1. naturemage
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    naturemage Active Member

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    Who does the work? Author, or character?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by naturemage, Dec 18, 2011.

    So, simple answer, maybe. For some people, it might not be so simple.
    Who does the work in writing the story: the author (you) or your characters?
    I know for me its a mixed answer. My characters usually guide me, but I like to throw things at them once in a while. This usually happens after I've finished the story once, and I go back to add things. Then my characters and I get into a love-hate relationship, and they look up at me and give me the "oh come on! Really?" sort of deal.
    It might sound crazy to have a relationship with your characters, but I know I'm not the only one who feels that way.
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ideally, should be both...
     
  3. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    My characters get more demanding as the story grows, so at first, I do most of the work and then I tend to become their subordinate. I still do the work, but they let me know if it's satisfactory or a do-over.
     
  4. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    The writer does the work.
    characters are the tools the writer uses to allow him to write.
    The characters are a mean of tranport if you like to carry the ideas through the story.
     
  5. TemporalV01D
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    TemporalV01D Member

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    Well, I usually have the characters, plot and setting all planned out. But when I actually get to writing it - actually throwing the three together - the results are normally unexpected. Sometimes a pain - normally when I find out something doesn't fit - but also often pleasant in the end and often even gives birth to new plot directions or ideas I can toss in elsewhere.

    As far as characters go, they're pretty co-operative, most of the time. ^^

    So I also have a mixed answer, I suppose.
     
  6. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    To me, since the author create the character, it's easily the author. If you'd ask someone else to write that character he/she would talk and act differently.
     
  7. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    As others have said, I made the characters, so it's all me. I've never understood authors who act as if the character is an actual person apart from themselves. To me it sounds kind of like multiple personalities or something.
     
  8. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it's more that we have gotten so involved with our characters, made them so life-like, that we understand how they would react to various situations. And when that understanding of our characters clashes with what we write, we know we're getting off-track. It helps us write better.
     
  9. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    The characters.

    I write only what I see and hear inside my mind and I don't consciously try to control it.
     
  10. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with Tesoro. It is the author. Even if you feel the characters are doing it, it is still you, the author, because they are creations that exist inside your head, and any driving force the characters are applying to you is really being applied by yourself.
     
  11. AnonyMouse
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    AnonyMouse Contributing Member Contributor

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    Here's how I interpret this question:
    Imagine you are tasked with cleaning a house. You can work hard and clean it yourself, or you can work on building a robot maid to clean it for you. If you choose the latter option, who did the work: you or the robomaid?

    It's all a matter of opinion, really. I, for one, find creating characters fun, so "building the robots" isn't work at all for me. And, once I'm finished, my army of robots will clean the house for me, with minimal supervision. I happily watch them go about their business with a smile on my face. Sometimes, they even surprise me by doing things I didn't know were in their scripts. /allegory

    I take pride in the things I build and give them their due respect. Yes, I create the characters, but I also recognize the line between 'me' and 'them.' Different writers draw that line in different places. As I said, it's all a matter of opinion. I, for one, don't feel comfortable claiming the characters' 'work' as my own. My 'work' was in creating them and the world and a loose outline of how I want things to go down. Every word penned after that is a joint endeavor.
     
  12. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    I do all the work for those poor fools, setting up whole worlds for them, and they have to suffer through all the crap I stir up. All they have to do is be themselves. And they're great at it. They make my job easier.

    Fortunately, they never resent me. They love me for telling their stories.
     
  13. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    I have fights with my characters about this very question. 'Who's in charge of this thing, me or you?' I demand, wagging my finger at the laptop screen.

    But when there is a conflict between what I want to happen and what they want to happen, they always win. I can't make my characters do anything they don't want to, and often this means I have to alter the story to accommodate their stubbornness.
     
  14. Masterforger
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    Masterforger Member

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    The author. The character would not exist without the author, and the character is at the whim of the author. The character in fact, being a creation, does no work at all. The words ain't writing themselves, are they?
     
  15. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    The writer.
     
  16. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    The Author. He/she is the creator to every single element to a amazing story.
     
  17. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    It depends.

    I create the characters and their world. I do listen to them when they tell me that this idea might be better than that idea, but only I have the final say. Both the author and the characters have to sacrifice a little something to make things work.
     
  18. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    The writer should be the unsung hero, the invisible hand behind the characters' success!
     
  19. Phineas Love
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    Phineas Love New Member

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    I definitely think that the characters control the plot. It's the author's job to figure out who the characters are, but the characters are the ones who decide what they do. It's the author's job to uncover what the characters do or have done or will do in their imaginary world, and there lies the story.
     
  20. highwaymanlee
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    highwaymanlee Active Member

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    personally i think its both. at the beginning of the story i believe that its the writer who is in charge. after a while though it becomes a 50-50 split. but by the end the characters tend to take over.
     

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