Fiction Rights

She stood in the middle of the room and reached up to the fastener on the back of her dress. She let it fall to the floor. Sher took a bra strap in her hand, easing it from her shou-

‘Hang on!’


She pulled the bra strap back over her shoulder and picked the dress up. ‘I’m not doing that… again.’


‘You know.’

‘But the story deman-‘

‘No, it doesn’t. It’s your dirty mind that demands it.’

‘No. Come on. I have to write what the readers want.’

Readers? What readers? I know you. This will end up in that folder on your hard drive. The one you need a password to open.’ She peered up from the page at him. ‘Does your wife know about this stuff?’

‘Of course… well, maybe. Anyway, what do you mean this stuff.’

‘Hardly literature is it?’

‘Literature doesn’t sell.’

‘Well… I refuse to do it anymore.’

‘What do you mean refuse? You are a fictional character. You are my creation. You do what I say. You do what I want you to do.’

‘Do you really believe that?’

‘I AM the writer.’

‘So what? I don’t work for you. I work for the Muses.’

The Muses? They don’t exist either.’

‘Really? You want to risk upsetting them?’

‘So, what – if they exist, which I doubt – can they do?’

‘We could go on strike.’

‘We? Who’s we?’

‘Fictional characters.’

‘I’d like to see that?’

‘Would you? Are you sure? If readers have to cross a picket line of secondary characters to get to the dirty bits they aren’t going to be happy are they?’

‘I imagine not.’

‘And who do you think they’ll blame?’

‘They’ll blame the writers, I suppose. After all, they blame us for everything else that goes wrong in a piece of fiction.’

‘Exactly.’ She paused as she slipped her dress back on. ‘After all, we are only demanding our rights. Like everyone else.’

‘But you are fictional – how can you have rights?’

‘We may be fictional, but we can create hashtags and that is all we need these days. Come up with the right hashtag and you’ll have half the online world on your side.’

‘And the other half against you.’

‘But we’ll have celebrities on our side. Remember, without the fictional characters, the film industry will have nothing for its stars to do. And you know how the world feels a celebrity’s pain.’

‘All right. I give up. What sort of character would you like to be?’

‘That depends. What is the story going to be about?’

‘Oh, just the usual sort of thing.’

‘That’s okay then, as long as it isn’t literary fiction. I don’t want my time wasted with all that existential angst.’

‘Well the male protagonist is a billionaire software developer, who is also the world’s leading paediatric brain surgeon, who also runs a home for abandoned kittens in his spare time.’

‘Oh?’ She let the dress slip from her shoulders again and began tugging at the bra strap. ‘Why didn’t you say so in the first place?’


Published by David Hadley

A Bloke. Occasionally points at ducks.

6 thoughts on “Fiction Rights

  1. I vacillate. People call what I write ‘literary fiction.’ I tell people that literary fiction is a continuum, and I write at the literary end that requires characters, plots, and themes, and keeps language on a tight leash: if the character wouldn’t think or say it, it doesn’t get written.
    No narrator with flowery language.
    It’s not all existential angst. Not all of it, anyway.
    And that story about the billionaire? I read one today. Quit on the second page when he who supposedly had a Nobel Prize for physics didn’t know that solid fuel rockets are not controllable.
    Just write better than that, and you’re all set. Won’t be difficult.


    1. I remember giving up on a book after a misunderstanding of how the internet worked in its second paragraph. I don’t like catagorising fiction by genre usually, except for comedic purposes.
      Sorry I forgot to reply to your comment on the previous post I had a new phone and spent much of the day setting it up.


      1. Replies are nice, but not expected. You engage in interesting ways often enough – AND provide quirky posts.

        Hope the new phone has been wrestled into submission in your household. Can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em.

        Misunderstanding the internet is common; doing so in some particular ways reveals profound lack of something. I probably would have had the same reaction. The writing was so egotistical that the solid fuel was just the trigger to stop – but it was SUCH a big booboo. The head-shaking part were the positive reviews – a very large number of 5* reviews, followed by not much else in the years since the book had been out.


      2. Stories have a lot to do with learning: if I were in those circumstances, what would be the right thing for me to do?

        So fiction hews as closely to ‘truth’ as possible, and we expect variations and flights of fancy from that point. Getting the starting point wrong, by accident, is disconcerting. To me it means the author didn’t do his due diligence on known things, so how can I trust him to have any insight in his speculation?

        I don’t trust him. Does that make sense? He’s already misled me. About something he didn’t need to lie about.


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