1. MarionRivers
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    MarionRivers Member

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    What do you think of making the main characters writers or artsy people?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by MarionRivers, Aug 1, 2008.

    I notice that a lot of writers write what they know, and they end up writing about other writers or creative-types. I think that's great, and a lot of creative types make for fascinating characters.

    At the same time, I also feel that writers should not be too self-indulgent, and a lot of times I try to make my (non-criminal) characters into types like accountants or manual laborers, who as people aren't that creative.

    How do you feel on this?
     
  2. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    Depends on what kind of story you're looking to tell. If you write exclusively about what you know, how far can you hope to go? Writing outside of yourself helps expand creative horizons, broadening perspective. Ultimately, because of the research involved, I suppose you end up writing what you know. Again, it depends what you're trying to say. If an accountant's life, or a labourer's tribulations suffice to provide an exciting/thrilling story, why not use them?
     
  3. Kratos
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    Kratos Contributing Member

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    One of my characters is a writer, but he is just one of many POV characters, others who can't read at all. I think it's ok to use, since I know more about writing.
     
  4. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    Not that I noticed.

    But then again we might be reading very different types of books and stories.
     
  5. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    Weird. I'm a writer but don't consider myself in ANY way to be "artsy." I also notice that I do not tend to have writers or artsy characters in my work. In fact I can't think of a single writer character whatsoever. Hm.

    I think this is because they might come off as stereotyped/unconvincing, but I believe the main reason is just because I tend to keep "myself," as a person, out of my work as much as I can. Hence I do not have writer characters, or characters suffering from extreme social anxiety, or thirtysomething shut-ins with no friends, or people obsessed with Egyptian or Ojibwa mythology, or things such as that. It'd seem too much like me writing about myself and I'd loathe that. So...no writer-type characters. I just stick to lending characters my emotions and reactions and leave it at that.

    I realize this doesn't directly answer your question, but that's my two cents on it. :) I "write what I know" in terms of emotions and what I read in books, not in what I live every day! That would make for horrid reading. Ugh.
     
  6. Last1Left
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    Last1Left Active Member

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    I think ideally, a writer should know what he or she is writing about. If that includes a character who is a writer, then fine. I'd assume that a writer knows writing best, after all. I mean, how many people get pissed when you're reading, and the author completely butchers a topic or area. My biggest pet peeves are reading things, and then saying, "WTF, that's not what it's like". Authors should know what they're talking about, and making the protagonist a writer is perfectly fine, just maybe a little lazy.
     
  7. inkslinger
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    inkslinger Contributing Member

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    Well, I have made characters writers or 'artsy' before in the past; it just depends on what kind of character they are, what kind of traits they have and what they naturally like, etc. It really isn't up to me, but more what feels right for that specific character.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    not a lot [or even more than a handful] of the hundreds whose work i've been reading for 65 years, from homer on up to today's successful authors... or are you referring to beginning writers who're not published?...
     
  9. Ore-Sama
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    Ore-Sama Senior Member

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    In my current novel, the main villain is a "writer". He manipulates all the events going on around him, which he calls writing a story, and he actually treats the other characters like characters, in that he does whatever inhumane thing he has to do to them to make his "story" more interesting.
     
  10. SonnehLee
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    SonnehLee Contributing Member Contributor

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    Wow. That's kinda funny, actually. Reminds me of that movie where that guy hears the voice narrating his life.
     
  11. Tinja
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    Tinja Member

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    All my male characters are artists in one way or two. And I always manage to transfer myself into them. Kinda sucks. I donu why I do that all the time. But it's hard to say who is not artsy and who is not.
     
  12. Scattercat
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    Scattercat Active Member

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    Reminds me of Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett, where the big bad is a witch who has decided that she is a Fairy Godmother and is going to grant Happy Endings to everyone, regardless of what they want. Quite a good book, actually; it was the first Discworld novel I ever read.

    Anyway, on topic, I tend to notice when there is a protagonist who is also an author. I've noticed a lot of sci-fi guys tend to have computer programmers or similarly technologically-inclined protagonists, as well. If it's done well, I don't mind it, especially if it's relevant to the plot at hand. Other times, though, it's a little wince-worthy, especially if it becomes apparent that the protagonist is a writer just because that's the only thing the author knew enough about to create a full-fledged character.

    I wouldn't say it's particularly widespread, though.
     
  13. Kylie
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    Kylie Contributing Member

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    Personally, I think it's totally fine. I mean, if someone wants to write about someone similar to themselves and someone else wants to read it, then does it really matter??
    It's a lot easier to relate to the story if you write about stuff you already know about. Plus, everyone "knows" different things.

    When I write, I always try to write about someone who is a girl and is a teenager - because I don't know how to write about a boy when I'm not a boy. The type of personalities I give them is based on the kind I need for my story.
     
  14. Tinja
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    Tinja Member

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    Bit OT// but; my MC are always girls. I don't think I could sink into boys head and make it sound real.
     
  15. Scattercat
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    Scattercat Active Member

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    I think it's well worth the effort to learn how to write from other points of view and other ways of thinking. It expands your range of characters and enhances your ability to weave a convincing story.

    I'm always interested to read about how other people perceive the world, and what they think about it. It can be as simple as reading blogs, memoirs, and articles written by people from different walks of life; you can pick up the patterns of speech, the attitudes, and gradually learn to imitate them.

    (I once joined a roleplaying game hosted on a forum, with a character who was a fifty-year-old female ex-trucker waitress. I did a bit of reading and picked up some lingo, and got into character. It worked so well that several people were downright shocked to discover, several weeks later, that I was male.)

    (Mind you, this was probably also due to the fact that a lot people can't imagine playing/writing someone who isn't just like themselves.)
     
  16. Ashley868
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    Ashley868 New Member

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    A lot of the time I make my characters singers or artists. I haven't made any of them writers though. One of my characters was a seer, years ago. I ended up making her too perfect, so she ended up being a Mary-Sue.
     
  17. Mikee
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    Mikee New Member

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    I believe that offering the reader a character such as a manual laborer or an accountant can go many different ways. If your characters progress, learning from his/her mistakes, or making something better of themselves, then this is a great place for your characters to start.

    A common, cold, hard fact is that manual laborers (Which is what I have been for three years now) are low on the "intelligence food chain." According to one IQ test I've taken, laborers for a construction site are for those with an IQ below 100. Meaning those mentally challenged and teetering are best fit for the job. This can be a grave mistake for a character who is apt to save the world. It's also a very common fact that the main character of any story, video games included, is extremely intelligent, nearly always using proper grammar, punctuation, and of course, is usually polite and smart about what he/she says to others. As a laborer in the next-to-nothing line while picking up their "potential packet" at the pearly gates, it's difficult to expect this out of them. Though rare occasions may hide within the mist of the every day main character assumption.

    Accountants, though they may have a very common and boring job, are seen as much more intelligent. Even the working-class receptionist must have a bit more intelligence to hold his/her position in the work place. This could, of course create a great character as that they would have more time on their hands for thinking, allowing the reader to understand what their goals are and where the story may lead.

    In essence however, it will always depend on the plot they're thrown into. A laborer who discovers the cure for cancer using a form of nuclear fusion is a little harder to fathom, unless he's a "surgeon driving a taxi cab." And an accountant who saves the world could always be vice versa depending on how your story or novel is written. Whether or not your character is creative is beside the fact of an interesting story, but will determine if the character fits the description of the reader's idea of a story teller or hero, if you will.

    Wow. Way longer than I expected that to be. This is my apology. : )
     

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