brilliant & Wise.

A Must To Listen To. If You Love Imagination & Free Thinking You Will Fall In Love With Ray Bradbury. He Is Deeply Divine.

And In My Judgment – Quite Zen. Ommmmmmmm. – Jennifer Kiley

“A Conversation with Ray Bradbury” by Lawrence Bridges

Editor’s Corner 101.37: All Good Things….

shawn mackenzie's editor's corner day monday
Editor’s Corner 101.37
All Good Things….
Written by Shawn MacKenzie
Originally Posted on MacKenzie’s Dragonsnest in 2013

Reposted on ‘the secret keeper’
Monday 3rd February 2014

101.37

All Good Things….

There’s a trick to the ‘graceful exit.’
It begins with the vision to recognize when a job,
a life stage, or a relationship is over — and let it go.
…Ellen Goodman

Scribe smallStories, films, lives – all things come to a close. Sometimes neatly, sometimes not. And so, after nine months, I am bringing the Editor’s Corner to what I hope is a neat and graceful end.

Over the past thirty-seven weeks, we have covered topic both minute and sweeping, and yet, in the end, I find it fitting to return to the beginning. To our words.

I originally wrote the following back in March of this year as a guest piece for Karen Sanderson’s blog. I now amend, update, and present it to you as my parting thoughts. My thanks to Niamh and Plum Tree for this forum, and to all who have traveled with me on this writer’s journey. Enjoy.

P1010342

You Are Your Words

We humans are creatures of custom. It frames our existence and structures our lives. In the course of my daily custom, once I begin to feel the dream-webs lift from my mind, I brew a fresh pot of tea, play with the kittens, and allow my thoughts to mosey along paths both cosmological and mundane, reasoned and stochastic. The other day, I started thinking about words.

Magical, mystical, wickedly creative, oh, the glorious power of words and we who wield them.

“In the beginning was the Word…and the Word was God.”

This is not just a Judeo-Christian notion. The Popol Vuh – Mayan Book of Creation – speaks of how Sovereign Plumed Serpent (who later became Quetzlcoatl) and Heart of Sky came together at the beginning of time:

“…And then came his [Heart of Sky’s] word, he came to Sovereign Plumed Serpent, here in the blackness, in the early dawn…. they joined their words, their thoughts….And then the earth arose because of them, it was simply their word that brought it forth….”

Quetzlcoatl - Vampire Princess

Quetzlcoatl by Vampire Princess

Now this notion (naturally) draws me down a whimsically syllogistic rabbit hole: The Word is divine; the divine create with words. Writers create with words; writers are divine.

Hey, makes sense to me.

Ok, we writers may not be divine, but we do cloak ourselves in Creator’s motley as comfortably as jeans and broadcloth. Mind blowing for gods to shape the universe in the round of a word, yet that’s what we do every day. Out of the chaos of random thought, the void of the blank page, we create whole worlds and the beings who live in them. Earthsea, Darkover, Yoknapatawpha County, OZ and East Egg, Wonderland and Wessex – the list of literary terrae nova are legion. Even places we think we know, like Richard Wright’s Chicago or Edith Wharton’s New York, are, in authorial hands, transformed into alien landscapes ripe for exploration.

Wizard of Earthsea - Torture Device

Wizard of Earthsea by Torture Device

And so we string one word after another, counting our hours from phrase to sentence to paragraph to tome. We weave tales of myth and wonder and supernal genesis. For words are creative. With them we name things and by naming them bring them into being. They are active, breathing life into those named things, making them romp and fly and do handsprings through the treetops. They are descriptive, coloring and shaping the world that it might be recognized and marveled at in all its beauty and strangeness. And that is without even touching upon the mind and heart, the emotional power of words. The power that reaches out across our inherent aloneness and makes people feel and think and remember, even change their lives. For words are lash and cradle, warming spark and unholy conflagration. They heal and nurture, wound and kill.

Complex stuff. God stuff.

Sue Blackwell book sculpture

Sue Blackwell book sculpture

Which brings me to a story. More memoir than fancy (though there are tangential Dragons); just a little something I thought I’d share.

