In several of his more recent posts, my eponymous character on NeilRorke.com has been talking about events in the news. The first post or two felt a little odd — almost like an out-of-body experience — but in retrospect the resistance I felt fell away quickly.
One big advantage I have with Neil is that he’s a contemporary character. He lives in the now, alongside events as they happen. I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about how a period character might integrate with the web, but obviously there are some issues. Not only can’t an 18th-century vampire hunter link to contemporary sites without some sort of narrative explanation (time travel?), but linking at all from a walled-off period site might be enough to shatter suspension of disbelief.
I don’t know where the line is with Neil or any contemporary character. Maybe there’s some subject matter that would blow readers out of the fictional world Neil lives in. Maybe he can’t comment on stories that are too real or visceral or traumatic. I can imagine him having something to say about 9/11 on that day, but the very idea of having a fictional character speak to something like that seems either trivializing or exploitative. Then again, if Neil was a well-known character — more like an old friend — that might not be the case.
So far, all I can tell you is that this is interesting stuff. At least to me. 🙂