Me, Myself and My FanFic Characters....

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by excalibur2358, Jan 30, 2002.

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  1. excalibur2358

    excalibur2358 Jedi Padawan star 4

    Dec 13, 2000
    Okay, I know this topic may have been done before, and I know it's kind of broad, but everyone probably knows about the characters that authors come up with that are the projection of what they wish they were. I believe they are called Mary Sue's or something along those lines. One example is Corran Horn and Mike Stackpole- Corran is Stackpole's character, hands down. A more obvious one is Luke to THE FLANNELED ONE WHOM SHALL REMAIN NAMELESS.

    Now, that's not really a bad thing, as far as I'm concerned. So here are a few ideas that may present interesting answers. How much of YOURSELF do you put in your character- aka, your personality, your quirks, etc. Have you created a character that you wish you would meet (dream girl, dream buddy, etc.)? And what do you do to make your character unique?

    I'll post my thoughts later, but I'm interested in hearing what other people have to say. excal
  2. JediGaladriel

    JediGaladriel Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 3, 1999
    I think every character we write -- established as well as original -- will inevitably reflect us as writers. How we understand the world is bound to have an impact on how we understand Star Wars characters (a brief look at all the different interpretations of the canon characters is enough to show that we aren't necessarily all seeing the same thing). Though I think that ultimately, it will lead writers to write certain established characters more frequently than others, rather than change the ones they don't get. (Eg, I write Padme/Amidala a lot more frequently than I write Han, because she seems to be more of a person I can understand and identify with, and whose values I'm more likely to share.)

    That said...

    Hmmm. Most of my characters at least try to behave rationally, and I treat their lapses -- their slips into overpassionate tirades or wallowing in other emotional excesses -- as failures, which is in line with the way I tend to treat my own life. Most of them have very strong emotions -- Dritali Neral has a very nasty past and a lot of anger about it, and it tends to slip out when she's pushed -- but fight to find a way to control themselves and exert power over their baser instincts.

    Quirk-wise, I suppose I have quite a few historians or other researching types. I'm a librarian. I tend to think in terms of people running to a book as a matter of course.

    I must give this more thought. ;)
  3. excalibur2358

    excalibur2358 Jedi Padawan star 4

    Dec 13, 2000
    Jedi Galadriel- I believe what you say 100 percent, I think with any story, not neccesarily SW fanfics, reflects the author's personality and moods.

    Okay, personally, my character Jace Pendragon is really a balance. A lot of his personality and nature are based off of me- his determination, his inquisitiveness, the sarcasm and also his mood swings- he's not had the easiest path. I haven't had it as rough as he did, but I guess I channeled some of the isolation I had from moving into his character. And I have my own problem dealing with stress and anger occasionally, and that is definitely a Jace weakness. He also tries too hard at times and that most definitely is something I need to work on.

    Then again, Jace also has his better qualities. His interaction between Arcturus is very similar to my frienship with Grand Admiral Jaxx- we keep each other in check. Kellilyn Corsaire is I guess the girlfriend I wish I had (although things are looking up), but in any case, she is more of a dream girl rather than being based off of anyone I know.

  4. NarundiJedi

    NarundiJedi Jedi Master star 6

    Oct 8, 2001
    Well, I believe that I make characters that are what I want to be and then I make characters that are who I am so I can contrast them. I often make them a part of the same family for the added closeness. But even my ideal characters have their slip-ups (like Jedi_Galadriel said, I treat them as a failure for that particular person) because there's nothing more boring than a perfect character.
    My favorite character, Brodaeus Narundi (called Brodey) has a lot of ideal qualities, like being an excellent combat fighter both with a lightsaber and with hand-to-hand, and like being a good enough pilot to take Jaina's place in Rogue Squadron when she leaves to train with Kyp. He's also a computational wiz and he understands the basic workings of machines much like Anakin did. However, he's tormented by the guilt of being the reason for his family's demise. He's also a recovering alcoholic and drug addict. (Note: I've never been either of these things) Still, he faces all these challenges and then the Vong besides and he still comes out on top, gets the girl, takes back his rightful place at the head of his family, etc. It's as close to perfect as I dare to get.
    Then there's his sister, Li'aania. She's more like me. She's got a sarcastic sense of humor, a little too much of a temper, a quick wit. She's always competing with her brothers. She's a spoiled little princess because she's the youngest. I also decided to make her short for her species, just for added kicks. ;) And it's fun to see the characters interact. If only I didn't have so much hw to do and I could continue writing this! :(

    Jae Angel
  5. Herman Snerd

    Herman Snerd Jedi Master star 6

    Oct 31, 1999
    I always try to remind myself that a person is defined as much by his faults as by his virtues.

