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''Hey, I Was Using That 4th Wall!''

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by poor yorick, Jan 15, 2008.

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  1. The_Face

    The_Face Ex-Manager star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 22, 2003
    [link=]The self-realization challenge[/link] that Striker did was a good exercise in breaking the fourth wall.

    I don't really chat with my characters. I'm just the stenographer for their conversations amongst themselves.

    I do however sometimes wonder how any given OC would handle a particular situation I meet in RL as an exercise in finding the differences between them. The weirdest thing I've done is probably giving my two main characters the Meyer-Briggs personality test. I fell pretty much directly between them, which implies some slightly scary things about my mental stability. :p
  2. leiamoody

    leiamoody Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Nov 8, 2005
    I did the Meyers-Briggs with my characters once. I didn't like the results...they felt stale somehow. So I went off in search of Jungian archetypes I could put in a blender and mix up into quirky character cocktails that taste good with vermouth.

    I almost did that self-realization challenge, except I couldn't find any conscious tropes among my characters at the time. Now I've discovered one that actually involves one SW OC, and another OC for a different fandom. Maybe it should be called a theme instead of a trope...a nicotine addicted psychic medium, what does one call that exactly?
  3. Laine_Snowtrekker

    Laine_Snowtrekker Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jul 8, 2003
    I have never spoken with fanfic characters, even my OC.

    Original characters now...I plead the Fifth. [face_whistling] Just kidding. I do. I act out scenes. I pretend to be characters, etc.,

  4. BrentusofGath

    BrentusofGath Jedi Padawan star 4

    Aug 12, 2005
    Why yes, yes I have. :p

    On one of my favorite stories, I had a character I based on a good friend of mine. Close to the end, he was battling a Sith, and I wanted him to live, but the Sith said, 'uh-uh, stupid writer; he dies... now!' And cut him down like a dog. Not only that, it wasn't really even the Sith who did it, she got the guy's faithful Wookie companion to do it for her. Talk about harsh, man.

    And then my friend says: "You... killed me, dude! What did I ever do to you?"

    Anyway, that should teach me for dealing with a Sith. :p
  5. 1Yodimus_Prime

    1Yodimus_Prime Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 13, 2004
    Ophelia: I thinking...Hurcules: the Legendary Journies ? They had some bizarre episodes..

    I notice a lot of people play by the 'in Russia, character write YOU' rule.
    For me, this only happens in fits and starts. When it comes to what a character is supposed to do, I've usually decided their actions for them, and they're gonna do what I say, damn it, or I'm turning this car right around. But they're rogues, that's for sure. I can't go more than a couple chapters before one or more characters attempts to escape their destiny ? even something as simple as waiting for a cab. You'd think they'd be cool with that, but nooo, they gotta go wander, and you didn't PLAN for wandering to happen in this city, because it's a made up city on a planet with a half-paragraph entry in wookiepedia, so you only intended the scene for filler. So now you're stumbling to catch up and keep reality from unravelling, and boom! Murder Mystery. Freakin' bunch of subversive, underhanded rapscallions is what OCs are, I tells ya. The whole lot of 'em.

    Never talk to me directly, though.
    ...though sometimes I'll catch a knowing wink from Yodimus.
  6. Luton_Plunder

    Luton_Plunder Jedi Knight star 3

    Jun 15, 2006
    Yodimus, can I recruit you as an ambassador for the OC index? With that kind of sales pitch we can't go wrong :p

    I actually have a question for the masses. Along the lines of what Yod said, alot of writers tend to let their OCs run away with the story (often with spectacular results). Now, I'm a fastidious planner and plotter - I like to know exactly what's going to happen and when. That usually means a fully plotted and constructed plot outline (sometimes nearly as long as the fic itself).

    I'm interested to know if this interaction between an author and a character happens as part of the planning process, or whether it happens in spite of the planning process. Do these interviews/conversations/whathaveyou occur because the story isn't planned yet, and can be used as a tool to shape the story? Or do they occur after the story is planned and forcibly move the story in a different direction?

    I'm just being nosy, really :p
  7. MarasFire

    MarasFire Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 14, 2007
    That's how it is with me.