Two years ago, my book, The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook, was making its way into print. In anticipation of this event, my publisher invited me to the Book Expo of America in New York. Sign some ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies), generate book buzz, and spend two days in Gotham with all stripe of book folk – authors, publishers, agents, librarians. Commercialism be damned, for a writer, what could be more delicious?

Not to mention the swag!

A convention neophyte, I was quite unprepared for the booty laid out like Smaug’s hoard, just there for the taking. From simple promotional bookmarks and house totes, to signed copies of the year’s (hopefully) hottest titles, one was limited only by one’s interests, greed, and in the case of acquiring a major author’s John (or Jane) Hancock, no small amount of stamina. Even though I was hobbling about on a broken leg at the time, I returned home with several bags – now weekly filled with groceries – and a far from shabby passel of books. For all that, my favorite BEA keepsake was from the folks at the American Heritage Dictionary of English Language: a modest white 6” x 4” oval magnet, adorned in black Arial with the deceptively simple gnome: You Are Your Words.

URYourWords

Every morning since, I rub the sleep from my eyes and focus on this reminder of how I am defined by the words in my life. They are my tools, my paint and canvas, soil and seeds. I shape them, play with them, with luck make them croon like an armadillo and pirouette on the wings of a damselfly. They represent me to the world, my ideas and dreams. Whether tripping across page or tongue, they have consequences, so I must choose them with care. They are my children sent into the world, and I am responsible for them, in all their beauty or ugliness.

I am my words; my words are me.

As logophile, whimsical scribe, exacting editor, wielder of words.

As a writer.

I give you my word.

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Happy Holidays, my friends.
Write well.

The Last Edition of the Editor’s Corner To Go To the Archives Click On the Highlighted “Editor’s Corner”

Editor’s Corner 101.34 — Brass Tacks in a Box of Paper Clips

shawn mackenzie's editor's corner day monday
Editor’s Corner 101.34 — Brass Tacks in a Box of Paper Clips
Written by Shawn MacKenzie
Originally Posted on MacKenzie’s Dragonsnest

Reposted on ‘the secret keeper’
Reposted on Monday 13th January 2014

101.34
Brass Tacks in a Box of Paper Clips

Trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle.
― Michelangelo Buonarroti

Scribe smallA 14th-century traveler parks his camel on the banks of the Euphrates. The water is wide and easy and teeming with fish. But what sort? Would our traveler use a line or a net – perhaps his bare hands? How would he cook his catch? Does it matter?

The short answer is, “Yes!”

Euphrates

Euphrates

As storytellers, we laud our ability to build worlds whole and breathe life into pen-and-ink characters. We ask our readers to believe at times the most extraordinary things. For this to work, we have to remember that stranger our tales, the more they must be grounded in something familiar.

I write fantasy. I dance around dragons and unicorns, kitsune and mystical yeti crabs. I explore unknown planets and long-forgotten civilizations. Nothing pleases me more than when people say they believe my Dragons are real, when they can imagine walking through Dragon Country and being surprised and delighted by the scaly habitants. While some of this comes from my personal conviction about Dragons, that alone would fall flat if not backed up by plausible science, history, and cultural anthropology.

River time

In other words, even our most imaginative fictions – especially our most imaginative fictions – must have an intimate relationship with facts. And establishing that relationship demands research.

This is not always easy. Even in the Internet age, when libraries and museums from every corner of the world are literally at our fingertips, getting details about time and place, costume and manner, spot on can be harder than one might think. Right now, I have been pulling my hair trying to solve the question of that 14th-century angler. As an editor of crossword puzzles, I pride myself on being able to research anything, but this has been giving me fits.

r_01_____________________________________________t400

True, I can always go generic. A nice fish grilled over an open fire whets the appetite regardless of species. And, for a while, I was so discouraged about the lack of available information, I seriously thought about going that route. Then, this afternoon (Monday afternoon), I had one of those marvelous “Eureka!” moments that elicited an audible sigh of relief from my near-tonsured pate.

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In the midst of lists of species names (in Latin, of course), cultural and environmental histories, and free-association googling, I came across a wonderful story about the sacred carp of the Euphrates, a barbel fish not only revered but also known to grant wishes! I had discovered an indigenous fish both tasty and full of fanciful possibilities. For my purposes it was perfect.

