Hawk Dancer

Sarge and Josh

  • By Joshua (Tim) Seidl
  • 26 Apr, 2016

Fiction character development gets involved

Meeting Sarge

 Sarge T. Douglas is a fictional character I developed for my two novels. His active role in “Hawk Dancer” and in “Cloudburst” is minor. He is a chronicler and journalist. There is a brief scene where he meets the twins of Birch Clump in Turkey. Douglas is assigned to the Incerlik Air Base; the twins are on a one-year study program in Turkey.

   His more significant exposure comes a couple of years later when Douglas, since honorably discharged, shows up at the friary in Birch Clump for a retreat. He begins interviewing villagers and friars to learn more about the history of the first ever Catholic religious order of Native Americans. His role in the fictional stories is useful to me as the author as I wanted to give some credence to how material, research and information on such a large cast of characters spanning nearly eighty years was possible.

   Character development shows him as calm, collective, somewhat quiet and laid back. He’s tall and slender. He is just shy of 140 pounds at six-feet, one inch in 1978, the year he visits the village at age 27.

     An author can easily get involved with his characters. It took me nearly ten years before I decided on giving Sarge T. Douglas more exposure and greater development. Where was he born? What about his childhood?

      Avoiding any spoilers, I can share that he was born to a single teen mother. He is mixed race. His grandfather nearly succeeded in having him murdered. He begins an adventurous search in his young adult years for his biological father and to learn the meaning of his first name name. 

      I even attempted to write a story in which a few of my fiction characters actually have a chance to interact with me, the real life author. I have not succeeded in doing that thus far.

      In one imagined setting, in the later 1970s, I would like to meet Sarge and ask what the “T” stands for in his name; T. Douglas.  It has been nearly ten years since I developed him and yet even I never knew what his first initial stood for. (The secret of his first name is found in the shot story Changing a Flat in the book, " Ten Things: Birch Clump Village Reader 4.")

 I begin laughing as soon as he tells me because I know what the name means. He’s upset. I tease him some more. Bystanders egg us on hoping to see a fight, but neither one of us are prone to fighting. An instigator slapped him across the back of head as he walked off but I got the blame. With adrenaline  running, he instinctively shoved me. That went through me and I instantly returned the same.  Insults, dares and shoves work us up into a frenzy. 

      Sarge and I are the same age, he being born five days before me. We are the same size. We are both chicken when it comes to fighting. It’s a perfectly matched struggle our friends, real and fictional would really like to see. What the heck, I think I'd like to see which of us would win, or if it would be a draw. I pop him in the mouth. We go at it big time.

     The drawing at the top of this blog is of the fight between Sarge and me.

     About the most humiliating thing that can happen to me as an author is when one of my fictional characters is able to beat me up.

    Will I write the story?

I’m not sure.

From Birch Clump

By Joshua (Tim) Seidl 21 Jul, 2017
I use Corel Paint, an affordable alternative to Adobe Paint Shop to assist me in drawing new illustrations for my fiction stories. I search for photographs, mostly my own, but also a few on-line public domain pictures. I then outline the parts I want and paste them into a new scene that fits the story I'm working on. A composite of six photos were used for the picture above.
    This is a picture of my fictional character, Sarge T. Douglas and me at Black Castle, Republic of Turkey in 1973 or 74. Sarge has his back to us. The real me is facing outwards at us.
    Sarge is made up of two photos, one below and the other above the waist line. The picture of me is made up of three photos, jeans, main body trunk, and a photo of me from around 1973 taken in Turkey when I was in the USA Air Force.  The back ground scenery is of an actual section of the ancient, deteriorating Black Castle in Turkey situated between Adana and Tarsus.
     Each part was digitally cut from the original photos and put in place in the Corel photo program. I made the drawing from that composite. Attention was given to ensure that hair style and clothing and any items in the final composite photo and drawing adhered to period fashion, technologies and items. In other words, one should not see the outline of a cell phone in the pockets, nor a hair or clothing style that would come after the date or period involved. Skintight jeans were in vogue for teens and young adults in the 1970s, as was long hair. However, these two individuals were in the military at that time and thus would have short hair. They are not on duty, thus would likely be in civilian attire.

    If they were in uniform, then Sergeant T. Douglas would have had three stripes on his uniform in 1973/74. He was E-4 pay grade. Research is important for a fiction author. The rank of sergeant was changed a few years later. E-4 became senior airman, and E-5 became the fiorst (or lowest) of the sergeant ratings.
By Joshua (Tim) Seidl 30 Jan, 2017
   Just released: My latest in a series of readers. Each  book contains short stories (mostly fiction), some poetry, and plenty of illustrations. 
    Tim Browne is an ordinary fellow from a white working class family, Christian. However, a rumor that he might be Jewish makes him the target of bigoted bullies in school and again as a young adult. He suddenly learns how the threat of violence constantly follows young minority men. His upbringing did not prepare him for what was ahead.

Publishing Status as of January 29, 2017:

   Proofs are expected to arrive Monday, the 30th of January. It will be about a week before my editor and I can review the finished product. If all is well, I will then press the approval button and the book  is available instantly on Lulu.com, and will begin showing up on other major book seller's sites such as Amazon and Barnes and Nobles.

Paper Back and E-book options:

     My books always come out as paper back first. I begin preparing an e-book version soon after. 
By Joshua (Tim) Seidl 28 Jul, 2016
I added long hair with special software to this picture of me taken in about 1980/81 at the age of 29/30. I then drew a picture to represent my fictional character, Sarge T. Douglas. This photo helped me to replicate his initial arrival in the Village of Birch Clump for the novel "Hawk Dancer." 
    My method for many of the illustrations I did began by tracing a rough outline and then free hand drawing in the rest. I now  use a tablet drawing system hooked to my computer. I can sketch, paint, and , more from special art soft ware with a stylus on the tablet and watch my progress on screen. 
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