A Dialogue About Writing With My Fictional Character

A Dialogue About Writing With My Fictional Character August 12, 2020


Raymond Steelskin: Hey that’s me. Why I’m actually being written about.  Why am I here and what is this about?

Mark: Catholic Bard is going to go in a brave new direction in terms of creative content and unique writing. This is an introduction to that process.

Raymond Steelskin:  And how are you going to do that?

Mark: Dialogues. A dialogue format where two people discuss things such as books, movies, current events, church teaching, the joy of drinking milk.

Raymond Steelskin: Drinking Milk?

Mark: I said that to be quirky. Also I have an article idea about milk.

Raymond Steelskin: Yeah. Quirky. Why write your thoughts in this dialogue format?

Mark: Thought I would make my writing more creative and interesting.

Raymond Steelskin: Why have me as one of the participants in this crazy creative writing endeavor.

Mark: You’re an interesting character. Brother to infamous character Rumple Steelskin.  A character based on a doll my older sister Mary handmade for me one Christmas and is actually still in my basement.  All Right.

Raymond Steelskin: I’m so flattered. But will anyone actually read this? Will anyone really care?

Mark: Mother Theresa said we were to be faithful and not successful. So, I don’t know if people will read this or think it worth reading. But I’m being faithful to the muse. I found this quote helpful.

All you can do as a faithful Christian is work as well as you can, as honestly and lovingly and sacrificially and deeply as you can. You may well have a greater and more long-lasting effect than those who get more notice. And maybe you won’t. You can’t compare yourself to others, though we all want to. The Father gave you your work for a reason.

Which may also be cold comfort. But it’s true. Just keep serving God with the gifts He’s given you. Even if all you hear are the crickets. God hears the minds and hearts being changed. Some day He’ll tell you.
David Mills, You Will Bear Fruit for God. You Just Might Not See It (August 20, 2020) The Stream

This is why I write. I’ve got the bug and just want to keep on writing. Regardless of who reads it.

Raymond Steelskin: Nobody reads your stuff do they?

Mark: They do. I’ve been told. I think I have about 16,507 overall page views. If I read the data right. I don’t know. Some people I thought might read it don’t seem to comment or acknowledge my posts.

Raymond Steelskin: As if you didn’t exist. I know how it feels.

Mark: Maybe they think i’m just a pest and hope I go away with my annoying articles. Kinna like you.

Raymond Steelskin: What? Really?

Mark: Ok Back to the original topic I had. Dialogue.

Also this dialogue thing worked for Peter Kreeft, so it might work for me.

Socrates: Excuse me for bothering you, but what are you doing?

Peter Pragma: What kind of silly question is that? I’m reading a book. Or was, until you interrupted me. Can’t you see that?

Socrates: Alas, I often fail to see what others see, and see things others cannot see.

Peter: I don’t get it.

Raymond Steelskin: I don’t get it, who are these two?

Mark: Oh, I just quoted from Peter Kreeft’s book The Best Things in Life (1984) to illustrate my point.

The Best Things in Life: A Contemporary Socrates Looks at Power, Pleasure, Truth & the Good Life


Raymond Steelskin: Arggggggg. Like anyone would know that.  So, what interesting ideas do you actually have to write a dialogue format in.

Mark: Well… As I said earlier, Books for one thing. To quote,

Raymond Steelskin: Oh boy, here comes more quotes… Maybe this is why people don’t read you.  Your an annoying pest.

Mark: Author Mark Brumley…. This is good so pay attention.

“Why can’t you buy time on Amazon?

You can buy books but you can’t buy the time to read them!”

Raymond Steelskin: This is so true.

“Just like you, when I was young, I thought I had endless time ahead of me. Just like some of you and most people who have gone before us, as I get older I realize I have fewer days ahead than behind me (h/t to Jean Luc Picard).

And I realize that there are many things I want to do, including reading many books I haven’t read. Ok. There’s not even time for all of them. You have to pick and choose even more carefully.”

Raymond Steelskin: Wow! That’s very…


Sorry I’m not done.

“Some books really require or deserve *multiple* readings. And some of those books require a fair amount of thinking. Not only to understand in the process of reading them but to grasp the implications for wider and deeper understanding once they’ve been read.

That takes time.”

Raymond Steelskin: Done?

Mark: Yeah.

