Thursday, March 30, 2006

AG: Pay No Attention to the Blogger Behind the Curtain

One of the blog sites I visit has a short but interesting article on a fairly new trend in blogging: Character blogs. A character blog is just what it sounds like—a blog written in a fictional person’s voice. For example, fans of the television show MONK might enjoy reading the “Natalie Teeger Blog.” (For those, not familiar with MONK—shame on you. It’s a great show. Oh, and Natalie Teeger is the sidekick to the mildly obsessive-compulsive detective played by Tony Shalhoub.)

When you visit the site, you find blogs “posted” by the character (played by actress Traylor Howard). Of course, it’s written by someone else. In this case, Lee Goldberg. Look closely and you’ll see a down-arrow that lets you read blog postings by other characters in the show.

MONK isn’t the only show doing this kind of promotion. A character on the sci-fi drama INVASION is an avid blogger. In fact, his blog gets him into trouble. It’s part of the script. So, ABC thought it a good idea to post a real blog written by a fictional character. Of course, when you visit the site, you see ads for the program as well as other ABC offerings.

This practice has caused a bit of hubbub. Some folk hate it; others see it as a positive marketing idea. One company has a blog written by its mascot…a rabbit.

Okay then, what about books. Would you read a blog ostensibly written by a character from a novel? Should Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan have a blog? Can you see yourself telling someone, “Hey, you should read what Ebenezer Scrooge wrote about Thanksgiving. He hates it more than Christmas.”

Or in my case: If Perry Sachs or Mayor Maddy Glenn wrote blogs, would you read them?
What do you think? If you could post comments to President Jed Bartlet of WEST WING as he pens his memoirs in digital ink would you? Maybe some enterprising TV exec could set up dueling blogs. “Geena Davis says Martin Sheen should be impeached.”

Could blogs be a way to keep characters alive long after their books have gone out of print? Or do you think that character blogs are a cheap marketing ploy?

Alton Gansky blogs as himself at


At 10:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jack Cavanaugh says...

What interests me most about character blogs is how they blur the already fuzzy line between fiction and reality. Is it possible for a fictional blog to create the same uproar radio once caused with the airing of Orson Wells' broadcast of War of the Worlds?

Even more interesting (for those of you who don't already know) is that Alton Gansky is a fictional character. In reality, Gansky is an 88-year-old widow living in Fresno named Daisy Akins who writes suspense novels under the pen name of Alton Gansky.

At 12:58 PM, Blogger Domino said...

Personally, I think character blogs are a great idea. They should generate buzz about characters who are interesting enough to pull it off. I could see a lot of chick-lit character blogs happening. Maybe one character could invite another character to be their guest on the blog one day. I would hate to see villain blogs, though.

And, um, Daisy needs a shave... ;)

At 1:35 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

This is actually something I'm toying with doing for my own books as marketing if they ever get picked up. :)

Not exactly a character blog, from one of my actual book characters. But instead the journal of a uniuqe zoologist/explorer that travels around the world describing his adventures and the local flora and fauna he finds.

And perhaps visiting locations that readers will recognize from the book and giving his own spin on the events that took place there.

At 1:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think character blogs are fine if they fit the identity of the character. Just having a character blog for the sake of marketing might satisfy the fans' desire for more info, but it can actually hurt a character. Part of telling a story is controlling how much the audience knows at a given time. Character blogs, if not "in character" for the particular individual to be doing, can ruin this tension.


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