Jul. 15th, 2007

[identity profile] brynnmck.livejournal.com
Hi! This is my first time, so please forgive any lack of expertise/finesse. ;)

I'm here to blather at you regarding the following question: "How do you manage to keep the guys in character when they keep wanting to develop personalities of their own?" (I'm going to focus primarily on the characters' behavior here, since the lovely [livejournal.com profile] sageness already covered the character voice side of things quite well.)

This is kind of a difficult question to answer, since there is no real concrete "This Is Character X" checklist out there; the unique beast of fic means we're all writing in the same world, but none of us created it, and therefore we all see it a little bit differently. (I mean, think about this: effectively, we're writing a massive, ever-changing collaboration with hundreds of different authors. It's a miracle we manage to get to the same place at all! GO US. \o/) So there's a fair amount of room for interpretation going on before we even sit down at the computer or the notebook. Which can be a good thing; there are many times when I've read a fic where I think the voices or off or the characters aren't quite how I see them, but there is a line or a moment or an overall feeling that's just so dead-on perfect it goes right to my heart and makes me willing to be flexible about the rest. Finding an author who portrays the characters exactly as I see them, note for note, reaction for reaction, is pretty rare (though awesome for me when it happens), so we've all got a little bit of wiggle room.

That said, though, if I'm reading along and I get to a passage that involves Fraser, say, kicking a puppy, it's probably going to make me scratch my head. Or laugh and close the tab. Or both. So there are some basic objective characteristics that make these characters who they are, and sometimes it's easy to lose those in the ebb and flow of the writing process, so here are a few things I use to keep myself honest when it comes to characterization.

A short characterization checklist )


So those are my thoughts.* What works for you? How do you tell when your characters are wandering away from you? How have you fixed it? What signs do you keep an eye out for? What do you do when the canon isn't consistent (besides cry a little on the inside)? Please school me in the comments!




*I would also like to congratulate myself on getting through this entire essay without ONCE exhorting anyone to "check yourself before you wreck yourself." I assure you, this has not been easy, but I have DONE IT for the benefit of EVERYONE. You're welcome!

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