I’ve yet to do research on whether the ‘trickster handsome young man who can have anyone he wants partnering up with a beautiful, intelligent, capable woman who has no interest in him’ is a Japanese thing. But one of the first thing that struck me about Fran and Balthier from Final Fantasy XII is that they reminded me of Gieve and Pharangese (Guibu and Farangis, depending on the translation in question) from the anime ‘Heroic Legend of Arislan’ or ‘Arslan Senki’, based on a novel based on a Persian legend.

I finally got around to ripping a few scenes from my DVD. This is their first meeting, in the first episode. If you watch from 4:05, when she is ‘reading’ his spirit - idk there’s just something to that conversation that reminds me so much of Fran and Balthier’s dynamics.

Why ‘Self insert’ is risky

reglissenoire:

vieralynn:

iamfangu:

People often say ‘you have to write what you know’ (and I’ll leave the rant on my definition of ‘what you know’ for now) but there’s a difference between using your emotions/ experiences and putting yourself entirely in your character’s shoes*. The latter being what can be referred to as ‘self insert’.

The risk, with self insertion is, of course (how I see it anyway) that you might end up making the character an image of who you want to be instead of who you are, making them unrounded characters.

I like using that quadrant of the 4 ‘awarenesses’ to illustrate this. Basically you can divide everything about your personality into 4 parts, being the things about you that…

  • Both you and the people around you are aware of
  • The things only you know
  • The things only they know (that for x amount of reasons you don’t learn - varying from ‘they’re afraid to tell you/ don’t see telling you as relevant’ to ‘they thought you already knew’ (like if you tend to talk too loud but have no idea yourself)
  • The things you don’t know about yourself that others don’t know either (tbh I find it very hard coming up with examples for this one, and it’s often describe as ‘the one we don’t even know exists’.)

How people see themselves vs how others see them is not the same thing. They may overlap, depending on how much self insight the character has, being one of the keys to a character, imo. My point is that looking at a character that’s different from you, it’s much easier to be aware of the traits in point number 3, the ‘the things you don’t know about yourself that others do’. Because if the character is very similar to you, there are things you might be yet to learn, things that are important for characterisation, and your character might be lacking something to feel as real.

* You can write a character in first person or a ‘close third’ without it being self insert.

I write characters quite often in 1st and close 3rd and they certainly aren’t self-inserts. The further away they are from me, the more hilarious (at least to me) their 1st POVs can end up becoming.

Leaving experimental fiction and discovery writing** out of this discussion, it is an absolute and non-negotiable requirement that the writer knows something very important about the protagonist that the protagonist does not know until the climax of the story. If the writer fails to do this, the writer isn’t finished planning their story.

Stories require conflict and, because of that fact, the protagonist is required to need and desire something that the story world refuses to give them. Good conflicts have both an external and an internal component. The external component is something outside the protagonist that the protagonist needs to confront. Usually that external component is the story’s antagonist. Meanwhile, the internal component is something within the protagonist that causes problems for the protagonist. Maybe they have a misconception about how the world works or a big character flaw that keeps biting them in the behind. Whatever that internal thing is, it is always something that the protagonist does not understand until the story’s climax. That act of having a sudden “ah-HA!” during the climax is that welcomed thing we call Character Development — an important element in making a dramatic story engaging to the reader.

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I think there are two main approaches to writing a story. One is the “planned” process whereby everything is planned ahead of time, and then written; the author knows everything she needs to know about the characters, and everything that is going to happen, before she starts. 

Then there’s the “discovery process” in which the author starts writing know there is something she and the protagonist need to find out together.  This is my process, not because I chose it but because it’s just how my creative process works. I’m not a planner. The story unfolds and the characters evolve as I go along.

One way isn’t better than the other. I think they’re just innate to way we as individuals think and create. 

