This is a companion post. I am thinking about putting this with "Family Feud One" as some sort of "Cast" list, although I intend it as more.
It also crosses over all three FF1, FF2, and FF3 of my stories.
Family Feud Companion
Updated through Chapter 14, Family Feud Book II
I have started to keep notes of important people, places, things, and Easter eggs in my Family Feud stories. This is helpful to me, so that I do not have to hunt for these things and I may not forget them while I am writing.
I thought it may be fun and appreciated if I shared my notes and insights with you. This could contain spoilers, especially if you have not read the stories yet.
Family Feud to me is a really fun story to write. Stories like this usually have "Bad Guys", but I tried really hard to give motivations to the characters that not only help the reader see that things aren't always black and white, good and bad, but that over the course of the story, people will change.
I think for me part of the joy of writing about them is to simply create the characters, create the situation and then play out what happens, without too much of an outline. Things just seem to organically go from there. At times, I've had to rewrite when I wasn't satisfied with where things had gone, but in general this method has served my purposes in writing the characters. They seem to naturally evolve.
I don't like stories that are over just as soon as I get to know the characters. I enjoy the concept of a serial of stories about these people. I think that helps me connect to them, gives me an emotional response when they face a challenge, overcome an obstacle, get beaten up, beaten down and ultimately triumph (or fail) by what is thrown at them in the course of the story.
1. MAIN CHARACTERS
2. MINOR CHARACTERS
4. EASTER EGGS
Bill the husband a former high school athlete in his early 40s. He hasn't been employed for a while, let himself go a little, and had a strong porn/internet addiction.
Author's Note: I wanted Bill to be the typical "every guy". A flawed but relatable kind of guy. His glory days behind him, he starts off the story very irresponsible and blaming everything else but himself for his problems. I hope it becomes obvious that he is changing in often subtle but observable ways as the story progresses.
Wendy his wife blossomed after she attended college, built a dynamic career as an executive, has an interest in Pilates and aerobics, chicken soup for the soul books. She considers herself the glue that holds the family together.
Author's Note: I would say of all the characters, I identify with Wendy the most. You will find that even though I narrated the story from a neutral observer's viewpoint (Except in some rare cases where I intentionally shift to someone else's view), that I am often really seeing through Wendy's eyes. If I had it to do over, I might have written the story entirely from her viewpoint, but then I couldn't have explored the motivations of other people.
Chris the eldest son, is a slacker's slacker. Lazy, out of shape, geeky, loves to sleep in, and half-asses just about everything he can, shirking responsibility whenever it is offered him. His 'five year' plan in high school is to stretch it out to the 6th year.
Author's Note: When I created Chris, my inspiration was Chris from the show "Family Guy" and when I hear his dialogue in my head, that is the voice I hear. Chris comes across as sometimes reckless, short-attention span, and not very bright. However, I think everyone knows someone like Chris or IS like Chris themselves in that if he finds something that interests him, he will apply himself to it. He is often the only one laughing at his jokes, but that doesn't stop him from laughing.
Jamie is more like her mother, a high school honor student, captain on the cheerleading team, strawberry blonde long hair, with a very positive although perhaps naïve outlook on life.
Author's Note: Jamie represents a lot of different things to me, youthful exuberance, positive attitude, someone who is an over-achiever. She is someone who has been brought up to believe in following the rules/doing what is right who is starting to learn more about reality and how some times you have to break a few rules. One of my inspirations for her was Taylor Swift, saddled with a kind of goody-two-shoes persona, she is everything everyone wants her to be.
I would consider a minor character to have at least a speaking part, and can possibly occur in more than one chapter. There are some people so trivial as to be pointless. I will group some as a collection to make the list easier to manage.
Cherry Lawn Cheerleaders: The cheerleaders represent some minor characters that are very tall, attractive girls from the Cherrylawn high school. Their team is the Trojans and their colors are red and white. The most important character from this group is Cathy Griffin, who is mentioned in the section for her family.