    Consequently, my original character, Calep Seth, was a lot less perfect in the third story than he was in the original.

    But basically he reacts the way I would and thinks the way I do. If he didn't I wouldn't like him as much, and why would I have a main character I don't like?
  6. Darth_Fruitcake

    Darth_Fruitcake Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jan 18, 2001
    I think my OC's are a lot like me, but there are some slight differences, so they're alter-egos instead of carbon-copies ;)
  7. Jane Jinn

    Jane Jinn Jedi Knight star 5

    Jan 12, 2000
    For me, it all depends on whether I'm writing from that character's POV, or whether I'm writing the character solely as seen by others. My main characters tend to have a lot of myself in them. Of course I try to take only my best qualities (such as all the things I've learned as a parent) when writing Qui-Gon, for instance. Obi-Wan is the part of myself who still has things to learn.

    I can write characters from the "outside" who are completely different to me. That is, I show their actions, but not their thoughts or motivations. If I had to get inside their heads, they'd probably end up being very similar to me as well. Any villains would have similarities to me on a bad day.

    I'm currently working on trying to break away from this trend, jump over my own shadow, and create main characters who have less and less of myself in them, until I can write people who are completely different from me. But that's going to take a while...a long while.
  8. Qwi_Xux

    Qwi_Xux Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 5, 2001
    I put a lot of myself into my characters. For instance, I wrote three stories about Anakin Solo and Tahiri Veila. In the second one, their daughter was born, and she was four in the third. So I went ahead and started a story about her. In a LOT of ways, I put myself into her. A lot of my quirks, stubborness, silliness, and sometimes seriousness all go into her--as a character, she's become very dear to me.
  9. Casper_Knightshade

    Casper_Knightshade Force Ghost star 6

    Oct 18, 2000
    Given that many consider me to be psychotic, including myself, I can safely say that the characters I write tend to be based from my multiple personality disorder.

    Undiagnosed, of course. ;)

    I do indeed have parts of myself in my characters, but I do strive to make them completely not me.

    Now if you excuse me, the voices in my head tell me to let my sock post next.
  10. excalibur2358

    excalibur2358 Jedi Padawan star 4

    Dec 13, 2000
    Casper- everyone's a little nuts.

    As I've said before- I'm not nuts. I'm merely eccentric. And yes, there's a difference.:)

    One thing I did notice after looking over older drafts of my story Dynasty's Dawn and GA Jaxx's shared story Hand of Fate- my character Jace Pendragon has the recurring trait of being very introverted in his thoughts and seems to have his down moments where he seems very similar to a dark sider. And I guess I'm the same way.

    Come on people,I know more people out there write their characters like themselves in one way or another. Speak up! Excal
  11. Angelic_Sith

    Angelic_Sith Jedi Youngling star 3

    Aug 6, 2000
    I can't really say that mine are all like me. Though a couple of mains tend to strike a certain resemblence now and then. Well..come to think of it, maybe they do.

    Let's see. There's Sara: who consquently goes by many names, like me. She also has this feeling of not belonging most of the time, again like me. She also has some of my physical characteristics. Though I would have to say her strong will is definitely not me.

    Then there's Tal'ane: I tend to think of her as my darker half. She does everything I wouldn't...and with a bit of dark glee too.

    Let's can't think of any others that really fit anything close to me. But they're bound to pop up now and again.
  12. excalibur2358

    excalibur2358 Jedi Padawan star 4

    Dec 13, 2000
    UP! More comments people! excal

    FELICIA_ZEZILI Jedi Youngling star 3

    Aug 5, 2001
    If it is an established character like Obi-Wan, who I write about mostly, I try to stick with the personality that was first given (I had a better way to say that but it slipped my mind)and not go with what I would do or feel if that was me, but my original characters their based on mostly people around me. I have two charcters named Amaele and Drell and they are based on two friends that I sit with at lunch Sean and April. They are close friends but always bickering and making fun of one another. So when I came up with Amaele and Drell that element of my life made it's way into the story.
    ofcourse I have characters that have a few of my traits (and problems). Like Kelilah Vali she's smart but thats the result of isulating herself from other people.

