1. @theunheardwriter21

    @theunheardwriter21 Member

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    Can a main character reflect the writer too much?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by @theunheardwriter21, Jun 18, 2018.

    Each time I get into a groove and can knock out 1,000+ words at a time, or write an entirely new scene to be incorporated later, I find myself in a whirlwind of questions and anxieties that my main character is too much like me. Different name and different physique, but her slang, tone, mannerisms, etc. are barely variant of my own. Is this concern reasonable? Should I simply try to ignore it? Defy the compelling temptation to instill my heart in this character, let her live out my dreams in black and white while I suppress them in reality?
    Help. - t
     
  2. KG Grekul

    KG Grekul New Member

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    If you gave the character a similar personality to yourself with the same kinds of problems, it would be better to leave the mannerisms as they are because they reflect the qualities of the person using them. The bottom line is you want to character to feel authentic and relatable.
     
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  3. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If the character in question is a self-insert - to the degree you have described - is the story serving as a personal fantasy outlet? If the answer is yes, that's still not necessarily a problem unless/until it's nothing but a dream fantasy of how you get the hottie, come across riches, pwn all the bitches/bastards, flip the bird to parents and adults in general, etc. She may talk like you and walk like you, but is she a Sue You? That, to me, is the question to ask yourself.
     
  4. @theunheardwriter21

    @theunheardwriter21 Member

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    The journey she is on is one I do not wish for myself, so it is not a personal fantasy outlet. Her world is separate from mine, in almost every aspect.

    The thoughts that spawned this post were that of fear, fear that I will dead end this WIP because the main character is so much like me.
     
  5. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    This doesn't preclude the phenomenon of it being a fantasy outlet for you. Think of the scene in A Christmas Story where Ralphie fantasizes that the soap he's made to hold in his mouth for having said the F-word holds dire consequences for his future self, blinded and made to beg on the street due to "soap-poisoning" as a child. It's a way of envisioning a scenario where his parents are consumed with guilt for their current actions against him, thus they are punished in his mind. A farce, to be sure, but an example of how a terrible journey can still serve as personal fantasy. I have no idea what the journey is in your story, so I'm not saying that it necessarily is a personal fantasy for you, just that its negative or difficult nature doesn't take it out of the running.

    Then my question is why? Why do you think this would be the outcome of a character that bears similar mannerism and speech patterns to you? I'm not sure I'm seeing how one inevitably leads to the other.
     
  6. SolZephyr

    SolZephyr Member Supporter

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    I don't think you should abandon a WIP just because your character seems like a self-insert. This is especially true if you think it's a good story. I don't know if it's possible, but try to look at the story as a whole from a disconnected point of view. If it still looks good, don't change anything.

    If it really bothers you that your MC reflects your personality, then change some of her character traits that don't impact the story. Honestly though, unless you find yourself making the MCs of all of your stories with the same personality, I don't think it's that big of a problem.
     
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  7. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    to some extent, who cares? Do you intend on publishing it? If not, then it doesn't matter. But even if you do want to publish it, write it anyway. That's what editing is for. And also, you're gonna insert part of yourself into every character of yours, probably more so in the main character than in others. In and of itself, it doesn't have to be a problem.
     
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  8. CAROLINE J. THIBEAUX

    CAROLINE J. THIBEAUX Member

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    There is always something of a writer's philosophy in the main character so in some way, I think the writer is represented. I miss my father and wish he could have seen me become a writer so some of that went into my main character. Having said that, not every part of a character is necessarily a morph of an author. Writing reveals your inner self. It's the mirror of your soul.
     
  9. Spirit of seasons

    Spirit of seasons Active Member

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    It might be a good idea to try writing third person POV if your not already doing so.

    I wrote Rose, my protagonist, with a clear backstory in mind. Having her mother run away at age two, and having Lyla as a supportive friend. Also her envoirment and experiences throughout the novel help to define her personality.

    Try to add as much backstory and life experiences as possible.
     
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  10. GlitterRain7

    GlitterRain7 Galaxy Girl Contributor

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    I don't think you should worry about it too much. As long as you don't make another character like you (or this character) I really don't see the problem unless the similarity bothers you. If it does, then just throw in some stuff that doesn't relate to you at all. But I think every character that a writer makes will have at least one aspect of themselves represented through them, just because humans are so complex and intricate.
     

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