Raymond Steelskin: That’s very profound. A Mark quoting another Mark.

Mark: So anyway, Reading is very important to writing. I want to read or try to read different authors and give their stuff a wurel. Talk about their work. I want people to read my stuff and give it a wurel. So, I should read other’s stuff. And then write about it.

Raymond Steelskin: And reading a lot is supposed to help you write, but the thing is do you write enough? The answer is NO!  Here I am. A great unused creation of yours you wrote a story about in high school and have never really given me a great adventure to star in since. A book to be in. A book that a child could go down to the library and borrow and then take home and read.  I could have been big and had an animated movie made about my life and stuffed dolls and maybe a musical album. Veggie Tales has accomplished all this, so if talking and singing vegetables, why not me?

Mark: I got an A on that paper. Look, my focus and attention span is limited and poor, which is why I haven’t done this.  All right. Look I try. And who knows who would read my stuff. It’s tough to find an audience. As Karl Keating said..

Raymond Steelskin: Oh gosh another quote.


“It’s proving difficult to gather an audience. It’s not just that nearly everything on the Internet is free. It’s that there is just so much stuff. If I want to learn how to set up a particular backpacking tent, I can find twenty videos that will show me how. If I want instruction on how to play a particular song on the ukulele, I can find fifty videos. If I want to learn about the Immaculate Conception, I can find well over a hundred videos. It’s difficult for any one of those to stand out.”

The same thing can be said for books. Do you see how many authors are on kindle unlimited? On fanfiction sites? What about all the stories written about and never published or written down since the dawn of time. Think of the stories Noah and company told on the ark as they were drifting around for 40 day and 40 nights. What stories illiterate medieval peasants told each other working in the field. I’m sure Charles Dickens’s children must have tried to recreate their father’s hobby living in the shadows of the novel writing guru. Look even if I wrote about you…

Raymond Steelskin: I could be the acceptation to the rule and people would read about me. If you see all the crazy stuff that pops up on the Cartoon network, you’ll know that even weird and outlandish ideas make it to the wider world.  And what’s with all the GIFS?

Mark: Their Neat. Look not everybody can be Harry Potter or Sponge Bob.

Raymond Steelskin: Bunch of pansies. I’m funny and more magical.

Mark: Anyway, the likelihood that my stuff will be remembered years from now is very small, especially cause there is so much stuff out there.

Raymond Steelskin: Can you imagine 4,000 years passing, and you’re not even a memory? Think about it It’s not just a possibility. It’s a certainty.

Mark: Jean Shepherd.

Raymond Steelskin: What?

Mark: That’s who you quoted. All Right.

Raymond Steelskin: Arrrggggg. I thought it was original.  You said it again.

Mark: Said what?

Raymond Steelskin: All right. You keep inserting that in your sentences.

Mark: I didn’t realize that. I can’t even hear myself saying it. But anyway, remember, Good artists copy. Great artists steal. All Right.

Raymond Steelskin: Who cares, write a fantasy story starring me or another real article for your new blog thing. Don’t embarrass yourself with this dialog format thing.

Mark: You’ll never know till you try. This is the first dialog reflecting on reading, writing and having an audience. Of course, you turn it into a pity session lamenting never having been written about.

Raymond Steelskin: It makes you wonder if souls lament never having been created by God.

Mark: Gosh I never knew you could be so profound. A very interesting philosophical thought.

Raymond Steelskin: Write more about me and find out.

Mark: Perhaps I will. In the next dialog.

Raymond Steelskin: Ok.

Mark: Ok. And one last quote.

Raymond Steelskin: Why am I not surprised.

Raymond Steelskin: The creator of this GIF totally made a typo.

Mark: Mark quoting another Mark. Mark’s are quite quotable.

In the long span of time we Homo sapiens have been around (roughly 200,000 years by best guesstimates), fully one third of that time has been spent with our entire race asleep eight hours out of each day. For every Caesar, Cleopatra, Napole-on, Thomas Edison, or Attila the Hun who blazes a fiery comet of fame and storied greatness across the firmament of history, there are millions and millions of anonymous people (chances are you and I are among them) who live and die and only God remembers them. A whole forest of leaves falls, and only one or two get saved in the scrapbook? What’s up with that? – Mark Shea: Empty Space (October 19, 2010) Catholic and Enjoying It! @ Patheos Catholic

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