There is also a "Janet" who is a co-captain (with Jamie) of the cheer squad we meet in ch. 6 of FF1
In Chapter 5 of FF1, we learn that Bill apparently really enjoyed photographing "Veronica", one of Jamie's bests when he thought she was modeling for him (although it was because she was one of Cathy Griffin's puppets). We meet her in ch. 1, when she is mocking Chris. She has a car.
In FF2, we hear of "Latisha" an attractive black girl, who is also the Principal's daughter, although she is de-enrolled following her father's sudden resignation from the school. She is only briefly mentioned.
Cherry Lawn Football Players: In Ch.14 of FF3 we meet three of the star players of the Trojans; Dave, Noah and Thad who take a picture with Jamie in the medieval stocks.
Duncan: A precocious boy who likes to grab tits, or butts when he can get away with it. Acts innocent. He was introduced in FF3 at the Spongeboob event, and then later at the pillory (sticking Ice Cream in Jamie's face).
Griffins: Cathy, Jarrod, Nick and Heath: Cathy Griffin is a cheerleader who could be something of a sadistic mastermind. She could also just be a confused teenager who uses her sexuality like a credit card to get what she wants, and when she can't charge it to that, she uses manipulation, blackmail and her brothers to help her get her way. Her brothers appear in FF1, and the reader is left with the impression that there is an entire sub-story to the cat-and-mouse game they play with one another for control.
Author's Note: Intentionally chose the name "Cathy Griffin", because I like the idea of when someone finds out your name is similar to a famous celebrity they assume you must like that celebrity. "Oh, like Kathy Griffin the comedienne?" and then she can roll her eyes and be "no, not like her at all!".
I especially thought it would be funny to give her red hair and make her look a little like the comedienne, to further the joke. In the movie Office Space, one character's name was "Michael Bolton" and even though he was clearly named long before the singer ever performed, people would ask if he liked Michael Bolton's music. It only served to irritate him, and he had to either politely say he did or give them the truth. It was cute, so that is why I picked that name when creating this character.
Hard Times Cast: Ellen, Savannah, Conner, Lloyd, Aunt Crystal: Ellen is the main character in another story called "Hard Times". She once lived in the same neighborhood as the Taylors, but has moved a good distance away to the "Buckman" a trailer park in a much more rural area. The closest "Town" to them is the poor side of Town where the Taylor's live.
Author's Note: Life is full of silly coincidences. I think it is fun to have characters bump into each other. It is also fun to take a minor character from one story and then write this really epic saga concerning their own life.
Fair Boys: There are a few boy's at the fair who are mentioned in ch.8-9 of FF3, Clint, Chuck and Millhouse are about Gerald's age. They are running with Clint's older brother "Bobby Glenn" who knows Jamie from High School.
Author's note: I kind of based the boy's on three characters from the movie "Stand By Me". Obviously, Millhouse was nicknamed after the cartoon character on the Simpson's because he is geeky an fragile like his namesake. Bobby Glenn is probably influenced in equal parts by sarcastic jackasses I knew growing up, and the bully "Nelson" also from the Simpsons.
Fair Guy: (Ted) One of the more notable characters who kisses Wendy in ch.8-9 of FF3 is not named. He is very skeptical of what they are doing, and assumes it may be some sort of scam. He also thinks Wendy may be his friend Bill's wife (and he is right), but he assumes there is absolutely no way his friends wife would be basically naked selling kisses at the county fair, so he buys one of her kisses.
In Ch. 14 of FF3 he runs into them again and spanks the girls hard in the renne faire pillory.
Hector: He also briefly appears in Hard Times, he is a heavy set tattoo artist who works at "Chicos" on the poor side of town.
Jenkins: Brad Sr, Brad Jr, Janet, Gerald, Gloria: This is a family that lives in the same neighborhood as the Taylors. We first meet Gerald in FF2 (he has a small part in FF1, but is never 'seen' by the reader). He is a much younger but very bright geeky friend to Chris.
Brad Sr and Janet are typical yuppie suburbanites, upwardly mobile, judgmental, not particularly proud of Gerald, extremely proud of their other two kids.
