Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bloggerific: JOYCE PAULL LANSKY--Finding Your Trademark Character

Kurt Vonnegut introduced us to Diana Moon Glampers—the ugliest, stupidest, and meanest women on Earth—who often made cameo appearances in several of his novels. In “God Bless You Mr. Rosewater,” Vonnegut writes:
The client who was about to make Eliot's black telephone ring was a sixty-eight-year-old virgin who, by almost anybody's standards, was too dumb to live. Her name was Diana Moon Glampers. No one had ever loved her. There was no reason why anyone should. She was ugly, stupid, and boring. On the rare occasions when she had to introduce herself, she always said her full name, and followed that with the mystifying equation that had thrust her into life so pointlessly:

"My mother was a Moon. My father was a Glampers."

My favorite role of Diana’s was as the button pushing general who would scramble the thoughts of intelligent people by causing plane wreck noises in their ears. If you’ve never read Vonnegut’s short story, “Harrison Bergeron,” check it out.

Although I’m no Kurt Vonnegut, I do have a character—or rather a group of characters—who will often make appearances in my books. I’m referring to my fictitious, metallic rock band, Leaf Jet 8. This group acquired their name by me randomly tapping computer keys then shuffling the letters around for a name that grabbed me. I’ve found success with this technique many times.

I delight in putting the band into each of my books, whether it’s something as mild as a song on the radio or as the main character’s girlfriend’s infatuation making her run off with lead singer Dallas Quinton. I’ve also had a good old time making up song titles to fit various scenes. Among the band’s greatest hits is Jenna’s Jugular, which was named after the lead singer’s ex-girlfriend Jenna who dumped him for a woman. Other hits include The Hellivator and Hold Up Baby.

Leaf Jet 8 may never make it onto a real stage, but they provide hours of entertainment as I enjoy cameo appearances coming to a radio near you. So what repeatedly pops into each of your stories?


Catch My Words is the blog of Joyce Paull Lansky, where she talks about her thoughts on writing and life. Stop by and have a read, it is definitely worth following!


  1. In mine there is always this one toothed old man LOL. He always has a different name (or now name) but he is there. I think it's because my Uncle used to have only one tooth and he pretty much raised me. Great blog post :)

  2. Thank you Joyce! You're great for doing this!
    I don't have a trademark character. I do, however, like to bring old characters back in newer stories. Not big appearances but a mention here and there. In my story Loving Lovalie, Alex and June from YFAD can be spotted leaving a concert. In Say Never, Dahlia Moon from SH is a friend of the mc. I like to think that all my characters live in this great litle world I've created. So of course they'd run into each other esvery now and then. Though I try not to be obvious. It will only be noticeable to readers who are really really paying attention.
    Great blog and something that got me thinking here. Hope to see you again in the future!

  3. I like the idea of having a trademark character. It would be neat to have one that pops up all the time, especially if the readers really like him/her/them. Very good post! This has given me something to think about :D

  4. I've noticed in a few of my fave author's books that certain characters appear again and again. It's nice. Like seeing an old friend after a long time. :) Great blog post Joyce!

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