If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.


Our reason for creating WWK originated as an outlet for our love of reading and writing mystery fiction. We hope you love it, too, and will enjoy our holiday gifts to our readers with original short stories to celebrate the season. Starting on 11/16 stories by Warren Bull, Margaret S. Hamilton, Paula Gail Benson, Linda Rodriguez, KM Rockwood, Gloria Alden, and E. B. Davis will appear every Thursday into the New Year.


Our November Author Interviews: 11/8--Ellen Byron, and 11/15--Sujata Massey. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.


November Saturday Bloggers: 11/4 Margaret S. Hamilton and 11/11 Cheryl Hollon.


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.


In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," just published, will appear in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

What's Up, Doc?

Over the holidays, my sister-in-law played a podcast of an interview about Mel Blanc for our family. You may remember this man as the voice of many well-known cartoon characters such as Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Barney Rubble, Daffy Duck and, by some estimates, over one thousand other voices.

In January of 1961, he had a horrible head-on collision in Los Angeles while driving on “dead man’s curve” on Sunset Blvd. He was in a coma for two weeks at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. His family and doctors spoke to him but received no response.

One day a young intern, Louis Conway, asked Mel Blanc, “Bugs Bunny, how are you doing today?

Blanc immediately replied, “Eh, what’s up doc?”

The astonished doctor then asked to speak to Daffy Duck, Porky Pig and a number of other characters. Blanc responded in each voice then began talking in his own voice and eventually came out of his coma. The doctor later told a reporter that it seemed like Bugs Bunny was trying to save his life. Talk about breathing life into a character!

A psychologist who was interviewed about the case on the podcast said Mel Blanc’s higher brain function was injured while the characters were kept in the uninjured lower function. That’s the medical answer, but as a writer I’m not sure that’s all there is to it. Some of us have had the unusual experience of characters with minds of their own. They may behave in a different ways than planned and, for instance, refuse to be the murderer and instead become the hero.

This story made me consider my characters and how to bring them to life. I’ve used different techniques over the years that I learned in writing classes and in online discussion groups but I’m always looking for new ideas. Here are some of my favorites:

·         Create in-depth character profiles detailing characters’ habits, fears, opinions, strengths, weaknesses, values, life ambitions and so forth.

·         Talk with my characters. For instance, when I’m stuck writing a scene, I pretend my character is sitting across from me and I ask what to do next. Also, I might interview a character about her life and experiences.

·         Use enneagrams to create a character. An enneagram is a diagram that lists nine personality types such as achiever, helper, etc. Using the nine-sided star diagram, it’s easy to see how one personality type plays off another and how they might conflict.

Back to the family discussion… In an interesting twist, while we were talking about Mel Blanc and his injury, my mother-in-law said, “I remember that.” At first we thought she recalled the incident from media reports. It turned out she was one of Mel Blanc’s nurses while he was in the hospital. She told us that as a young nurse recently relocated from Quebec, French was her first language and she was still learning English. One day Mel Blanc asked her to bring his briefcase. She didn’t understand the word and looked around the room for a tiny box. They both joked about the misunderstanding and after that he referred to her as “briefcase girl”.

That’s All Folks!

Got any good stories about characters to share?

13 comments:

Paula Gail Benson said...

Kara, I agree. There is a unique relationship between characters and their creators. Thanks for sharing this remarkable experience and your family's connection.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Kara,

What fascinating family connections.

I have had characters morph on me, but since I am a pantser in my writing, that is not surprising—in fact I suspect I am almost begging them to tell me who they want to be rather than casting their life in stone before I start writing about them.

~ Jim

Kara Cerise said...

Paula, the family connection was a surprise to me. I had heard that everyone is only six steps away from any other person in the world (six degrees of separation). But I think it's more like three or four steps.

Kara Cerise said...

Interesting insight about characters morphing and being a panster, Jim. I had one character go rogue and refuse to be the murderer. It forced me to be creative and, I think, made the story more interesting.

Gloria Alden said...

Fascinating blog, Kara, especially the family connection.

I'm a panster like, Jim, and I find my characters grow and change almost on their own. Sometimes what was meant to be a minor character becomes far more than I planned.

Kara Cerise said...

Gloria, I've read that some authors create special series for their minor characters when they begin to upstage the protagonist!

Warren Bull said...

Characters can grow larger than their creators. That's when authors attempt to kill them off, with very mixed results.

E. B. Davis said...

Poor Elmo--caught in a sex scandal--and he looked so innocent!

Kara Cerise said...

Warren, I'd like to learn more about characters who become so large they have to be killed off. Perhaps it's a fine line between writing a larger than life character and one that takes over? Now, I'm curious.

Kara Cerise said...

Thanks for the smile, E.B. Elmo really was a character gone wild!

Yolanda Renee said...

What a lovely story, thanks for sharing, and who doesn't know those characters.

Kara Cerise said...

Thank you, Yolanda. It's amazing that one person could be the voice of so many cartoon characters!

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