    The thing i don't get is why people are saying Mary sue's are bad. I've been hearing that lately and I just don't see the problem.
  14. Angel_Blue01

    Angel_Blue01 Jedi Master star 2

    Nov 28, 2001
    Hee hee...

    I am a character in my fanfics...
  15. Princess1

    Princess1 Jedi Padawan star 4

    Dec 3, 2001
    I think its impossible to write any character, orignal or not without putting at least some of yourself into it. Other wise its alot harder to put genuine emotions into your character, if you couldn't feel it, how could you know they could?

    I don't get why people say mary-sues are always bad, as long as people make the character fit the univirse, and not drop a typical teenager into star wars, or something like that, its not a problem.

    I for one have always put alot of myself into characters, if I write a sad post, or something thats very emotional in it, I find after writing it I am as emotionally tired as my characters.

    But of course it depends on the character how much of myself I put into it. Like some of the villains, I could never think or do many of the thing that some of them do, its just beyond me, but I can understand how someone else could feel it. I've done acting since I was five, and I've played a large varity of roles, from a tottaly innoccent character, to a villianess, to a seducteress, etc. So in a way, writing a character is like playing a role.

    But I have to say the character that I have put the most into was my OC Talnissa. She started out as almost my alter ego in fact in many ways. She looked like me in a indealized sort of way, she has long blonde hair and blue eyes, and so do I, except her hair had blue streaks in it, and mine does not. She is half Chiss, which obviously, I am not. But she has many of the same personality traits I do. She has a rather sarcastic sense of humor, and can at times seem at bit cynical, but really is very sensitive inside. She is often forced to hide her sensitivity from most the world in order to protect herself, only when someone manages to get close to her do they see that sensitivty. I guess you could say she is a wounded idealist.

    So she started out like me in many ways, except, I guess more extreme, I'm no where near as emotionally tramatized as she is, so I guess you could say she reacted to things in much the way I might have, if I was her. Which of course I am not.

    But I found her becomming one of my readers favorite characters, and everyone seemed to almost actcept her as a real person, and really worry about her if something bad happend in my story etc, or be happy if something good happend to her. So I think by putting so much of myself into her I made her alot more real, in fact, she is one of those characters that just seemed to take on a life of their own and write themselves. So I think, that putting some of yourself into your characters is a good thing, as long as you know how much to put in, depending upon the character.

    Ok, :p , I'll stop babbling now. ;)

  16. Melyanna

    Melyanna Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jul 19, 2001
    Well, with so many comments on Mary Sues, I thought I might drop in and tell people this - I wrote an article on Mary Sues for the fan fic archive entitled "The Trouble with Mary." In part of it, I explained why Mary Sues are troublesome in the GFFA. (Incidentally, a character based on the author isn't necessarily a Mary Sue; nor is a Mary Sue necessarily a character based on the author.) I also wrote this regarding characters based on the author.

    [blockquote]Another common version of Mary Sue is an autobiographical character. This is especially prevalent in first-person stories, simply due to the style of narration. The self-insertion trap is an easy one to fall into - after all, who wouldn't want to live vicariously through a character based on himself, who becomes a Jedi and mingles with the great characters we know and love? Yet, this trap, while deceptively safe and alluring, can be even more irritating than the aforementioned perfect Mary Sue.

    (An interesting side note should be mentioned here - quite often the perfect Mary Sue and the autobiographical Mary Sue appear in conjunction. After all, who wouldn't want a character based on himself to be paired with such a perfect being?)

