Who’s Your ‘Bernard’?

'Bernard' in Four Weddings & A Funeral

‘Bernard’ in Four Weddings & A Funeral

Now, if that’s not the strangest question you’ve been asked today, I’ll eat my hat!

(Talking of strange, this morning I overhead a woman who works in the village shop, say to her colleague, “I’m going to take those two HobNobs sideways, if you know what I mean…” And he did, apparently!)

Anyway, I’m going off track… I’ve written about this before (and goodness, what an ENORMOUS photo of a goat! What was I thinking?), but I’ve always been fascinated by the way screenwriter Richard Curtis pops a character called ‘Bernard’ into his films and sitcoms. (Read my old post to understand why).

Now, come on, you must have a ‘Bernard’ of your own? Someone you’d really like to take a little bit of revenge on by putting them in a story?

But hush-my-mouth, we’re not supposed to do things like that are we, in case we get sued?

Well, I threw caution to the wind with a story I sent to Take A Break recently and gave the horrible main character the name of a bullying old boss of mine. TAB don’t like my stories, so it’s very unlikely to see the light of day. Ah, but it was very therapeutic to write, as I gave her the come-uppance she deserved!

So, you may not be able to reveal his/her name but come on, spill the beans about your very own ‘Bernard’ and the plans you have for him/her in your writing! You know you want to!

P.S: We only need 17 more subscribers, to get to 300 and then I’ll be running a writing competition…

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16 Responses to Who’s Your ‘Bernard’?

  1. Hi Helen, who’s your Bernard isn’t the strangest question I’ve been asked today. We have only a few weeks left in our shop, and the stock is going down fast. Someone asked us today if we wanted to set up a table!! yes, outside her house.!! (‘hello’ ground to planet earth are you still with me,) on the grass….. All I could see was hubby’s face looking like ‘WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU ON ABOUT’ written all over it. He said. ‘Thank you for the offer’ and walked off. Then she said the same to me… Thank goodness someone else was waiting to talk so I branched off. Isn’t life funny. Keep sending to TAB. I do, they send back but one day maybe… The lady who offered us a patch of grass outside her house. (scuse me while I stop laughing) told us, ‘the kids used to do that.’ Honestly, folk.

  2. Michaela Eyley says:

    Hi Helen
    Let me know when that story gets published as I’d love to read it. I think I may have a couple of Bernards, mostly connected to work as well. 🙂 Wouldn’t know how to put it in a story though.

  3. Jackie Sayle says:

    I’ve got at least four Bernards, but mine are Bernadettes. Hope we get to read your story, Helen.

  4. I have quite a number of Bernards and Bernadettes, a couple stretching back to my childhood. Sometimes I change their name completely, sometimes a little, and once, not at all. It’s always very therapeutic though!

  5. Bernadette says:

    I don’t know whether to be flattered or offended!!

    I’ll have to see if I recognise myself in any upcoming stories 🙂

  6. Jackie Sayle says:

    Oops! I’m sure you are not any of our Bernadettes, Bernadette. 🙂

  7. Linda says:

    I always try to avoid using the names of anyone I know in case they read it and think I’m writing about them, when I’m not!
    I once had a very nosy neighbour and I got my revenge by writing a story about a woman who successfully deals with a nosy neighbour. I didn’t use my real neighbour’s name but now I wish I’d had the courage to show it to her when the story was published. She would have been furious to know I’d made some money out of her!

    • But do you think she would have recognised herself, Linda? Most people don’t, when they’re portrayed in a bad light!


      • Michaela Eyley says:

        Really Helen? That would get my antennae twitching I have to say but maybe I wouldn’t recognise myself. Not tried that one out yet.

      • Linda says:

        Probably not. She wanted to know everything about everyone and didn’t seem to understand that people were offended when she asked very personal questions.

  8. Jackie Sayle says:

    I know/have known so many people that it would be very hard not to include one of their names. I’m sure it’s the same for most of us. I set the names to the era, change them to ones of the same ilk if I’m writing about a real person and hope for the best.

  9. KH says:

    Thanks for this, Helen. I’ve just rewritten one of the characters from my novel – ex work colleague, as I don’t want to get sued! On the rejection front I’ve just had the ultimate rejection. I sent my own story back to me! Good wishes KH

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