02 03 Melody Jackson, Author: Writing Someone Else's Character 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Writing Someone Else's Character

Have you ever read about or watched a character that you loved so much, you wanted to write about them? Bear in mind, I'm not talking about fan fiction here. I'm talking about wanting to write a character that is, in essence, someone else's, yet still is a different person that you created. Does that make any sense?

Sometimes there's a character trait, scenario, or little thing about a character that I like and want to write into my own character's lives. It's called inspiration. ;) But there have been a few times where I've read about or watched a character that I loved much more than just one thing about them, to the point where I really want to write about them without it, you know, actually being them. I want to make a new character based off of them, but without it being too close to the original.

So why don't I just write fan fiction, you say? Well, first off, I like writing and discovering my own characters, rather than writing about someone else's. And secondly, I'm kind of sensitive about other people's stories/characters. It's kind of hard to explain, haha. But even if I know the character really well and could write stories about them myself, I don't want to.

Maybe it's because I more enjoy watching them without knowing what they're going to do, but it's also like...I don't know. It's not that I feel I'm encroaching or taking away their characters or something, it's just that, I guess, I feel it's someone else's story and they can tell it much better than I can, and I feel kind of odd trying to write what is theirs. Does that make sense?

And I've actually dabbled with some fan fiction in the past, but very little, because it never quite seems to turn out right. I feel like I'm just not capable of writing the character as well as the writer did, and so I'd prefer to leave them alone, especially if they had a nice resolution to their story where it just feels...complete.

Strangely enough, however, I don't think it would be as weird if I saw fan fiction of my work. I can't truly say because I've never seen any, but I think when you're the creator, it's really interesting to see the other angles people thought would be cool to write about and such.

Okay, I guess there's an exception to this. I suppose it would be called fan fiction--though it often doesn't even touch the page, haha--but if something was done really poorly in some way or was left open to interpretation, I do like to speculate about what would've made it better or what could have possibly happened, whether during or after the story.

A great example of this would be Doctor Who. (spoilers ahead, sweetie; you have been warned! ;) Because nothing is said or shown of MetaTen and Rose's life in the parallel universe, I like to speculate how that story might have gone, especially with the interesting concept of him being the Doctor but also not (and being half Donna too! How do you think that went???) Maybe they lived happily, maybe Rose decided he was just too different from her Doctor and they didn't get together at all. Maybe they had three adorable children and took them for trips in the Tardis throughout the universe (aww!).

No one knows. And it's fun to speculate about, because it's been left open. :) But interfering in a more, I guess you could call it 'closed' story doesn't quite sit right with me. I guess some things are better not to even wonder about, because the possibilities are so extreme. Frodo could have never been the one with the ring, or Anakin could have never become Darth Vader, or Neville could have been the Chosen One instead of Harry! But those situations are just so different that it's hard to imagine writing about them without feeling like it's an entirely different story with the same characters. It's just strange to me.

Of course, I'm not saying I don't speculate about what might've happened in certain stories, but just never as far as trying to write it. I recently finished Stargate Sg1 (a group of travelers go through wormholes to explore different planets and stuff happens), and the last episode ends as if it weren't actually ending (thus the name "Unending" ;) with the team talking about the planet they're going to go to next, before stepping through the Stargate. It has closure yet still just lets the story keep running on in your mind.

I do like to think they kept on adventuring and going through grave peril and saving the universe until they were just too old and all retired happily, with Daniel and Vala getting together (again...ish) like they're supposed to and everyone living happily ever after. Yet I'd feel odd trying to write about some situation that happened to them on another planet, for whatever reason. It's not my story to tell, and I'd prefer to leave it the way it is, the perfect ending. :) Maybe it's because I just don't feel I could write a fan fiction story that does the characters justice.

 Help me out here, writers! Is it weird for you to think about or try writing 'fan fiction' of another writer's story, or what's your thoughts on the topic?

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