    I've never had an actual conversation with characters but sometimes I'll dream about them and then implement the dream into a story. So I suppose they do write for their own stories.
  8. MsLanna

    MsLanna Jedi Master star 6

    Jul 8, 2005
    Luton, usually, I don't. I tell the story, and if the characters don't like it, they can try if somebody else does it.[face_not_talking]
    But there are exceptions. Take Leila for exapmle. Pretty, cold assassin and no joking. She insisted to get some Jango love :rolleyes:, but not in my sotries. Not that she stopped nagging, so I gave in and began a series of viggies which did not happen, as far as the main stories are concerned.
    I have no problems with smaller things like finding out she loves to swim or something, but the plot is mine. *glares protectively*

    The only time I let the characters run free with the plot, is when I don't have any. Better they cover that up as good as possible than everybody noticing.[face_whistling]
  9. SithGirl132

    SithGirl132 Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 6, 2005
    I think the only time that I had characters really run away with me was in a story where I planned my OC to die, and then she came back to life... Actually, that wasn't half that bad.
    And another story where I'd not planned for either main character to die, but by the time I wrote the end, it was essential that they both die to make the story complete. It's so annoying when that happens!
    I got a really good bunny from a dream recently, but of course I didn't write the dream down. It even seemed like something that could happen...
    It seems like every time I plan a villain to live, they die, and vice versa. It's all the arguing about whether to do it that really gets on my nerves!
  10. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Master star 5

    Oct 11, 2005
    I'm not sure if I'm the only one, but I make updates to my Self-Realization challenge, talking with characters and exploring why I like or dislike working with them. These are all cannon characters. No OCs to date. I've updated 4 times since the intial post.
  11. Star-Foozle

    Star-Foozle Jedi Youngling star 2

    Aug 24, 2006
    *raises hand* Oh, man, I'm so guilty of this. [face_blush]

    I hold mental conversations with my characters all the time, both to see how they react when I'm messing around with a story idea and just to pass the time if I'm bored. They invade my dreams quite a lot, too.

    Sometimes I'll discover traits about my OCs that I don't particularly like, but they refuse to let me change. I've learned to give my own characters a good amount of independence, because otherwise they rebel or go on strike. And then usually convince my muse to leave as well. Terrible blackmailers, the lot of them. *sigh*

    Occasionally I'll try to make them do something they don't want to, and that never ends well. I remember picking a fight with Dooku, once. I tried to use him in this challenge that he absolutely refused to take part in, and he pretty much walked out on me. Needless to say, I missed the challenge deadline, but it did spawn an interesting bit of meta-fic that I dubbed Excuses. *gestures towards profile*

    It's good to see that I'm not the only crazy one around here. 8-} :p
  12. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Jedi Grand Master star 9

    Mar 26, 2001
    I've already done one self-realization and have another one planned. Both are apologies to my characters and my readers for me writing the way I do and trying to make sense of what the voices in my head tell me.
  13. poor yorick

    poor yorick Ex-Mod star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA VIP - Game Host

    Jun 25, 2002
    Yeah, I do that. :p My 4th wall seems to only open from my side--characters won't talk to me on their own--although they do sometimes balk and get squirrely if they get "orders" they don't think suit them.

    Just from having started to think about this sort of thing, I've decided that it's probably a good idea to check in with my characters relatively often--just on general principles. For instance, I've been working on a scene lately that I don't hate, but don't love. I ended up sort of parking it for the time being. Today I "visited" the major characters involved, just for the heck of it, and the central one pointed out to me that I'd given him two different motivations in that scene. He tells me he's someone who really can only deal with one motivation at a time, and if he's truly conflicted, it's not subtle. When he's confused, the scene's likely to stop dead until he sorts himself out. Actually, he said, "Who the hell do you think I am, Obi-Wan?!" :p

    I've done a lot of pre-ROTS fic that runs to the psychologically-realistic end of the spectrum, so habit has shoved me in the wrong direction for this particular fic. The source material is very stylized, and nobody acts like a normal human being. I actually picked that universe especially for the challenge factor and the chance to do something different.

    Thanks to my crabby character (whose sole requirement for working with me was that he "get some)," I'll probably be able to kick that scene into shape.
  14. mavjade

    mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Sep 10, 2005
    I do something very similar, I fall asleep visualizing and putting my characters in crazy situations. I've always played stories like movies in my mind as I am falling asleep, but since I've started writing fanfic I do the stories with characters. I can't fall asleep without doing this (I call them 'night-night stories' [face_blush]) so I get to play with my characters every night. (That kinda didn't sound right! :p )

    The only problem is I'll be almost asleep and then something or someone demands to be written and they don't take no for an answer.
  15. YodaKenobi

    YodaKenobi VIP star 6 VIP

    May 27, 2003
    Never experienced this phenomenon.
  16. leiamoody

    leiamoody Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Nov 8, 2005
    At The Casa De Weirdo (a lovely twenty-acre estate where the characters and my writerly self go to meet in my imagination), the "interactions" with the characters rarely happen as part of a specific planning process. It's more organic and free-flowing, kind of like a breakdancing amoeba. I have ideas for scenes, imagery for settings, abstract concepts I'd like to explore (sometimes, if I'm feeling extra metaphysical). They come to the imaginary table with ideas, imagery, and concepts of their own. Soon, an outline is formed. Then scenarios and plots get added and subtracted based on whims, influences rising up from the subconscious, etc. These additions and subtractions will of course alter the storyline at certain points. But everything I create is fluid, and I ultimately like that approach, even if it is frustrating in the short-term.