Oh definitely. I should probably point out that I’m (VL too, is my guess) not addressing the process, but the end result, looking at a character’s ‘third point’ from the angle of how the character turns out in the end, and whether that works or not. I’m a discovery writer by far. My brain remembers by association, and tbh my brain is a much better than planner than I will ever be. (This sounds completely far out, but I’m a much better thinker when I don’t have to think.) The thing is, I used to be a 100% discoverer. I’m now down to 85% or something - I’m actually able to make careful plans, rooting in association to what I have learned from experience - meaning I don’t really think too much about it, I start doing basic outlines in the sense that - I’m not pulling out a piece of paper and start drawing lines with a pen, saying ‘this is where I need to go’ - but I try to use what I have learned to avoid stepping into the same holes.

With self insert, it’s one of those things where I try listening for warning bells. During the process; during drafting, re-drafting and my forty-eight rewrites, I will fail picking up of all of my warning bells at least once. As I go through it, I learn what works and what doesn’t. I’m pretty sure it’ll take me a very long time to learn using less calories. I’ve always had a deep respect for people who do visual art without doing too many edits - because they’re able to do what they want to do, without even really knowing that’s what they wanted to do! It’s a creative intuition that I’d like to achieve - one day - perhaps one day, if I am lucky.

The thing is - tl;dr - when I look at end results that I like, that feels right, they often tend to align with ‘good rules for writing’ - without me having decided up front I’m gonna follow a set of rules (or not). The discovery is the best part of writing, imo.

Evolution of a Sex Scene

iamfangu:

So some of you know how much I struggled with one of my het romance stories when I was nearing the Grand Finale and I needed to make my character’s relationship physical. One does not *have to* do that in a romance novel, but I am personally convinced that physicality - sexual or otherwise - is important to a relationship. The mental bonding was more important than anything else, but I had already left traces of unresolved physicality quite early in the story and I knew I had to go *somewhere* with it.

Before this huge ass piece of fanfic I had primarily written smut, so my first reaction was to OF COURSE put some sex into it. But this had to be a different kind of sex, I couldn’t just hammer out the usual smut I’d produced so far. It took me ages to break apart this scene, to destroy it to pieces and trample on it again and again, until I managed to pick up the pieces that were important: The physicality, the physical bond.

Before I came that far, there was a lot of Furs and Fireplaces.

Warning: This post is LONG.

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See, this is what I love about typing up meta posts like this one. I’ve been going through the ‘final’ version of the scene and realised it might be a bit… cold? A bit too matter-of-factly? Even for these two characters being forty and probably the same times at least three, they’re not so old there’s no room for a bit more innocence in the dialogue - although I did try to tie that in. Should there have been a described kiss? Did I deny the reader what they (probably) (or not) have waited for during the previous 65,000 words?

Basically, I’d like to think that the Final Version of this scene should have traits of all the previous ‘generations’: A bit of Furs and Fireplaces, a bit Innocence, a bit Realism - all knit together with a hug and a need. It has the realism, a bit of mush and a bit of innocence… but maybe not enough?

Dear reader who read through the entire post, what do you think?

(Edit: I can’t believe this happened, but I rewrote the scene. AGAIN. I’m experimenting. I’m not gonna put it into the story. (Yet?? Lord help me ffs))

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Why ‘Self insert’ is risky

vieralynn:

iamfangu:

People often say ‘you have to write what you know’ (and I’ll leave the rant on my definition of ‘what you know’ for now) but there’s a difference between using your emotions/ experiences and putting yourself entirely in your character’s shoes*. The latter being what can be referred to as ‘self insert’.

Read more

I write characters quite often in 1st and close 3rd and they certainly aren’t self-inserts. The further away they are from me, the more hilarious (at least to me) their 1st POVs can end up becoming.

Leaving experimental fiction and discovery writing** out of this discussion, it is an absolute and non-negotiable requirement that the writer knows something very important about the protagonist that the protagonist does not know until the climax of the story. If the writer fails to do this, the writer isn’t finished planning their story.

Stories require conflict and, because of that fact, the protagonist is required to need and desire something that the story world refuses to give them. Good conflicts have both an external and an internal component. The external component is something outside the protagonist that the protagonist needs to confront. Usually that external component is the story’s antagonist. Meanwhile, the internal component is something within the protagonist that causes problems for the protagonist. Maybe they have a misconception about how the world works or a big character flaw that keeps biting them in the behind. Whatever that internal thing is, it is always something that the protagonist does not understand until the story’s climax. That act of having a sudden “ah-HA!” during the climax is that welcomed thing we call Character Development — an important element in making a dramatic story engaging to the reader.