Brad Jr is based loosely on Paul Rudd, Brad Cooper, John Krasinski and all those young leading men romantic heartthrobs. He attends Dartmouth and seems to have an attraction to Jamie, that he feels bad about, since he believes his brother is apparently dating her. Brad jr doesn't prefer it, but he is sometimes known as "Bradley" when his father is present.
Gloria is mentioned briefly in FF3, she is apparently a very attractive girl who is NOT on the cheerleading team.
Madam Chang and the Twins, Short Round: The work at "Madam Chang's Discount Novelty Emporium" in the county fair, and are introduced around Chapter 6 of FF3. In the beginning, the twins are known as Yuki and Kiko, but we later learn that is an alias and they are Robert and Neil. The reader never really knows where these people come from, as they seem to speak a smattering of Chinese, but some of the references they make are Korean, Japanese are just completely made up.
Medieval Steve: In Ch. 14 of FF3, he is introduced running a medieval side-show/tomato throwing booth. He is a businessman trying to make a profit, selling over-ripe produce to gullible fair-goers in need of some old fashioned fun. The kind that the puritans and medieval villagers probably took for granted when someone was locked in the stocks for real.
Author's Note: I've actually seen booths like these, and people happily walk up and pay to have their pictures taken inside them. I've seen people smush their ice-cream on someone's nose, or tease each other. The pillory isn't locked, but sometimes it's heavy enough that you can't get out without someone's help. I've also seen 'escape artist' shows where the guy escapes from a straight jacket. Medieval Steve is sort of my hybrid of all these showmen. I wanted someone who dressed the part, but by looking at his face, he just didn't look like he came from that time period.
Mikey: A tattoo artist who works at the county fair, he is introduced early in FF3. He is a funny and affable guy. Quick to laugh, his personal motto is "I'll do anything but Nazi stuff".
Pooper Snoopers: There are some kids who come to the fence when the girls sunbathe in FF2, who do not identify themselves. They do not want to climb over the fence, just peep at the girls. The girls have nicknamed them the "Pooper Snoopers"
Principal Banks: We never learn the first Principal of CherryLawn's name. He retires in FF2, but he is described as a black man with a deep voice in his late fifties immediately reminded Bill of "Phillip Banks" the Dad on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
Old Man Arcade: Early in FF3, I introduce an elderly veteran who runs an arcade of old games that are relics like he is. He has a novelty electric chair the girls use. He is never named.
Rahjid: He is a motel owner on the bad-side of town. He has a brother-in-law who is far more successful than him, and a wife who has no speaking part in the story. The family owes him a great deal of money to get Bill's stuff at the motel out of "Hock" when he was locked out for non-payment.
Reggie and Reggie's Dad: Reggie is a black high school student who lives on the poor side of town and works at a Wendy's restaurant. We meet him in FF2, and in FF3 we meet him and his Dad who confront the family at a goldfish booth. Reggie's dad believes he is defending the girls.
Rosco: Poor Rosco, the Taylor family's lonely dog. He is almost always chained out in the Taylor's backyard.
Steve: a young executive, who works with Wendy. He was placed in charge of Wendy (by Bill) to supervise her at the office. He has been picking her up and dropping her off at work (since Wendy's car was wrecked in FF1). He sends regular status reports to Bill, believing Wendy to be a 'nymphomaniac' who is learning aversion therapy. He may actually not care why Wendy is willing to let him boss her around, give her his work, use her office and piggyback on her career, since he is regularly fucking her.
Taylor Family (Distant relatives): Early in FF2, the girl's must make "Affirmation movies" that are going to be used if they don't follow through on the agreement. They are going to be sent to 'distant relatives'. This is where we learn that Wendy has family out in Indiana who would probably very much disapprove of how Wendy is living. We learn that Wendy was raised on a farm when she was much younger.
"Bill's Mom" is mentioned in FF1, leading the reader to conclude his dad probably isn't in the picture with her any more. She apparently lives close enough that he could go to her house by truck, but further away than his own house from Rahjid's motel.