    For me, it's not always writing so much as it is painting a series of frescoes.
  17. Persephone_Kore

    Persephone_Kore Jedi Master star 4

    Jan 19, 2006
    I have nothing useful to contribute to the conversation right now, but I wanted to say that I will treasure the image of a breakdancing amoeba. Thank you.
  18. The_Face

    The_Face Ex-Manager star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 22, 2003
    On the topic of characters influencing a plot, I usually keep a pretty good leash on my OCs. The plot doesn't stray much from plan, with the exception of finding the odd scene here and there I have to add or delete for clarity's/simplicity's/efficiency's/whatever's sake. Being primarily a mystery writer, I have to stick pretty much to plan.

    My characters typically do as they're told up until the nitty-gritty details of a scene. They tend to run away with things particularly in dialogue sections. I jump in the shoes/boots/sandals/stilettos (it hurts when they're smaller than 11s) of the characters in question, and react along with them. So even though I know the scene has to produce a discussion on the victim's lightsaber wound, if Detective A says something Detective B would find offensive, it's likely coming up because for now I'm Detective B and we are outraged. And pretty soon I have a character-building battle of words in the middle of what should have been a plot-forwarding investigation.

    It's things like that where the characters "have control". But really, I am. Because, for all the poetic language here, the characters aren't real. My cast members have wills and personalities of their own, but they're all in my head. I'm the whole Dramatis Personae, and they're all me. So if an OC isn't doing what I want her to, that's because one level of my brain knows the character better than another.

    What I'm rambling on about is I don't hear voices like a crazy person; I'm schizophrenic like a crazy person. :p
  19. LeiaLovesHan

    LeiaLovesHan Jedi Youngling

    Nov 2, 2007
    I understand schiztophrenia. My friends and I used to write schiztophrenic birthday letters (cards are silly and too small for the arguments between us and our many characters) to each other.
    They often became quite dangerous. Lots of injuries... Yep! Fun times.
  20. leiamoody

    leiamoody Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Nov 8, 2005
    Well, that works for you, but I prefer if my characters would take over more often. As a group, they're far more intelligent, more talented, and better-looking than their appointed scribe. This of course would lead to far more intriguing fics than what happens in the "we'll call you on the Twelfth of Never" approach that currently takes place. It would certainly mean I could write all these stories more quickly. At this rate, I'll have to live until I'm seventy before everything's done.

    Apparently, characters can dictate your lifespan, too. :oops:

    Is it illegal to carbon-freeze your characters and thaw them out when necessary? :p
  21. Aiel

    Aiel Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 14, 2004
    I usually confine my arguments with my characters to my PM notifications, (arguments with Yoda and Han usually which I let all my PM listers to be privy too.)

    However if it's a comedy like A Skywalker Family Vacation, I have gotten into arguments with Anakin Skywalker and Mara, mostly over story direction just to poke a bit of fun at overly dramatic actors and zealous directors. ;)
  22. silverfighter

    silverfighter Jedi Knight star 4

    Apr 28, 2007

    That happens to me as well. No matter who I am writing about for the next few days they are me and I am them. This is kinda confusing, but sometimes when I am one of my characters I am another character at the same time as well, knowing what they both think and feel, and when I have two of my characters talking to each other I can flip back and forth between the two, and almost literally see what each is seeing when they are speaking.

    I hope that made sense... :p
  23. LeiaLovesHan

    LeiaLovesHan Jedi Youngling

    Nov 2, 2007
    I'm an actress, so I totally understand what you mean. I'm probably Leia 24/7 with brief deviations when I work on my Pirates or Harry Potter stories... Yay for multiple personalities/characters!!! :D
  24. Broken_Circle

    Broken_Circle Jedi Youngling star 1

    Apr 24, 2007
    I am so glad that I'm not the only one who does this! None of my friends write fanfic so they don't have these issues and don't understand how I can have characters that won't obey me. I don't usually have verbal conversations with the characters but I do find that if I concentrate too long on one character I begin to act like that character. (Not a good thing when I'm dealing with an irritable character, I can tell you!) And has anyone ever noticed that characters talk to you most often when you don't have time to write down what they're saying?
  25. 1Yodimus_Prime

    1Yodimus_Prime Jedi Master star 4

    Mar 13, 2004
    Yep. Right as I'm laying down to bed, that's when I get the most epiphanies.
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