Between a rock and a hard place

I cringed when I read the opening line of the first draft of the new series. She’d named me Biff Steele, as if Rod Manly hadn’t been bad enough in the previous books. But names, however cheesy they may be, are not the worst thing that could happen to me. At least my author does her homework, unlike my best friend’s creator.

My pal, poor guy, has lived a really tough life. Not only does he have a name worse than mine—Rocky Hardplace—his psycho-behind-the-keyboard author lives her fantasies through him—killing, bombing, fighting, shooting, and sex … so much sex. Too much sex. SEX, SEX, SEX. It must be all she ever thinks of, day and night. Well, that and how to solve crimes using the dumb stuff she sees on TV shows. Doesn’t she realize that most of those characters are products of poor research and fantasy?

My writer, thank goodness, understands the huge differences between the written word and the on-screen action seen on TV and film. Live-action stuff quite often needs over the top excitement to capture and hold the attention of a viewing audience. TV watchers see events unfold in vivid color. They hear the excitement pumping throughout their living rooms via high-dollar surround sound systems.

Rocky, if he’s told his writer once he’s told her a thousand times that readers, as opposed to TV and film watchers, must have the means to extract movement and stimulation from carefully planned and plotted mental massagings of each of their senses. They do so from what’s nothing more than a writer’s carefully arranged blots of ink on a page. There are no images within a typical novel; therefore, the writer must somehow use only words made from a mere 26 letters to mold and form detailed pictures inside a reader’s mind.


A pangram is a sentence that contains all 26 letters of the alphabet.

The five boxing wizards jump quickly.


We, Rocky, me, and all the other members of the Fictional Characters Guild, have all traveled throughout the convoluted paths inside the minds of readers. And we know that each person has a different perception of what they read, and that’s because they draw upon their own past experiences. This, sadly, is where Rocky Hardplace’s writer really goofs. She has no experience in the world of cops and robbers, so she, unfortunately for her readers, makes up what should be realistic information, and some of it is totally absurd.

Rocky’s writer, as do many others, often has her hero tromping about his fictional city while doing some pretty ridiculous stuff—shooting a revolver that spews spent brass, knocking out bad guys with nothing more than a tap to the back of the neck, shooting guns from the hands of serial killers, and smelling the odor of cordite at crime scenes. She even forces upon her readers her own wacky-ass notion that FBI agents ride into town on white horses to solve every murder and kidnapping case. Someone really should tell her the FBI does not work local murder cases. That’s not what they do. And don’t get me started on the smell of cordite. Yes, STOP with the cordite already! The stuff hasn’t been around since WWII.

Thankfully, as I said earlier, my author does her homework. She reads books such as Police Procedure and Investigation, and she’s a regular reader of this blog. She also attends the Writers’ Police Academy and its offshoot event, MurderCon

20170106_221254My writer is a fictional hero’s dream author. I rarely ever do stupid stuff in my quest to save my city from crime and corruption (Have you ever noticed how much “stupid stuff” is found in books? I’m thankful that reality isn’t nearly as bad).

My author dresses me nicely. I carry the best guns money can buy. I’m an expert in the martial arts … all of them. My girlfriend is an astronaut. My work partner is smart, but remains at one level below me (my IQ is over the moon). I drive a really cool car. I live in a wonderful beach house. I have a flea-less dog as a best friend. And I have just enough flaws and quirks to keep my fans interested. Yes, my world is perfect.

If I could only convince her to change my name. Biff Steele … yuck.

Could be worse, I suppose. She could’ve written me as … Sergeant Lance Boyle.