As helpful as this was to me, carp or bluegill, the point I am trying to make in my round about way, is that you don’t have polar bears chasing Robert Falcon Scott across the Ross Ice Shelf or have your heroine catch a train from Kings Cross to St. Ives. Eros – Anteros, to some – looks down on Piccadilly Circus,

eros

and, as Bohemian as Montmartre is, it’s actually on the Right Bank of the Seine, not the Left. (The stepped hills are a dead giveaway.)

Terrace-of-a-Cafe-on-Montmartre-(La-Guinguette)

Little things in a story’s bigger picture, but the sort of things which give veracity, especially when dealing with actual places, events, and/or people. And veracity makes people believe. The last thing you want is to ruin the spell of your story by a nagging error of fact. It would be as bad as if a Rolex flashed from Chuck Heston’s wrist as he chased Stephen Boyd around the hippodrome.

BEN HUR

So, put in the time, do the research, and double check Wikipedia with an independent source. In the end, even if you have such a superfluity of information that you bury most of it in your personal notes, it will still infuse your prose. It will still matter.

Dissection

Editor’s Corner 101.33 — But What Happens?

shawn mackenzie's editor's corner day monday
Editor’s Corner 101.33
But What Happens?
Originally Posted by Shawn MacKenzie
On MacKenzie’s Dragonsnest 22nd October 2013

View Past Issues at MacKenzie’s Dragonsnest Archive

Reposted on ‘the secret keeper
Monday 6th January 2014

But What Happens?

Story is honorable and trustworthy;
plot is shifty, and best kept under house arrest.
― Stephen King

Dragon ScribeLast week my writers’ group happened to coincide with Halloween, and whether it was the holiday or the fact that it was unseasonably warm and pouring, our little intrepid band was remarkably light on pages. OK, truthfully, they were nonexistent. Hey, shit happens, right? So we spent a couple of hours talking – always a pleasure with intelligent, creative people – about politics, films, and, of course, the books on our respective nightstands and kindles. I’d just finished reading an extraordinary collection of short stories, “The Witch and Other Stories,” by one of my favorite writers, Anton Chekhov.

chekhov

One of my fellows asked, “What are they about?”

A proper question – the sort of thing we writers have to answer every time we craft a query/cover letter or get button-holed in a conference elevator – but one which often gives me fits. More and more, we seem to live in a literal and literary worlds where something has to happen every page, paragraph, even line. Stillness, reflection, these are strains we seldom allow our turn-pagers. (You can imagine my delight when Alice Munro got the Nobel this year – a testament to the power of stillness.)

Uncle Vanya

Uncle Vanya

I thought for a moment and gleefully – must be my Russian blood – couldn’t come up with an answer. Chekhov and plot have always had a tangential relationship. His plays – The Cherry Orchard, Uncle Vanya, The Seagull – are two-hour explorations of life, love, and survival. Disarmingly simple.

The good doctor’s stories are the same, even more so. People come together, move apart, and in between, they survive as best they can. What happens? Life.

In our high-octane world that demands action every five minutes, is that enough? Absolutely.

Macbeth - the whole plot in a handful of witchy lines.

Macbeth – the whole plot in a handful of witchy lines.

Of course some will say that low-action stories are best left to “literary” fiction. And, from a publishing perspective there is some truth to that. After all, a mystery is about solving a crime; a romance is about winning and losing love, and most fantasy books these days are 600 pages of swords, sorcery, and noble quests.

Every agent or publisher will insist you have to be able to sell your story, to distill the plot into 50 words or less. Better yet, into one sentence. But what does that really convey? Moby-Dick is about a guy obsessed with killing the whale that cost him his leg. Right?

moby_dick_book_sculpture_by_wetcanvas-d5v6yll

We all need ‘plot’ but in the end, it is just the skeleton of the work – the connect-the-dots image begging for lines to give it form. In the end it is not the ‘what’ of a telling, it is the ‘how.’ It is not the distance of the journey, it is the people you meet along the way. It is the words.

