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Thoughts on Characters...

November 6, 2016

 

Just some thoughts that I'm sure people already know; I've been writing a lot lately, more so than doing actual artwork, mea culpa. I've been thinking a lot on characterization and how we crave characters that feel real to us, that make us feel a multitude of things, that rile us up in different ways, good and bad.

So, obviously some people like conventional types or unconventional types or problematic types or un-problematic types or all or some or none or whatever.

It is most common that people like stories and fandoms for their characters more often than the worlds or the plot (not to say that those elements are not extremely important too) because otherwise why would we pair them together and/or write alternate universes and crossovers and make up original characters to be included? Mostly to see the canon characters interact in the secondary elements – world and plot.

And obviously people like certain characters for multiple reasons: there’s some cause as to why the character speaks to them, there’s something they can relate to, or sympathize with, or qualities they find admirable or whatever.

What I’m getting to is this: in regards to problematic character types, and liking/becoming fascinated with them for whatever reasons, it’s not necessarily the types we like/are fascinated by in real life. There may be similar quirks or traits we’re attracted to, but the key to all that is context and our position in experiencing them, I think. 

In fiction, in stories, we’re removed quite safely from these characters. They can’t hurt us, they can’t manipulate our lives, not really. We can have them be as crazy or as tame as we want because we control them, at least in creative endeavors. We can manipulate the situation and their responses to certain stimuli, to certain people, etc., even when we keep them entirely in character (although that’s another topic of discussion), we still have more control over them and our liking of/responses to them than we would in real life, if they were a real person interacting with us. In fiction, we can make connections and feel emotions and understand these types because there is concrete material we can use to research them and figure them out and figure out how and why we like them, and if there isn’t, we can safely utilize our imagination and experiences and take the reins. 

But in reality, we are always faced with what these types of people show us or what they reveal to us. We have to take them at face value more often than not. We have even less control and context than third person limited. 

Not to mention the fact that people change constantly, and how they are now may be something completely different in five years, or even one year, or less or more. In fiction, this is also the case, but again, there is more of an element of control in how it’s all presented, we can see the minutia and experiences and history that led to each character change and understand the process and progression and development. We don’t usually get that from people in reality - at least not in the time it takes to read a book, or a series of books, or a movie or a show. And now, take into account binge-watching or binge-reading. It could take us a week to watch the character development of moments interspersed over several seasons and several years. But again I am digressing - that is another tangent that you can go into further. 

Anyway. My point is: those of us who like psychos and monsters and are drawn to wicked sorts and violence and perversion would not necessarily do so/be as fascinated/infatuated when faced with the real entity. Nor would we necessarily condone such behavior or other actions as prescribed and enacted by such characters.

Because then it’d be actually real, not a representation or mirror of what is real or could be real.

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© 2020 by Genevieve D. Franco. All rights reserved.

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