Sekai kawarazu. Watashi kawarazu.

Glittering reverie, flickering imagination

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[writing meta] That Pesky Author/Character Divide
Helden
sailorvfan10 wrote in kirakiraunmei
What is the author/character divide?
It's basically that invisible barrier that keeps you and the character separate so what you think, feel, and react to does not get in the way of what the character thinks, feels, and reacts. Depending on how 'close' (i.e. how much you relate) to a character you are is how wide the divide is. The thinner it is, the more careful you have to be to keep yourself separate from the character(s) you're writing.

What I have noticed at times in fanfiction is this: Sometimes people get really carried away when they relate to a character, to the point where they break that wall that separates you from the character. So you don't know if you're writing how the CHARACTER would react or how YOU would personally react.

I don't want to read about you, I want to read about the character. If I want to read about how you feel, think, etc. then I will read your Livejournal. I am reading fic about Marth because I want to read about him, not about you speaking through him.

It's no secret that I can relate to Marth. It's probably not a good thing that I can, even. We both like to 'suffer with a smile' and our lives have largely been planned by other people (until recently for me, when I basically told everyone to fuck off). Marth and I have faced different hardships, but the psychological issues are largely the same. The divide between him and I is extremely thin, so it'd be easy for me to unconsciously, you know, speak through him. My problem is more me getting extremely entrenched in a character's emotions, but anyway.

Marth is not me, and I am not Marth, however. Marth does not react the same way I do, he does not think the same things I do, and he doesn't feel the same I do. First of all, I would have slit Jiol's throat for what he did to my country, right then and there in the Prologue. Yeah, fuck you, I'd say. I hope you burn in Hell. Marth could have, for all I know, thought this, but he did not slit Jiol's throat in the Prologue anyway or tell him to go fuck himself. His reaction his father's death was the complete opposite of mine--my reaction to my father's death was more like his reaction to Liza's.

There is a difference between using life experiences--"writing what you know"--and changing them to suit a character, and writing about your life experiences and changing the character so it fits. The character should be writing through you, you should not be writing through them.

Sometimes authors become attached to their darlings to the point where that divide disappears sometimes. I do not want to read about you, I want to read about the character.

A writer does put a piece of themselves into everything they write. But they shouldn't throw all of themselves into whatever they are writing. I should still recognise, say, Lyndis as being Lyndis, Marth being Marth, Ike being Ike, etc. etc. instead of Marth being just an extension of whoever's writing him at the moment. Marth is his own person, he is not you.

Sometimes you need to remember this.

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You know, I am certainly not the most talented or experienced fic author in the world, but I can confidently say that this is an issue I have never really had to deal with. For me it's so easy to separate myself from another character and see things how they would that it's a little strange.

Of course, in general I am pretty talented at feeling disconnected from certain things, so perhaps I fostered that skill with fanfiction as well. :)

Excellent essay, dear. :D Thanks to this I actually started making a list of characters and how they'd react in certain situations compared to how I would.

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