S.G. Browne

I Am Jack’s Alter Ego

“All the ways you wish you could be, that’s me.  I look like you want to look, I fuck like you want to fuck.  I am smart, capable, and most importantly, I am free in all the ways that you are not.”

– Tyler Durden, Fight Club

As writers, we’re always pretending to be someone else, especially when you write in the first person narrative like I do.  For some writers, that line of reality between author and character is blurred a little bit more.  For others, the voice that comes across on the page is the same voice of the author in real life.  And for those like me, our characters are the alter egos that come to life in our writing.

In much the same way that Fight Club‘s Tyler Durden is a representation of who Edward Norton’s unnamed narrator wants to be, the main characters in my novels are a reflection of me, of who I imagine I am.  My characters talk the way I want to talk and always seem to know exactly what to say at the perfect moment.  In real life, I seldom have the words I want to say at my disposal.  Most of the time I come up with the perfect response about five minutes later, which doesn’t really help when you’ve already conceded the argument or missed the opportunity to say something unforgettable.

Of course when I’m writing, I have the luxury of editing, of creating and controlling the entire situation in which my characters find themselves, so the dialogue and the reactions are re-written and crafted until they’re just the way I want them.  So yeah, it’s a little like cheating.  But sometimes, the line or the comment or the response will come out of me with no effort, with no hesitation, and I know it’s perfect.  And that’s when I get this rush, this connection with my character, that makes me realize why I do this in the first place.

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Filed under: The Writing Life — S.G. Browne @ 11:34 pm

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