Series II, Part II – Charlatans

Welcome back! Today I was looking through my blog, checking various things, updating links and I happened to look in the comments – the spam ones. This got me thinking… what sort of trolls and hecklers do you have in your story worlds?

Deceptive Deviants

Do the ‘trolls’ in your world live under proverbial (or actual) bridges? Do they send spam mail? (The image of actual trolls living under a bridge furiously scribbling just tickles me for some reason). Are there pamphleteers who set up posters all over town? People who hand out tracts? What other rogues are there?

How do pyramid schemes work in your world? Are there faux princes from other realms who promise rewards, snake oil salesmen selling aphrodisiacs and products that promise, uh, greater virility, shall we say?

How about charlatans? Get rich quick schemes, planting a nugget of gold in a tin or iron pyrite (fools’ gold) mine? Those peddling potions that are a cure-all, tonics, long-life, unicorn horns, etc. I have to admit, I’ve not really considered this in a huge amount of depth for my own novel, mostly because I’ve not got to that point but it’s been on my mind to really sit down and have a long think about adding more colourful characters.

There are darker routes one could take this too, such as trafficking and smuggling. Those are something I have written into my novel series, but more into the background than the forefront. What inspiration can you draw from your spam folder? I’d love to hear what ideas you have for deviancy and scams!

To Consider:

How do scams affect your character? Straight to junk mail, or do they (or someone they know) fall for them and insist on their legitimacy? How can you add more colour and nuance to your story by incorporating little details, perhaps by way of conversation? Do they find the scams funny – e.g. ‘potency’ aids are a source of laughter amongst their friends? Does it make news headlines that happen in the background? ‘Massive shipment of… lost at sea.’ Maybe it doesn’t fit inside your story at all!

Until next time!

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