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Take THAT, Bitch!

September 20, 2010

When I organized the schedule for this quarter I had a slew of great topics to choose from thanks to the talented George. He came up with a page full, and this one really called out to me. Of course I slotted it for one of my weeks because after all, I could. 😉

Six years ago, when I first moved back to Virginia, I joined the PTA at my daughter’s pre-school and took a position on the board. There was this petite, curly-haired blonde woman running the whole she-bang, who I can honestly say I hated. Hate is a pretty strong word in my book and I wholeheartedly meant it in regards to her.

She drove me, and many other PTA board members and volunteers, insane that year. I honestly had to hold back from running her over with my car if I saw her in the parking lot – damn the onlookers! Her toddler holding her hand was the only thing to save her.

The anger and frustration I felt dealing with this woman has since left me gun-shy about getting involved in any PTA again. Oh, and I’ve been asked, bombarded and cajoled many, many times since that year. I have some friends involved this year with the public school and I am tempted, but I have to say no until I get healthy (and I’d have to convince Pete, which might sink my chances).

I took great pleasure in crafting my nemesis into an antagonistic role for the heroine in the second book in my series. Only one or two people who’ve read my book even know of my relationship with this domineering shrew of a woman, and so far, only my husband has read the beginning of the second book and saw the name I altered to fit this character. He laughed his ass off.

This is the same man who begged me to quit the PTA when he saw how distressed I was associating with this woman month in and month out. But I refused to let anyone force me out. I stuck out the whole year. I earned a bunch of money for the school as the fundraising chair and I politely refused to ever be a part of the PTA again, even when the woman never came back to the school with her kids the following years. She had made so many enemies I wouldn’t have been surprised if the school asked her not to come back (keep in mind it’s a private school, and not a state-run pre-school).

It was cathartic to get even with this woman in the pages of my book. Granted, it’s been a while and I had pretty much let it all go (although, reading this it certainly doesn’t sound that way), and I never exactly “get even” with her. But it’s still nice to craft a character I dislike and model it after the only person I’ve hated in decades.

I was able to laugh while I thought up annoying dialogue lines for her. I was able to bring some of her arrogance and mannerisms from my memories into play. And I was able to move on. While the Coraline character in The Hunt may mean something entirely different to me as the author, I hope the readers enjoy her devilishly crafted part.

How about you? Have any of you killed off a character in one of your stories who remarkably resembled someone from your life?

11 Comments leave one →
  1. September 20, 2010 7:40 am

    I guess this could be called “The Naming of the Shrew.”

    Haven’t we all had someone in our lives that we wished we could get back at? Legally, of course.

    Great post, C.J. Lord knows how many evil characters I will inspire in your future books or how many you and I have already inspired for a certain former blogger who shall remain nameless (begins with “s” and ends with “eve”).

    I should be able to have fun with my post this week.

    • September 20, 2010 7:48 am

      LMAO on that one Greg. I’m sure he’s realizing the real work has just begun. It’s the work of selling your book most authors don’t count on. I would have thought he’d have stuck it out just for the promo and exposure, but we weren’t good enough, eh?

      C’est la vie. Maybe he’ll write about a bi-racial couple named D.J. and George, and the crimes they commit together in a Bonnie and Clyde type fashion. Wouldn’t that be funny? But hey, we’d go out in a blaze of glory. 😉

      Looking forward to your spin on this topic my friend. You’ve been writing much longer than I have and I’m curious to see what you have to say!

  2. J. D. Brown permalink*
    September 20, 2010 2:46 pm

    Hey guys, it’s me, J.D. I’m using the computer at work. I know, I’m so naughty. Anyway, while I don’t have an enemy in real life, I do often write out my emotions. My novel, Dark Heirloom, originaly began with a scene about the main character having an argument with her boyfriend, only to eventualy learn that he’s been cheating on her.

    While that wasn’t exactly what happened in real life, the emotions I delt with were similar and the scene was based on a real event. And yes, it felt good to write it. Of course, I ended up cutting that scene out as it didn’t really add to the plot. 😉

    • September 20, 2010 11:50 pm

      Oh, great. Tantalize and tease me and then flake out.

      • September 21, 2010 9:00 am

        I think you started the book in the right spot. The argument was backstory and while it might be nice for her to think about it later, having it as your opening wouldn’t have been as strong. Good job!

  3. Robert C. Nelson permalink
    September 20, 2010 5:05 pm

    This is so coool! I am so into dispatching of people I dislike in many ways; I have made them become a soup; burned them to death; had them stoned; blown them away; okay, you get the point. But the good thing about bad people is that they are the perfect antagonists. Their flaws are many, and their slinking around everywhere doing everything, sets up a damned fine story. They become the perfect foil for the good guy or gal. And as for PTA ladies …

    • September 21, 2010 9:01 am

      Knew you’d be a man after my own heart, Robert! It really is quite freeing to get the annoyances down on paper and out of your heart. We may never forget, but at least we can let go.

  4. September 20, 2010 11:01 pm

    Boy! You guys can be vicious! I mean, er, …you women and men are some of the world’s greatest living writers and some of the most wonderful all around people ever to walk God’s green earth… Oh! The hell with it! If you guys grow tired of me and kill me off…on paper…what can I do?
    Actually, should me and the company that I work for ever divorce on bad terms, I already know what I am going to do. I have this dialogue where two characters actaully meet on the street where my company sits in real life. One asks the other what is out there. The second responds by saying, “nothing important.”. I realize that it is not the giant explosion that fills the night sky for miles around. It’s not even the smoking gun. On the other hand, I don’t want to be called into a court room either. Better I just walk away and be a huge success. I imagine that kind of revenge would taste oh so sweet!
    -Jimmy

    • September 21, 2010 9:05 am

      Your example is a way of walking away and show casing an inner strength in the hero – that even if he is hurt, he’s big enough to let it go.

      I claim no such altruistic attributes.

      Writing out my pain can help me get over it. I try my best to always rise above, sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. But either way, I never hurt anyone, so it’s all good.

  5. September 21, 2010 9:25 pm

    All the big wonky stuff happened to me in the 1960’s, and I don’t remember any of it.

  6. September 22, 2010 6:22 pm

    Woah! Take that PTA! (Come to think of it, it reads better than Martina McBride’s Harper Valley lyrics) Having been a school governor and on the fringes of a PTA, I can imagine a few local characters that would benefit from some fictional attention! Good one, C.J… 🙂

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