“Remember,” Ray Bradbury wisely wrote, “Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations. Plot is observed after the fact rather than before. It cannot precede action. It is the chart that remains when an action is through. That is all Plot ever should be. It is human desire let run, running, and reaching a goal. It cannot be mechanical. It can only be dynamic. So, stand aside, forget targets, let the characters, your fingers, body, blood, and heart do.”

badger-footprints

Editor’s Corner 101.31 — Heroes Large – Heroes Small

shawn mackenzie's editor's corner day monday
Editor’s Corner 101.31
Heroes Large – Heroes Small
Originally Posted by Shawn MacKenzie

On MacKenzie’s Dragonsnest 15th October 2013
View Past Issues at MacKenzie’s Dragonsnest Archive

Reposted on ‘the secret keeper
Monday 23rd December 2013

Heroes Large – Heroes Small

No, what he didn’t like about heroes was that they were usually suicidally gloomy when sober and homicidally insane when drunk.
…Terry Pratchett

Scribe smallNo matter how hard we might try – and believe me I do – we cannot avoid protagonists – our literary heroes, male or female.

Truth is, I’m not too keen on heroes, per se. They are essential but really, what can you say? Your hero is your main character, the person whose story you are telling. Simple. They are characters sometimes more acted upon than acting, but always real enough that we cheer when they triumph and shed a tear when they die. We willingly, eagerly invest hours of precious time – oh, how precious our time is these days! – in their lives, following them wherever their journeys lead.

This 3-D imaging is the essence of the writer’s craft; we have explored it before – most recently in the past couple of weeks when I discussed minor characters and villains. (If you want to learn more, read Joseph Campbell’s brilliant The Hero With a Thousand Faces or the more writer-friendly take on it, Christopher Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey – you couldn’t ask for better guides along the heroic arc.)

campbell2

Today I want to look at things in a slightly different way. I want to talk about the changing face of our literary heroes.

In the old days of dichromatic storytelling, heroes, like their villainous counterparts, were characters of extremes. They were always virtuous, noble, and brave, intelligent but not cunning (too many sinister connotations to that word), willing to take responsibility for their actions and, if needs be, sacrifice themselves for the greater good. They were aspirational – the sort of people upon whom we pinned all our best hopes, convinced that they could not only bear them, but soar under their weight.

1amwords_hero

Yes, they had their flaws, usually picked from amongst the cardinal sins. Hubris was a big one with the Greeks (Oedipus, Cadmus, just about every major player in the Iliad and Odyssey). Also big in the ancient Epic of Gilgamesh and the Mahabharata. In the latter, the Pandava and the Kaurava are both exceedingly proud, but the Pandava are the heroes because they learn from their weakness and are humbled; the Kaurava remain proud to the end).

mahabharata_vittorio_mezzogiorno_peter_brook_010_jpg_uhei

Love – or its extremes, jealousy and lust – is another common flaw (Lancelot, Orlando); and greed (Bilbo Baggins). For a classic protagonist, what counts is not that they are flawed, but that they learn about themselves, their weaknesses, and triumph despite them. This introspection and growth is as important, if not more so, as the slaying of any rampaging legion of orcs. (No slaying Dragons here!)

These are our neat heroes, the ones who come through with every hair in place and nary a speck of blood on their crisp white shirt (or burnished armor).

Galahad-L

But the modern world is as messy for heroes as it is for villains. Such pristine white hats no longer resonate as they once did.

As with villains, I believe the sea change for protagonists came with Shakespeare. Hamlet, Prospero, Titus Andronicus, Lear, Cleopatra, Isabella, Richard II…. Complicated characters who, while protagonists, are not always aspirational. Shakespeare allowed his main characters to straddle the line between good and evil. They could be cruel and petty, indecisive and vengeful.

titus

Titus Andronicus

They were, to my thinking, among our first literary antiheroes – the predecessors of Heathcliff and Emma Bovary, Holden Caulfield and Lisbeth Salander.

mara-rooney-the-girl-with-the-dragon-tattoo

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

But can we take this too far? In our effort to find relatable, sympathetic protagonists, have we made them too much like ourselves, and in the process, lost something vital? Today, just doing the right thing – standing up against bullies or bigotry, calling 911 for a stranger in trouble – qualifies you for a medal, even sainthood. Our heroes, like ourselves, are diminished. Not that we shouldn’t say “thank you” to every good Samaritan or person of conscience out there – but are they worthy of novel treatment?

