As authors, we all write for a reason. That reason may differ from person to person, but we all have the common bond that we want to share our words with others.
For me personally, I write because I think I’m a good storyteller who can paint a picture with my words, and I like to try and convey those images into the minds of others in hopes that they find my books enjoyable. Some do…some don’t. I would love to become a best-selling author who does nothing but come up with my next book’s plotline while sipping Mai Tai’s on a beach, but for now, I’ll just settle for the fact that more than a few people are enjoying my creations.
For some of you who have read my books, you know that they contain several personal touches contained within the pages. I like to use characters based on actual people I know, such as one of my main characters, Pat Vigil, my best friend who passed away a few years back, and a certain someone named Tim Baker-something-or-other, a person who has had a major influence on my life since childhood. But, I also like to add stories in my books involving those people. This serves a dual purpose – first, I’m able to create some dialogue for my characters, and second, I’m able to share more of myself within the content – even if only a few people who read it will make the correlation to what I’m writing.
Some would say that it makes no sense to have “inside jokes” that only a few people will get and that it just takes up space on the page, but I completely disagree with that train of thought. As an author, it’s my job to tell a story. Sometimes those stories take on a life of their own while I jot them down, such as when I’m writing my inside jokes. In the case of Pat Vigil, the way I write him in the book is exactly how he was in real life – a smart-mouthed goofball who was the best friend in the world. I like to incorporate things that he and I did together into my stories. I don’t like to think of it as page-filler, but more of an homage to people who mean something to me on a personal level.
In the case of Tim Baker-something-or-other (some of you on here know him, so I’m trying to conceal his name just a bit – yea I know I failed), he and I have shared many funny memories which I think make great conversation pieces, so I incorporate them into my books for others to share along with too. Maybe he’ll be the only one to fully get the joke, but people who know him will also get it, so I’m at least connecting with some of my readers on a more personal level.
Here’s an example from my upcoming novel. For those of you who know this “Tim” guy, you’ll know he has an abnormal fascination with the movie Jaws. And for those of you who have seen our back-and-forth banters on his Facebook page regarding this movie, you’ll also know I like to give him crap about this. So, here is one of those little inside joke instances…
Tim walked into the room, in the middle of what appeared to be a heated debate taking place between Mercer and Vigil.
“What are you two jabbering about?” he asked.
Vigil answered, “We were just discussing some of the best shark movies of all time. Apparently, a few of mine don’t even make this bozo’s list.”
Tim smiled, knowing Mercer would agree with his next statement.
“In the annals of history, there’s only one shark movie that can hold its weight in water, no pun intended.”
“Oh, I know what it is,” Mercer proclaimed, taking a friendly jab at his friend with an inside joke. “It’s Sharkna…”
“Don’t you dare say it,” Tim good-humoredly interjected.
Recognizing the partial name of the movie just mentioned, Vigil responded, “Whoa, wait a minute. How does that movie not make the top three for either of you?”
Tim let out a hearty laugh before replying.
“That comment alone tells me all I need to know about you. That movie shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same breath as Jaws.”
“Jaws?” Vigil replied. “It was alright, but it’s like forty years old.”
“Alright,” Mercer stated with a laugh. “Let’s move onto another subject before someone gets slapped.”
This snippet serves to create some banter between characters, but it also lets me share parts of my life with my readers. Sure, it’s an inside joke between Tim and I, but it’s also just a funny little back and forth between friends in the book. You don’t need to personally know us all to fully get the joke, but you also don’t need a deciphering manual to enjoy the story.
This is where some authors get lost with adding these sorts of references. This particular dialogue has nothing to do with the story itself, but it serves as a comedic moment where I’m able to show the bond of my characters.
Do I think this story is hilarious? Of course, I do…but I guess I’ll leave it up to my readers as to whether or not they find it enjoyable as well. And for the record, I personally believe Tim is a HUGE closeted Sharknado fan…
You can read the rest of the story in my upcoming third novel, Blood Dawn, scheduled to be released later in 2017. For now, you can get caught up on the first two installments in the NESA series by CLICKING HERE
As always, thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading!