1. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Is it considered pretentious to have a character that's a writer in your story?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Link the Writer, Mar 29, 2011.

    The reason I ask this is because Shalyman recieved flak in his Lady in the Water movie by creating a character that was a struggling author and had a critic that he used as a punching bag.

    So...is it?
     
  2. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    No, I don't think so. Why would it be? It's your story :)
     
  3. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Stephen King's been doing it since year zero. With him, I think it's more of a write what you know thing than pretension.

    And I didn't think it was pretentious in The Lady in the Water, to be honest.
     
  4. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Well, what if the scene in question was like:

    (MC would-be-author and friend are having a drink in his apartment)
    MC: (takes a swig) My problem is...I feel like I should be doing more, y'know? But I'm not. I have these great ideas in my head but I don't do nothing with them. I tell myself "Relax bud, you gots all the time in the world" but I'm almost 34 for Christ sake! They're just gonna sit and rot away until the day I die.

    OR

    MC would-be-writer: This is what I think of politics... (insert long rant)

    See what I mean? Someone might take that as the author whining or using his MC would-be writer as a self-insert.

    NOTE: I know it seems obvious, but what the MC in my example feels is not what I feel. I'm not angsting over the writing. =)
     
  5. Forkfoot
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    Forkfoot Contributing Member Contributor

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    You put WAY too much thought into what people will think, Link. Just focus on your story; forget about us. Write a high-quality story as it wants to appear; put all your attention there and don't worry what people will say about it. If you give it your all, it will be good.

    And everyone hates M. Night Shyamalan; he hadn't gotten a positive review in years when he made that movie.
     
  6. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    ^I agree with Forkfoot. Just write your story. It's your perspective, your POV, your whole thing. I think that's what a writer is: Someone who writes for his own self and not for others.
     
  7. Forkfoot
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    Forkfoot Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not even for his own self, IMO. Time for my obligatory W.S. Merwyn quote again:

    God I love that quote. I should just make it my sig.
     
  8. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    It can be pretentious if you make a big metaphoric deal of it. If the character just happens to write, big deal. As this forum shows, there are zillions of aspiring writers out there, so why can't any of them appear in your novel? As long as they're sufficiently different from yourself then no one can accuse you of making them a Mary Sue/Marty Stu.

    Just don't have them making long speeches about the suffering of writers and stuff and you'll be fine. :p

    (Or, on the other hand, the importance of writers to the universe. The most annoying part of Hamlet is where he randomly latches onto the players and starts telling them how to do their job, which is usually interpreted as a Shakespeare self-insert, and even with Hamlet acting pretty manic at the time, always read to me as being sort of out of character to Mr Sarcastic and Mopey as he is the rest of the play)
     
  9. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    ^What do you mean? I was just saying that a writer should focus more on writing something he'd enjoy, and not worry over being scrutinized by others. He/she should write for himself or herself.
     
  10. KillianRussell
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    KillianRussell Contributing Member

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    If the readers can't take a joke fugg 'em.. show them who is boss, if you want a writer in the story, simply write a writer well...I will brb I am going to write a gay black Elvis impersonator who writes very poor porn into my epic.
     
  11. hiddennovelist
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    hiddennovelist Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, got to agree that Shyamalan only got crap for that because people don't like him...I don't think it's pretentious at all.

    Also have to agree that you put too much thought into what people thing. Just write your story, dude! Some people might be upset with some of your choices, but others will love them. You can't please everyone!
     
  12. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have a male writer/ MC in one of my stories, but the story isnt about him and his writing (even though it sort of turns into a little side-plot with him having and trying to finish this MS in due time while dealing with more problematic stuff that he kind of gets thrown into against his own will, while minding his own business) but it's just a detail as any profession would be in a story.
     
  13. barnz
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    barnz Member

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    They say write what you know! I know writers, as I am one, therefore, writers end up finding their way into my work!
     
  14. bekajoi
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    bekajoi Senior Member

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    I think I've had a writer in every thing I have ever written... Sometimes it's a person who has a nose stuck in a notebook all the time. Sometimes it's the main character and I have her make comments that I did at that age, when a teacher in school is constantly using her work as an example and she wishes everyone would stop staring at her like that...

    I don't use it to push my political viewpoints or whatever, I just can relate and it's easier to write what I know than to write about a sports fanatic when I couldn't care less about sports, myself.

    We write what we know. If you have a writer character, so what? Maybe M. Night did that and quoted some critic of his, somehow, through the critic character? And maybe that didn't come across so well? I don't know.

    I personally thoroughly enjoyed the never going to finish it novelist, because that's me. And I enjoyed the critic because I love reading and laughing at critics' takes on movies. I have that movie and enjoy it, though it's admittedly not one of my favorites of M. Night's work.

    Write what you want. Forget the other people. Write for yourself first. If you like it, other people will too. :)
     
  15. Aeschylus
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    Aeschylus Contributing Member

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    Stephen King always writes about writers as main characters. Or at least usually. It doesn't come off as strange--he just knows writers' lifestyles well, so he can write about writers comfortably instead of choosing some bizarre profession he'd have to research and struggle to make believable. Just like John Grisham writes about lawyers and judges a lot--he went to law school and practiced law for years.
     
  16. Bay K.
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    Bay K. Contributing Member

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    Of course not, if done properly.
    The writer would be like any other character.
    Just make him interesting.
     
  17. Forkfoot
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    Forkfoot Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, like in the quote I posted by Merwyn, the great artist doesn't really create for anyone else, including himself. There's not really a lot of thought going into whom the piece is for; the piece just kinda takes over. I don't write for myself, I write because something demands to be written. I'm not the object of my attention, the thing that is being created is. Self and others fade into the background, and the thing appearing on paper becomes all-consuming.

    It's like fighting. You're not thinking about who's watching, you're not thinking about how you need to win for yourself; your focus is on ruining the face of your adversary and beating them down till they can't get up any more. It's kinda like that. Or like wild sex, if you prefer.
     
  18. Bay K.
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    Bay K. Contributing Member

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    Wow!
    Excuse my French, but bull****!
    (Not a personal attack on you, Forkfoot).

    God didn't create the world because he had to.
    He did it because he wanted / chose to.
    Nothing needs / demands to be created for itself.
    It is primarily created for the creator's use and / or pleasure --which includes creating for others.
    The created is not bigger than the creator.
    Everything written is for someone --creator or other-- not just writing sake.
    A story doesn't just grip you and say "write me! And after you have, I don't care if you like me, I don't make sense to you, or I'm not useful in any way. I just demand to be --for existence sake."

    Anyone who fights JUST to crush and mangle another needs help.
    You fight to stop your adversary from hurting you (protection and deterrence). Not deface one into a lifeless pulp.

    'If you have an erection beyond four hours, see a doctor'.
    Ever heard that one before?
    Even sex ... sweet, wonderful sex, becomes bad when overdone --for itself.
    That's why, thankfully, we have the joy of orgasm.
    Ever seen a person who couldn't ... 'finish'? --not a happy camper.


    --------------------------------------------
    Be good, wise and strong
     
  19. Forkfoot
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    Forkfoot Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think I've yet to agree with a single thing you've posted on this site so far, Bay K. Everything you say is either an opinion stated as fact, a misunderstanding of the text to which you are responding, is just plain factually incorrect, or goes against my personal experience. Maybe you should try assuming that the person you're addressing might possibly have some clue what they're talking about, instead of assuming that they don't.
     
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  20. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Actually I agree with Forkfoot's quote. Whilst I write my stuff to be read I am not considering anything except my characters and the story when I write. It is not even about writing for me - it is about playing with imaginary friends and discovering new worlds. For me writing = playing in the sandbox with my toys. Sometimes I do indeed write without caring about the end result - when I first wrote a story it did just grab me by the non existant dangling parts and say write me - I was more surprised than anyone to have a first draft even more surprised when the teenagers that asked to read it liked it.

    To Link you are correct some genres, publishers don't like authors writing about authors it is considered a big no. Having said that I do have a story with two characters one a well known gay filmstar the other a famous autor they lose their partners on the same night, go back home together and end up pregnant. Hell yeah she is a bit of a Mary Sue ;)
     

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