Monday, September 21, 2009

Introducing Barbie and Ken

“Our appearance may not resemble the dolls, but our relationship is as plastic as they are.” – Barbie Anderson from The Ride

If you were expecting a post about the dolls with the perfect bodies, matching accessories, a pink Corvette and perfectly designed three-story house, I’m sorry to disappoint you. The Barbie and Ken I’m referring to are the Anderson’s—two characters from The Ride.

They are, I think it’s fair to say, the complete opposite of the dolls. Ken works for a company that designs amusement park rides. Here’s a brief description of him from Chapter One.

Neither young, virile, nor gorgeous, Ken had occupied the same spot every night for the last twenty-three years. His hairy midsection protruded from under the sheet. He wore his thinning gray hair long on top in a futile effort to disguise a shiny bald spot that began to plague him a couple of years ago. Now the strands lay inert on the pillow like lifeless snakes.

Barbie stays at home and makes lists. Here’s a description of her from the same chapter.

Petite or delicate did not exactly describe Barbie’s 5 feet 9 inch, big-its boned frame that carried more than its share of extra weight. Holey white cotton underwear mysteriously clung to her hips by one tiny elastic thread that managed to stay intact through endless wash cycles. Her twenty year old “st ll craz aft all these ye rs” tee shirt provided a sad commentary about her wardrobe and her state of mind. Though some letters had worn off, the sentiment was accurate.
In a previous post I mentioned that though I was fond of my main character, Barbie, I wouldn’t want to be her. Well, she took offense to that. To make it up to her, I promised to introduce her and explain that she was operating under unusual and adverse conditions.

“How would you feel if you woke up one morning and learned your mother was not the person you’d thought of as your mother for over 40 years?” she asked me.

Yes, even my published characters still talk to me. What can I say?

“It wasn’t exactly an easy revelation to adjust to, you know,” she continued. “I already had insecurities and self-esteem issues to deal with…and an estranged daughter. There’s also the fact that Aunt Pat’s dead and Ken’s behaving like a raving lunatic and he’s building that monstrosity in our backyard. Then there’s Michael.” A fleeting smile passed her lips as she said his name. “And there’s the money issue.” She paused, looked at me in an accusatory way and said, “I’d like to see you handle the mess any better.”

I admitted I’d probably make a mess of the situation, too.

Barbie has had the opportunity to vent. I have publically announced that I did give her a lot to deal with in a short period of time which may have affected her decision making process. Now, I hope she will allow me to get on with my life.

On a different topic, I'm excited to say that I was the featured author on VBT - Writer's on the Move yesterday.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tags: The Ride, Barbie, Ken, Barbie and Ken,


Helen Ginger said...

Barbie is one of those characters who have so much to deal with that readers hope things turn out good for her. She must be pretty strong to deal with all you threw at her.

Straight From Hel

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Just a warning - you will always hear Barbie in your head! But that's a sign of a great character.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Helen, I think we all go through periods in our life where everything happens at once and our only choice is to try to get through it to the best of our ability, which is what happened to Barbie.

Thanks for the warning, Diane. I was hoping that she would move on after this post!

The Old Silly said...

I'm very intrigued by this profiling of Barbie and Ken. I think it's a great idea to make real, complex characters like that using names that we all associate with surface and shallow.Clever idea!

Marvin D Wilson

Karen Walker said...

Having just read "The Ride," I can understand Barbie still speaking to you. I wondered what happens to characters after they've been created and published.

Morgan Mandel said...

Barbie sounds like a real person to me now.

Morgan Mandel

Alexis Grant said...

Barbie! Now there's a character I can relate to :)

Galen Kindley--Author said...

Well, I'm see a lot of me in Ken...before I began to go downhill. The slide is now (as they say in economics theory, increasing at an increasing rate.)

Best Regards, Galen
Imagineering Fiction Blog

Patricia Stoltey said...

Karen raises a very interesting question. Once a character comes to life for the author, she's never really going to go away, is she?

Is there a creepy story idea in here somewhere? I think so.

Carol Kilgore said...

Barbie sounds as if she's going to be with you a while, Jane.

I once had a character wake me up and dictate her story to me. She was upset I didn't type fast enough.

But I've never had one really hang around like Barbie.

Maybe the hanging around is a good sign for you.

Anonymous said...

I've never known anyone named Barbie. Bt I have run across numerous people with Disney names, even a Snow White. Yep, true story.

Stephen Tremp

Joanne said...

I like how you give poor Barbie a little air time on your blog. It might be nice to have her pop in here every now and then, she's very entertaining!

Jane's Ride - Novelist Jane Kennedy Sutton's journey through the ups and downs of the writing, publishing and marketing world