REVIEWS: Russell's Reviews Volume One # 11

tem2 gfishbone at
Sun Mar 23 05:56:40 PDT 2008

On Mar 22, 1:44 am, Tom Russell <milos_par... at> wrote:

>    One thing that made SPORKMAN'S dirigible storyline
> more accessible despite the rather sizable supporting
> cast is that the supporting cast was made up of
> characters that most readers are already familiar
> with.  We know who Britney Spears is, and her
> fictional counterpart carries with her the iconic
> weight of what we know and think about her already.
> Freed from the burden of establishing all those facts,
> the author is able to immediately commence with taking
> it into new directions-- directions that are, in this
> case, extremely funny.

There are pros and cons to using celebrity counterparts.  My celebrity-
based characters started off way different from their real life
counterparts because they were conceived of as broad parodies, lived
in a superhero world, and were further limited by my personal
knowledge of their backgrounds and personalities.  They diverged
further over the course of the story because my versions needed to
evolve and change based on life-threatening experiences on a
transatlantic dirigible followed by a prolonged period adrift at sea,
while the real life celebrities had events and (in Britney's case)
traumas that weren't reflected in the story.  If I kept her in the
story much longer, a new reader would be confused about why "my
Britney" is acting so differently from "the real Britney".

>    One of the things that attracted me to Santa Claus
> was his iconic power.  Here's a fictional character
> that, in one form or another, we're all fairly
> familiar with.  Certain aspects of his character and
> his world don't need to be established: we know he's
> impossibly old, that he has a wife, that he flies
> around the world in one night giving presents, that he
> lives at the North Pole.
>    Since all that is already established by the
> reader, I was able to spend more time on the personal
> touches that were more important to me.  Now, I'm not
> sure if I succeeded, exactly-- that Santa Claus story
> is crying out for me to rewrite it, in some places
> drastically-- but if I had to painstakingly establish
> a pudgy immortal philanthropist and his legions of
> elves, the end result would have been messy, perhaps
> even unbelievable.  If a reader was able to buy into
> at all, it's because they've bought into it before.

Heh.  I need to dig up my Preteen Patrol Christmas Special in which
Spoongirl interrogates Santa for information.


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