Monday, August 21, 2006

Tuckerized: Writing What (or Who) You Know?

I’m guilty of something wikipedia calls “tuckerization.” When searching my mind for a name I could use for a very-very-off-the-storyline character, I tapped my real-life friend (and potter/artist extraordinaire) Frank A. Gosar.

The entry is from page 135 of Tall, Dark & Dead and it reads: “My favorite mug, a blue and brown glazed, hand-thrown pottery one made for me by my friend Frank out in Oregon, had been left with so many other important things in Minneapolis.”

I did not let my friend Frank know that he was mentioned (honestly, I forgot about it), and yesterday, I got this letter in the mail along with two gorgeous mugs made-to-order especially for me (sorry the picture is so dark, the lighting in my house sucks). His August 14th letter said, “Dear Garnet: A little bird told me (actually, I think it was a turkey vulture, but my ornithology is kinda suspect) that you were in need of replacement tea mugs, as you’d been reduced to discount bin specials from the Giga-Mart....

Geez, [Tate], give a fellow a little warning, will you? One minute I’m sailing along, navigating the plot convolutions of the contemporary vampire romance, the next I’m laughing so hard I nearly fall off of the bed. ‘My friend Frank out in Oregon....’ Does that count as product placement? Even if I don’t do blue and brow mugs anymore?”

For me, this happened just the way I wanted it to. Frank recognized himself in my novel and smiled -- or rather, nearly rolled off his bed. At any rate, I’ve never seen the harm in this sort of thing. In fact, I like to think of it as one of the little pleasures a writer engages in from time to time. What do other people think?

Are *you* guilty of tuckerizing someone you know? If so, who? If not, what do you think of the practice, generally? Is this a case of "writing what you know" to the extreme?


Mari Adkins said...

I almost tuckerized a friend once, but at the last minute changed his name - I left all identifying markers. He was in a small segment of the story (only the prologue). He recognized himself right away. :D I think it's kinda fun. Inside jokes have never permanently harmed anyone.

shawn e. said...

my brother-in-law has been one of my few reviewers over the last couple of years. his 'price' was that he wanted a small part in my book and he wanted to be killed off pointlessly like one of those red shirt guys in star trek.