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Stalking Marnie

Greetings to my new readers. Before we begin, I offer you the following pro-tip: Zombies can’t crouch, and they’re piss-poor climbers. How do I know this? I have bad knees. But AJ, what the crap does that have to do with zombies, you ask? Follow my logic: zombies are reanimated dead people. I am alive. Therefore, no matter how bad my knees are, they must be better than dead knees, no? Humour me, or rub this Ben Gay clockwise on my kneecaps. Choose wisely, my friends.

Point of View: First Person

As the author of a deeply-flawed protagonist, I’m compelled to dig pretty deep into the crudpuddle of humanity to get my head around some of her knee-jerk reactions. Many writers will tell you, sometimes a character shocks the hell out of  her author. My main character, Marnie Baranuik, is an ex-pro psychic,cookie addict and the reluctant guardian of a fussypants vampire. She’s more Mr. Magoo than MacGyver, is under no illusions about it and makes no apologies for it. I try to make her more heroic, I really do, but it never feels right. And bihourly (or, on a day when I’ve indulged my vein-shuddering need for 13 X-large Tim Hortons teas and a 6-pack of Apple Fritters, on an every-other-minute basis) she manages to make me choke a little on my tongue. 

(Side-note: wondering for the first time if there’s a measurable relationship between author’s caffeine intake and character’s use of the word “fuckspigot”. Will investigate presently.)

I’ll sit down to write a triumphant scene of her kicking evil in the gonads, and mentally will tell this character: “OK, Marnie, bust that shit open and drop his ass!” But by the time I’m done the scene, she’s managed a brief, screaming trip down a hill on a stolen motorcycle and executed a textbook face-plant into a hedge. The bad guy is dead, but only because she accidentally plowed through him. She did have a fist-fight. It was with a shrub. This does not in any way resemble the mission I sent her on. 

After a nerd-raging author tantrum (which may or may not involve a dutiful slap across my own face), I reread, struck silent in awe: once again, my character has expressly disobeyed my direct orders and power-slid toward self-destruction. How? How did this happen? More troubling, how did this happen without my permission? If someone started a dead pool on the likelihood of my character biting the big one, I’d be able to participate, having no prior information of nor control over her misadventures.

(Side-note: wondering now if there’s a measurable relationship between the degree of free reign Marnie has in these stories and the size of the drooling hole in my brain.)

Friends who have beta-read my first/third/eight hundredth drafts of Touched, Book One of the Marnie Baranuik Chronicles will tell me “uh, that’s so you” (kindly imagine if you will their grand rolling of eyeballs; they are disgusted by my failed attempts at coolness). I’m blown away, because while Marnie is geek-smart and funny, like yours truly *cough*, her personality is often horrible, horrible! This makes me wonder, if I’m as crass and avoidant as Marnie, why are these people my friends? How do they put up with me? Guess I’m not the only fan of jerks.

It also leads me to wonder, if Marnie is some form of me … do I secretly want to go kamikaze on a Kawasaki, get drop-kicked by little old ladies and pelt down a dark road pursued by a zombie dentist with a dick-hole in his chimp suit, punting aside the defiled husk that was my pride?

Actually, who doesn’t? That’s kooky talk.  

(Author’s note: AJ Aalto is currently seeking agent representation for Touched, Book One of the Marnie Baranuik Chronicles, while completing the first draft of her second novel, Death Rejoices, Book Two of the same. She may also be standing in front of her bathroom mirror, snort-giggling at exploratory homemade zombie noises, like all horror writers are wont to do.)

(UPDATE: AJ Aalto is no longer seeking agent representation, as the novel ~Touched~ was launched in eBook format in September of 2011. http://amzn.to/pR0ifw )

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One Response to Stalking Marnie

  1. I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to see a nice blog like this one these days..

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