Read More

Pulled together some of the sentences for my own use/ archive: Good conflicts have both an external and an internal component. The external component is something outside the protagonist that the protagonist needs to confront. (…) Whatever that internal thing is, it is always something that the protagonist does not understand until the story’s climax. (…)  Inevitably, the writer stumbles because they cannot figure out how to create a meaningful climax.

See these are things I *learned* in my Norwegian classes during high school, but never really cared about because it was all a bunch of blah. I am a particularly obnoxious and stubborn person. It’s only now, when I am able to put these things into context, that they mean anything to me, that they make sense. And now they make a lot of sense.

Why ‘Self insert’ is risky

disposableprose:

iamfangu:

People often say ‘you have to write what you know’ (and I’ll leave the rant on my definition of ‘what you know’ for now) but there’s a difference between using your emotions/ experiences and putting yourself entirely in your character’s shoes*. The latter being what can be referred to as ‘self insert’.

Read more

Keeping the four awarenesses in mind is good advice.  In my opinion, knowing how to use the third point is essential to complex characterization.

We could talk a lot about SI and unintentional SI and the blinders it puts on a writer.  I have a story about how it can backfire that you might appreciate.

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lettersfromthegreenroom replied to your post“Tumblr does this thing where it dies right around midnight, which is…”
I miss those coffee days much… yay for going loopy :D

COFFEEEEE

It’s what I do for giggles now that I don’t drink alcohol, lol! I’m having a lot of coffee right now, A LOT, while typing and trying to figure out ripping the proper audio from DVD’s though VLC. I’ll probably have an upset stomach and feel completely miserable in about two hours. Good times.

auronlu:

treacherousthoughts:

I was playing Final Fantasy XII and listening to the gang concoct a method of getting the Marquis’ attention, when I noticed an outright abomination a little beauty in the background.
He sort of looks like a Moogle/Bangaa hybrid, but it’s anyones guess, because I couldn’t find the bugger afterwards.

It’s not one of those weird nam-Yensa Sandsea dudes, is it?

Nope, it looks like it’s the game bugging out by merging models. Most likely it’s a Bangaa mod covered with the exterior of a Moogle mod - hilarious :D

auronlu:

treacherousthoughts:

I was playing Final Fantasy XII and listening to the gang concoct a method of getting the Marquis’ attention, when I noticed an outright abomination a little beauty in the background.

He sort of looks like a Moogle/Bangaa hybrid, but it’s anyones guess, because I couldn’t find the bugger afterwards.

It’s not one of those weird nam-Yensa Sandsea dudes, is it?

Nope, it looks like it’s the game bugging out by merging models. Most likely it’s a Bangaa mod covered with the exterior of a Moogle mod - hilarious :D

treacherousthoughts:

I was playing Final Fantasy XII and listening to the gang concoct a method of getting the Marquis’ attention, when I noticed an outright abomination a little beauty in the background.
He sort of looks like a Moogle/Bangaa hybrid, but it’s anyones guess, because I couldn’t find the bugger afterwards.

treacherousthoughts:

I was playing Final Fantasy XII and listening to the gang concoct a method of getting the Marquis’ attention, when I noticed an outright abomination a little beauty in the background.

He sort of looks like a Moogle/Bangaa hybrid, but it’s anyones guess, because I couldn’t find the bugger afterwards.

Ohai there!

Name is Fangu, enjoys spending time with various folks doing various things on the Internet. I have no shame when it comes to contacting random people (if I see something I like, I will tell you!) so be not afraid if I do.

I like discussing things. If I disagree with you that does not mean I don't like you or disapprove of your opinion. (Quite the contrary, thank you for spending time with me!) Feel free to shoutout using @ or my tag at any time.

Also I'm not too bothered with I MADE THIS! If you like it, spread it. If you don't think the stuff I write on my original photosets fit with your blog, feel free to delete it. I sometimes think I'm hilarious when I'm really not X)

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