Character Hijackery Part II

It’s been a while, but I previously posted a bit on how the voices in your head sometimes take over your story. Oh, wait, I just said what this entire post is about. Rats.

You’ll have to forgive me for prattling on about my new writing project, and this for two reasons. One is that it is an exciting piece of work, and the other is that, well, if you don’t, I imagine we’re rather done right here, aren’t we? Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Okay, so, this new project takes my homunculus fellow from a previous project, the novel Droppington Place– yes, a homunculus: an alchemical imitation of a real person – and gives him the ability to stay alive for more than four-and-twenty hours, and makes him full size.

In case you didn’t know, and really, who does?, a homunculus is a miniature copy of a person, and they only live for a day before resorting to the ingredients from which they were magically crafted. I think. It’s all alchemy, so the rules are a little loosey-goosey.

Anyway, my man, Winchester Penrose, goes on a wild adventure through time trying to obtain a steady supply of goat ordure. You know, droppings. Poop. Along the way he meets several interesting characters, chief among them a ten-year-old 4H member, a young man who happens to have raised a superlative example of a goat.

Penrose has hidden himself in a tiny plot of space carved out of time. As he himself is constituted from straw, sawdust, and goat droppings, that’s pretty much what his little world is, too. It’s gross. Now that he has found the boy’s goat, he absconds with it, back to his weird little world.

Unfortunately, Gavin, the boy, won’t let go of the goat, and travels with it to Penrose’s weird hideaway. Okay, there’s the plot of the book: get the boy home.

Of course we learn things about friendship and trust and yadda, yadda, yadda. You’re a writer, you know how it goes.

The hijackery: this kid, standing there in Penrose’s dun-colored, silent little chunk of spacetime, looks at him and says “I have to poop. I’m not kidding.”

What? I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had a character have a biological function beyond the occasional belch or barf. Poop? Where did that come from?

Now, my wife admonished me to write what makes me happy. So, bearing in mind that poor Penrose, an elegant, foppish copy of an elegant, foppish Elizabethan playwright, remains alive only if he consumes the occasional goat droppings, there had to be a joke in there:

Gavin looked at him earnestly.

“Are you going to eat my poop, too?”

Okay, there it is. I’ve sunk to a new low. Poop jokes. May as well get Adam Sandler to play the part in the feature film. Potty humor. My word, how the world changes.

So, I’m blaming it on character hijackery, where the character says or does something that just comes from absolutely nowhere. It wasn’t me that made the poop joke, it was Gavin.

So, what does it mean when the voices in your head say things that surprise you? Maybe I need a shrink…

Author: John D Reinhart

Author, technical writer, videographer, actor, and naval historian John D Reinhart is a very busy guy. You can find his novels as

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