    It's not so much that the characteristics of the character are annoying (though some would say that while a character based on you is interesting to you, it might not be so interesting to everyone else) - it's that these types often become the mouthpiece for the author's thematic meaning in the story. What results are long-winded speeches and flowery narrations in which the author expresses his philosophies and beliefs on an assortment of issues. While this can be a good way of developing themes, caution should be taken. Readers of fan fiction tend to be more interested in being entertained than being enlightened, and those who read only for enjoyment are likely to be turned off by a character who preaches on every other page. While it's perfectly acceptable to develop themes and express moral opinions in a story, it's often more effective and more powerful to do this through the plot and the characters' actions - speeches should be kept to a minimum.[/blockquote]

    Hope you find that helpful.

  17. zeekveerko

    zeekveerko Jedi Knight star 5

    Apr 30, 2002
    i never heard of this infectious disease called mary sue-ism until i started hanging out in this writer's forum.
    i may have been guilty of it in the past, but i don't think i do it anymore.
    i've found that inserting certain personality traits from people i know helps to add a bit of originality to each character. they all think along a seperate track, and i try to determine what that path is before i make them speak.
    for instance, i have a friend who is slightly nuts, so when i need a character to act crazy i reference what my friend would do, which is a huge contrast to what i would do in any given situation.
    of course there are many other factors involved. for the most part i let the characters speak for themselves, to the point where each person in the room exists within my head and interjects accordingly.
  18. excalibur2358

    excalibur2358 Jedi Padawan star 4

    Dec 13, 2000
    Wow, I had forgotten all about my own any case, my opinion since posting this has not changed- inserting one's personality into a character can be a good thing. The only time it may be negative is, I think, like what Mel said- if your character becomes a preacher every scene.

    excal the protector
  19. Various

    Various Jedi Youngling star 2

    May 15, 2002
    Interesting topic.

    Sometimes the whole 'Mary-Sue' thing becomes a problem. Creating an idealized image of yourself who can do no wrong and exists in a fantasy world where all your favorite characters are and they all like you. Textbook escapisim and not exactly good for the mental health. Sure we all have our little fantasies from time to time where everything goes right but this is not reality. Reality is hardship and from the popularity of the 'angst' fics we can also see it has being something people like to read about.

    Of course has been said before that every character you write has a little bit of you in them holds true. It's like the saying about writing what you know. You are a real person whom you know about and using your own qualities makes your characters more believeable.

    But all too often I find people putting themselves into the 'good guys' who like I said before, can do no wrong. Like when I was doing some email RPG thing, everyone jumped at every opprotunity to be the hero. And in these stories the bad guys are always so flat and unbeliveable.

    Well, that's my two cents. :)
  20. PtrsonsZOO

    PtrsonsZOO Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Jul 30, 2001
    The way I have managed to avoid this phenomenon is to make that "Mary-Sue" a non-plot driven side character. I am a cameo in my my own stories. It still gives you that connection to the story, but it doesn't take away from the story itself.

    One of the hardest things to write, is something you aren't intimately familiar with. And of course all of the books tell you to write what you know. However, that doesn't mean that you can't reach into in an unknown area while still holding onto that which is known. I can write about the politics & bureacracy of the military life (which I have no knowledge of), while still holding onto the personal sacrifice of service (which I know a lot about).

    Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to step out into the unknown, which is why Mary-Sues are so hard to give up.
  21. Lilith Demodae

    Lilith Demodae Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Oct 1, 1999
    Oh gosh, what a question. I suppose it depends on the character. I've got one who is me straight down the line, while another is who I'd like to be, and another is part me and part my sister (I'll let my readers guess which is which;)). I get my characters from people I see/know/meet. I write down details of verbal and physical mannerisms, whether I'm at work or at home or out to a movie.

    As far as writing different characters, I'm not sure you could really write a convincing character that you had absolutely nothing in common with. If that were so, it would be difficult indeed to understand the character and if you don't understand your own character no one else will and the story will be triply hard to write. On the other hand, it would be much easier to dredge up some hidden or little used aspect of your own personality and emphasize it all out of proportion. This would give you a character unlike you, but that you could still identify with and hence write a bit more easily than one you had to struggle with constantly.

    I go out of my way to try and come up with new and different lead characters than I've used in the past, but some people don't bother and do quite well with it. Louis L'Amour wrote over 200 novels and short stories and 90% of his characters were the same guy, just with a slightly different set of physical specs.

    How ever you do your characters, it's all good as long as you can tell a good story and the characters are interesting.
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