And what this says about me is an exercise best left to the reader.

My friend Debbie Notkin and I were talking yesterday about the differences between roleplayed characters (such as in D&D and other games) and fictional protagonists. I think that roleplayed characters require more “presence” from the player than protagonists do from the writer. It’s hard to roleplay a subtle look or an unspoken word, at least in tabletop gaming. Therefore people play characters more similar to themselves than they would necessarily write–at least in terms of talkativeness and personality.

Which led to the observation that at least 50% of my roleplaying characters go insane at some point. Quiet, you peanut gallery. Debbie asked how many protagonists in my stories are insane. I wasn’t sure, so I counted.

Insanity is difficult to measure, but for this purpose I used an adaptation of the spice thermometers you see on jars of salsa. My protagonists are Basically Normal, Kinda Cracked, and Madder Than A March Hare on Mushrooms.

A quick survey of my published and circulating work:

BN: 12

KC: 7


And there we have it.

4 thoughts on “And what this says about me is an exercise best left to the reader.

  1. I wonder how your (by which I, of course, mean your characters) insanity count compares with literature in general.

    It seems like there are a lot of fiction characters who’d show up as examples of DSM entries. Hamlet (and Ophelia)? “The Yellow Wallpaper?” Every character written by EA Poe? _Lord of the Flies?_ Madame Bovary?

    Maybe it’s their internal conflict that’s so appealing to us.


  2. That’s true. And of course “kinda cracked” is a subjective term which probably applies to me, too. And most of my friends.


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