Yes, we are all heroes in our own life stories, but fiction – even the most intimate fiction (like the stories of recent Nobelist Alice Munro) – is not life. It is, if not bigger, then certainly more concentrated. Our protagonists have to rise to the challenge, to satisfy that aspect of our natures that craves heroes ten-feet tall.

Protagonists - Gleeson

Protagonists – Gleeson

Some will say that is what genre books are for – fantasy and mystery and horror, that they are the new home to classic protagonists. Within their pages we get reluctant everymen and women thrust into being more than they ever imagined possible. They transform from being “us” to being what we can only dream of being and, as we tag along or the vicarious ride, we get our requisite dose of clean, aspirational heroism.

Can we strike a balance between these classic (genre) heroes and everyday mensch (literary) protagonists? Perhaps. But first we must find that balance in ourselves. And remember that the hallmark of a protagonist is not leaping tall buildings or bringing peace to the Universe. It is seeing change up ahead and choosing to embrace it. It is riding the wings of the Dragon when everyone else demands you thrust a blade through her heart.

Weyrworld - Pern Dragonriders

Weyrworld – Pern Dragonriders

The real hero is always a hero by mistake; he dreams of
being an honest coward like everybody else.
…Umberto Eco

Editor’s Corner 101.30 — Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner – Loving Our Villains

shawn mackenzie's editor's corner day monday
Editor’s Corner 101.30
Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner – Loving Our Villains
Originally Posted by Shawn MacKenzie

On MacKenzie’s Dragonsnest 8th October 2013
View Past Issues at MacKenzie’s Dragonsnest Archive

Reposted on ‘the secret keeper
Monday 16th December 2013

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner – Loving Our Villains.

You learn eventually that, while there are no villains, there are no heroes either.
And until you make the final discovery that there are only human beings, who are therefore all the more fascinating, you are liable to miss something.
― Paul Gallico

Scribe smallOnce upon a time – at least according to popular culture – the world was a simpler place. There were white hats and black hats and we walked through life with the certain belief that, no matter how grim things got, good would emerge victorious in the end. It is a comfortable worldview, littered with archetypes and stereotypes. We need not look too deep within ourselves to know who merits cheers, who boos.

summer-movie-villains-LR59I20-x-large

Empirically speaking, of course – and taking absolute nutters like Caligula out of the equation – villainy – and heroism – are much more situational qualities. Napoleon or Nelson, Pizarro or Atahualpa, Saladin or Richard I. Each has their supporters and detractors, with the balance tipped by the passage of years and history’s shifting tide. As Ian Fleming – a man who knew a good bad guy when he penned one – wrote, “History is moving pretty quickly these days and the heroes and villains keep on changing parts.” [Casino Royal] True-life villains are characters of passion and action, with the sort of laser conviction that makes them heroes in their own minds and those of their minions. (One has only to look at the current American shame, aka the Republican Party, to see this playing out in real time.)

Goneril_and_Regan_from_King_Lear

The best literary villains – nutters still excepted – have always been closer to this real-life model than to two-dimensional mustache-twirling brutes or murderous harridans. Shakespeare’s legion of dark characters (Macbeth, Richard III, Goneril, Tamora, Claudius, et al), Marlowe’s Barabas, Hugo’s Javert and Claude Frollo, Quilp, Moriarty, the list is long and colorful. A complicated age requires complicated characters; modern audiences demand more layered, multifaceted antagonists, people who flirt with the shadows, one foot in light, one in dark.Charles_Buchel_Sir_Herbert_Beerbohm_Tree_as_Shakespeare_s_Shylock moby-dick

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It is from this ambiguity that we get characters who, though considered villains by previous generations, might be now seen as sympathetic, occasionally even heroic. Shylock, Dracula, Captain Nemo, Moby-Dick, even Milton’s Lucifer, each are characters with complicated pasts, complicated motives. Personally, I cheer for them all, cheated, abused, betrayed – human – as they are. Gregory Maguire (“Wicked,” “Confessions of a Ugly Stepsister”) has taken this one step further and made a career out of turning tales on their heads and showing us just how heroic some famous villains are. All depends on who is telling the story.