Author's Note: The real scoop is Bill's mom babied him, her perception is Wendy has 'taken him away from her', and that he may have been a star athlete had he not started working early to support raising a family. Bill did work for his dad's business, but we are never told anything about his father. Could there be some reason Bill feels he has has insecurities about his manhood that are related to him? Probably.
Tsoong: This is one of Chris's nerdy Asian friends from school, he gets to date Jamie one night as part of the new arrangement she has with her family.
Uncle Creepy: This is one of my favorite characters; he is very endearing to me. Spooky and quiet, he seems to have glommed on to the family like a puppy in FF3. He claims to be a security guard, although if he is, no one could tell. He always seems to be lurking around quietly, and he is so innocuous you often don't notice he is there (or that he has gone). He has not given his name in the story, so he is only known as "Uncle Creepy".
Vicky: "Icky with a V", we have yet to meet Vicky, only hear about her. She is apparently a peer and rival to Wendy at her place of work. She would delight in Wendy's downfall and destruction.
Author's Note: I wrote Vicky based on the concept that whenever a woman works in an office, she often finds herself with a bitter rival, who she must work closely with. "Oh she is trying to destroy me!!". This is often a little dramatic hyperbole.
Waxerman, Victoria: Neighborhood gossip and busybody where the Taylor's live. She is often seen walking her dog "Mr Snips". She has disapproved of Wendy for many years, but most likely this is due to a certain amount of jealousy that Wendy seemed to have a great career and an active lifestyle. Victoria was raised in the mountains but speaks like a walking thesaurus.
She thinks the world of Bill Taylor, who she considers to be a simple man trying to do what is right for his family. She thinks Chris is a simpleton, but she seems to like him. She thinks Jamie is salvageable but has fallen under her mother's "Jezebel" influence.
The family discovered that it was kind of amusing to push her buttons, tell her things to see how she reacts. She generally reacts with disgust, but she continues to stay seated, demanding to hear more, leading one to believe she secretly enjoys hearing all the sordid details. She introduced the family to what has become known as the "patented Waxerman Tabasco Colonic".
Author's Note: I based this character in part on a few influences. I describe her as half "Granny" and half "Mrs. Jane" from the Beverly hillbillies. She has equal parts "Mountain justice/old fashioned/fundamentalist" and the snooty intellectualism of Mrs. Jane. I would also say she makes me think about "Tammy Faye Bakker".
This is a section for me to stick some notes about some of the rules and things that I think may be worth noting, that are not people.
The Taylor Women's Bill of Rights (AKA Declaration of Independence) is introduced in ch. 1 of FF1. It contains nine articles that outline in broad terms the rules of the house. It never specifies anything kinky or sexual in nature. The intention was to use this to illustrate how structured and detailed Wendy could be, how organized in her thinking.
I find that sometimes people really enjoy it when I put specific rules or bullet point things in my stories to make them stand out.
"Bill's Bill" In ch.9 of FF2, we read about "Bill's Bill," it is Bill's attempt at being organized for his wife's benefit. He hasn't had a lot of time when he puts it together to change his nature as more of a 'play it by ear' kind of guy. He does a good job of trying to cover all his bases and outline the rules for the girls, but by contrast to the Taylor Women's Bill of Rights, his work is a sloppy, disorganized mess, with coffee rings and cross-outs on the papers he was working on.
It was my intention that it not be iron-clad and complete. Their journey is about realizing some of the loopholes and open for interpretation clauses. The family has had a discussion about amending the bill, to clarify some things that they needed to do.
The "Red Flag" is a clause where the family has a 'safety valve', it works kind of like a 'safe word' but is geared more towards discussion and resolving a conflict of rules.
One of the other aspects of Bill's Bill is the three tiered punishment system.
1. Infraction: There are 10 kinds of infraction punishments that can be administered, they are light punishments intended for day to day corrections. They have almost no oversight, and can be doled out at will. The best analogy I have for these, is they are like the spurs, riding crop and reins on a horse, intended not to be abused, but for use to get things done.
