What is it about a new puppy that chews everything in sight in order to be able to carpet the floor in smelly little land mines that you blearily step on at three in the morning because she barked all night? Why don’t you kill her, slowly and painfully in a compact bog of stench?
It’s because she is endearingly cute. There is a similar effect with small children although at least you can put a nappy on them and eventually they grow up enough to load the dishwasher.
So why am I telling you this? Well one, it is great to vent. Second, I am thrilled with this Write or Die website recommended by that astonishingly good looking reader purplume. (Thanks for the tip, writers need to stick together.)
Actually I have a real reason for writing this, a writing reason. I want to talk about a particular type of character – the cheeky larrikin. A stalwart of Australian literature, he, or she, is often found strolling casually through stories, hands in pockets and with a look on their face that says butter wouldn’t melt in the mouth. Hard to write at times and incredibly easy at others, the larrikin allows you to have a character that does all the things you would love to do to the pompous only they get away with it because they are cute.
Just like a small child that is suddenly quiet, you know as soon as you see them wander into a plot, that they will get into trouble and out of it with panache. Sometimes, the larrikin can be quite cultured and even the hero of the hour. Kerry Chapman’s Phryne Fisher is a classic example. Harry Harrison’s Stainless Steel Rat series shows the larrikin on a grand scale.
I love the larrikin – part of being Aussie I suppose. Still, they allow a freedom that you seldom get with other characters. Try seeing if a handsome lad or lass can wander through your plot and deflate a few pompous balloons. Even if you don’t end up using them, they provide a great deal of light entertainment.
Now if you excuse me, I have to go rescue the mouse cord out of the dog’s mouth and see where that not so delightful smell is coming from.