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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Character Blogs

A character blog is a blog written in the voice of a fictional narrator, of which there are several examples currently on the internet.

The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs is one, another is the more recent Bono’s Blog (Saving the world one song at a time). Neither of these blogs are written by the person whose name they bear.

There has been some dissent among bloggers who fear, perhaps, that the medium is too fragile and regard character blogs as an attack on authenticity.

Blogging, like any other kind of writing, stands or falls in terms of what it has to say and the various ways in which it chooses to say it. It doesn’t matter at all who the voice belongs to, the important thing is whether the voice has the strength and interest to be able to carry its message.

I don’t know if there are any really great character blogs out there, but I’m certain there will be, and that will be to the benefit of all of us.

4 Responses to “Character Blogs”

  1. Cappuccino says:

    I think character blogs are interesting from a voyeuristic standpoint, take for instance the Andy Kaufman ( character blog. I can remember when it came out and the flurry of speculation it caused, but in the long run I am more interested in real experiences from real people, not imitations. Good post!

    jb says: Hi Cappuccino. I don’t know the blog you mention, though I will take a look at it. My point was, rather, that sometimes a blogger may need a little distance from his or her subject. And although that might mean that the blog is fiction rather than autobiography, or fiction rather than lived recollection, it doesn’t mean that it is less true or less real, indeed it might mean the opposite.
    There is no real measure of objectivity and often someone may believe that they are relating the facts, and only the facts, when what they are really doing is letting their imagination have free reign through the medium of memory. Similarly, a writer who sets out to tell a fictional story, may well be addressing objective, inner truth, through a medium which allows him or her a veil of anonymity.

  2. Ira Socol says:

    This goes along with the current craze for “memoir” – where bad writing is excused because someone claims an interesting life. All stories are authentic in the same way, and they are all fictions, crafted by the author’s perspective. It just might be that the author of the Secret Diary of Steve Jobs is telling a far more compelling story than any real “Steve Jobs” could.

    Give me good “fiction” any day over mediocre memoir.

  3. Sour Grapes says:

    Two good character blogs are Jon Swift and Geoffrey Chaucer. I don’t see them as any less authentic than a lot of realistic blogs, where the character being portrayed is perhaps slightly less outrageous, or indeed medieval. It all belongs in the fine tradition of Peter Simple, Auberon Waugh, Craig Brown, Dear Bill etc. There ought to be room in such an enormous arena for a little bit of everything.

    jb says: Yeah, I’m all in favour of making room for a little bit of everything.

  4. violet says:

    Those are good character blogs themselves and I must say I have found other good ones over the time.