2. Correction: There are cards in a fishbowl that represent much more difficult punishments (although a tiny few are actually treats, so that the girls can hold out hope). The correction is for more serious rule breaking and follows a more formal process. At this point in the story, the girls have been such good girls, they haven't had many corrections.
3. Judgment: This is the highest level punishment. It is for the biggest issues there can be, sort of Bill's idea of a "Supreme Court" except only he gets to decide. (Which is interesting, because he told Chris they were equal in all things). So far, this has not come up in the story.
There are a few regular positions that come up every now and then.
Attention: This is a type of parade rest that was used in FF1, and is based on something Wendy had posed for in college. It involves standing straight up, eyes straight ahead, legs apart, hands behind you, resting on your ass cheeks.
The rest were introduced in FF2 or later:
Inspection position one/ "First Position": Stand up with legs shoulders width apart, chest out, head straight. Hands placed on ass cheeks pulling them both apart, and knees slightly bent.
Inspection position two/"second position": Bent at the waist, knees more bent, and holding ass apart,
Squat: Spread knees apart squatting, cup her tits with her hands, and look straight ahead. Ass should be parallel to the ground.
Curtsy: This is a formal curtsy, involving dropping the head (submissively), bending at the knee, and pulling one's skirt out (or imaginary skirt if naked).
Just a few of the more commonly used 'catch phrases', that people often find themselves using.
"pulled a Jamie!" - If you really like something, fudge ice cream, then Chris intends to say "Pulled a Jamie", he is looking forward to running into someone who really likes something so he can use the expression.
"bros before ho's" The Taylor men like to fist bump and say this. The girls have adopted a cute "ho's after bro's" fist bump in ironic solidarity with one another.
"Taylor men come first" intended as a double entendre, for cumming first in sex, this is one of the new household mantras from ff2
"boys rule, girls drool" this is based on a t-shirt that Jamie used to wear (which had the opposite sentiment) as a little girl. Apparently, it bothered Chris enough to remember it, and the guy's adopted it as their official house motto in FF2.
"You think your shit don't stink" - A common accusation of the girls, so much so it deserves mention. It is speaking to the fact that the girls really aren't as critical of themselves as they are the men.
"Give it the old college try" - A saying that Bill thinks is intended as an insult towards him, since he did not go to college. In FF3 we learn it's real meaning has been lost over time, and that Wendy originally told herself that when struggling to get through college, overcome difficult odds and be a good wife. Say something long enough and it's original context gets forgotten.
Easter eggs are a way of hiding little inside jokes, homages, "thank yous", and inspirations in a story. They are not supposed to be 'obvious', hence the reason you would have to hunt for them. I may have actually buried some other Easter eggs and simply forgot I did that. You will also find quotes (and famous misquotes), jokes and pop culture references throughout the story. I am not sure if those would really qualify as "Easter Eggs". I did try to cuss in several different languages (German, Chinese). I'll keep at that.
I have enjoyed slipping in actual information into the story, the history of enemas for instance. Some things.
Here is a list of some of the Easter Eggs that I can remember including by story:
Family Feud One:
The Griffin brothers are named for the brothers in "Big Valley"; Jarrod, Nick and Heath. I am not a fan of the show or anything. It just seemed humorous to me.
Family Feud Two:
In Chico's tattoo parlor, the kids in the waiting room are from another story I wrote called "Hard Times".
Family Feud Three:
At Mikey's tattoo gazebo, the woman who is finishing her tattoo is from another story I wrote called "Hard Times", she is "Aunt Crystal". She is also apparently an ex-girlfriend of Mikey.
The Chang Twins, Robert and Neil are a play on words, for "Bob and Kneel".
Some of the people who talk to (or avoid) the girls when they are dancing in front of Chang's are based on people who have written to me about the story. At least, their alter-egos are what I think they may be like.
In Chapter Seven of FF3, I refer to something that happened verbatim in Chapter Seven of FF2.
In Chapter Twelve, I mention a fight breaks out between two girls. I plan to have this to appear in a future story from the perspective of the girls fighting.