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(It being the Month of the Dragon, I would be remiss not to at least mention one of the most maligned “villains” of all time: Dragons. Smaug, Fafnir, Smok, Beowulf’s Dragon, all are literary black-hats who, in actuality, are simply guarding their homes and property, avenging past wrongs, in short, defending themselves from those who, by virtue of comely looks and Homo sapien “superiority,” believed they had the right to take what they wanted, when they wanted and where. Dragons are different and what is different is easily feared and vilified.)

smaug-eye-feature

What is the role of an antagonist in an increasingly grey literary landscape? And how do we make them memorable? Your antagonist is the one who drives your story. They compel the protagonist into action, give them someone to rise against and outshine, to save the kingdom or rescue the lost. Without villains, our heroes would just be sitting at home, enjoying their boring lives. Villains make heroes great.

white-witch-and-the-chronicles-of-narnia-the-lion-the-witch-and-the-wardrobe-gallery

To make them memorable, we must write characters we like. Their hearts may be cold as Pluto’s core, but you, the author, have to like them. You want to write villains you’d enjoy inviting over diner (just be sure to lock up any stray firearms and hide the silver). You want people who not only have an interesting take on their world but who, despite their ethical flaws, can also be understood. As much as we might enjoy the occasional larger-than-life monster threatening cosmic devastation, the best antagonists are simply people who, when confronted with crucial choices, opt for the more sinister path. The more heinous a character’s actions, the more they need some spark deep in their background that holds the possibility of being just like us.

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As their creators, we have to recognize this and tread joyfully in their shoes. Then, in inky Stetson or raspberry beret, our antagonists will be memorable and alive.

You can catch up on past posts in the Editor’s Corner Archive. Enjoy.

Editor’s Corner 101.29 — All Characters, Great and Small

shawn mackenzie's editor's corner day monday

Editor’s Corner 101.29
All Characters, Great and Small
Originally Posted by Shawn MacKenzie
On MacKenzie’s Dragonsnest 8th October 2013

View Past Issues at MacKenzie’s Dragonsnest Archive

Reposted on ‘the secret keeper
Monday 9th December 2013

All Characters, Great and Small.

Outside books, we avoid colorful characters.
…Mason Cooley

Scribe smallCharacters drive fiction. As Faulkner said, we create them, then “just run along after them and put down what they say and do.”

Today I thought to talk not about heroes and villains – the archetypes that form the moral (or immoral) heart of a tale – but about the supporting and cameo players who are like diamond chips, reflecting all about them.

More than short stories, novels lend themselves to these flashes of light and color. The scope of a novel, even if not epic, almost demands supernumeraries as flesh upon bones. Think of the multitudes inhabiting Shakespeare, Dickens, Hugo, Austen, and Twain – each so alive you could pick them out in Grand Central Station at rush hour.dickens

“Hamlet”’s gravedigger, the porter in “Macbeth,” Bumble the Beadle, Wilkins Micawber, Mr. and Mrs. Palmer, Azelma Threnardier, Sid Sawyer, Mrs. Loftus – you could populate a kingdom with them and never be bored. (Some might say that Huck Finn was a minor character in Tom Sawyer but so full of life that he just demanded his own story.)

So how is it that, in a line or turn of phrase, the reader knows these characters like a member of their own family? They are not simple place holders. They are blood and sinew imbued with humor, malice, courage and pathos, and each, in their small way, moves the story forward. If there is a trick to this it is in treating them with the same deference we do our heroes and villains. Don’t make them cardboard cutouts or stereotypes. Give them histories, kids, exes, quirks and foibles.

minor characters

Does the reader need to know all this? No, but we do. And when we do, when we see the cabby or the neighbor or the goblin in a teller’s cage at Gringotts clearly, then we can pick one or two of those specifics, bring them to the fore and we’re suddenly dealing with individuals. Remember Mustardseed is not Moth; and Isis and Charmian may both be handmaids but they are not pod people.

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No matter how long such characters are on the page, they will live and breathe. They will get big movie stars clambering to play them on film.

They will be remembered.

This is a work of fiction. All the characters in it, human and otherwise, are imaginary, excepting only certain of the fairy folk, whom it might be unwise to offend by casting doubts on their existence. Or lack thereof.
…Neil Gaiman

Frances and the fairies