Writers Anonymous
Writers, come in. Talk about your stories, problems, any advice you need, critique, etc. You don't have to be good, you just need to want to write! Fanfic or original fic writers, all are welcome. Read the rules before posting or risk Rhea's displeasure.
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Obversa

One of my first stories was a self-insert character; in fact, I believe that I ended up pioneering the self-insert genre for Pirates of the Caribbean several years ago. However, I ended up removing the story after moving to my new account (my current one).

Now, thinking back, I am considering completely re-writing the story so that the character is someone from the 21st century, but ends up in a rift in time in the Pirates of the Caribbean world. After lots of thought and testing, I decided to make the character different from me, due to security reasons, as well as to try and differentiate the character from me. However, the character looks like me somewhat, and shares my background/values, as well as gender, so she could be still considered as a self-insert or author avatar.

From the start of writing this character, I've also tried to give her realistic abilities, such as being non-athletic (not fat, but slightly overweight and out of shape), having trouble with learning sword fighting, etc...basically, stuff that, as a self-insert character, would be true to my actual skills. For example, I'm not that great at fencing, so, ergo, the character would have to struggle to learn how to fight with a sword, or fence, properly. Additionally, there's also a disconnect between her and her new environment, and she has to learn how to adapt with a life without air conditioning, modern technology, etc...

However, my plan was that this character would end up falling in love with one of the canon characters, albeit a minor one.

However, before I begin writing, I want to know your opinions on self-inserts and author avatars.

1. Like them or hate them, or somewhere in between?

2. Do you think they are Mary Sues? If so, what makes them Mary Sues?

3. Would you read a story with a self-insert character or an author avatar, if written well?

4. What tips would you have for someone who is considering writing a character who could be considered as "self-insert" or "author avatar"?

6/22/2013 . Edited 6/22/2013 #1
DH7
I've never written myself into a fanfic, but I'm fairly new to writing it. I did, however, start off writing short stories about myself and other freinds gaining super powers and whatnot. I suppose that back then, I was more interested in expressing my fantasies of becoming better than I was/am. I put myself in those situations, because that's who I wanted to be. For me, it was stepping stone in the creative process, and the next step was to be able to create and care for a protagonist, without having to be that protagonist. I think a well-written self-insert could be done, but I think another forum-goer said it best when they said something to the effect of, "Too often, self-inserts are written for the author, and not for the reader."
6/22/2013 #2
DC20

1) I don't have an opinion on any "category" of character. Each character should be judged separately on their own facts. Just because a lot of one "type" of character sucks doesn't mean that every character of that "type" will suck, so every character should be judged on their own merit by a totality of the circumstances.

2) "Mary Sue" and "Self Insert" are two entirely separate issues. Again, each character is judged individually on their own facts. Saying that every character of a certain type is automatically a Mary Sue dilutes the term "Mary Sue" to the point of meaninglessness.

3) I'd read any well written story.

4) First, don't give yourself any special treatment. It can be tougher to step back and treat yourself the same as every other character, but be tough on yourself and don't put your self insert above your other characters. Be honest about your faults. Second, don't be afraid to play up your strengths. I guarantee that there are some things about you that are totally awesome. Don't lose that in fear of making your character a "Mary Sue". Too often people go the complete opposite direction with self inserts--they want to make it a good character, so they feel they have to run the character through the dirt all the time so that the character isn't viewed as being given special treatment. This is fiction writing--your character should be extraordinary in some way. Their story needs to be worth telling. Don't be so self-conscious in writing the self insert that you end up writing a worthless character.

6/22/2013 #3
Obversa

Thank you for your honest replies! I really appreciate it!

Deathound7: Do you believe that "self inserts" are a part of the creative process, and should be treated as such, and that a self-insert should be changed more to stand on his/her own? I wasn't sure what your message was in your post.

DC20: You make several valid points in your post. I hold many of the same views as you do; however, a lot of people tend to sort self-insert or author avatar characters into one group, so I wanted to get some honest opinions from people who normally think of "self-insert" or "author avatar" characters as a certain way, to see what they like, don't like, flat out hate, etc... for example, Eragon of the Inheritance Cycle is a confirmed "self-insert" turned "author avatar", and a lot of people consider him a "Mary Sue". I want to make sure my character is a good character, and not a Mary Sue, though I know some people consider all self-insert or author avatar characters to be automatically Mary-Sues. Thank you so much for your advice, though! It really struck a chord with me.

6/22/2013 . Edited 6/22/2013 #4
The Lauderdale

1. Like them or hate them, or somewhere in between?

I don't think about them unless I have reason to, like in the context of people talking about them or when thinking of old stories that I have written.

2. Do you think they are Mary Sues? If so, what makes them Mary Sues?

Oh, Mary Sue. I give up on trying to figure out what you are. Anyway, my answer is that by some definitions they are the same thing, by others they are separate concepts, but in the latter instance they can easily overlap, depending.

3. Would you read a story with a self-insert character or an author avatar, if written well?

I suspect that many of us do so all the time without realizing it.

4. What tips would you have for someone who is considering writing a character who could be considered as "self-insert" or "author avatar"?

To pinch from something I said elsewhere, I would suggest that writers who want to use themselves as characters write mindfully, in a balanced way. You live in your own dirty socks, so to speak. Be intelligently selective with your candor (this is the internet, after all), but own your (character's) flaws. And in practical terms, again, I would recommend that you not name your self-insert after yourself or adopt the same screen name as the character. That's like begging for readers to blow you off. Let people engage with your character without automatically setting them up to think that the character is you in disguise. Some of them will do so anyway on the grounds that it is a yucky-poo-poo original character and those are ALWAYS crappy, but others won't.

6/22/2013 #5
DH7
@ Feng Yue - My response was actaully about myself. I was speaking in regards as to why I did it at the time. I can't vouch for others, and others reasoning for creating self inserts. As for self inserts in general, I'm wary, but by no means completely exclusionary.
6/22/2013 #6
cathrl

1. I like good writing. In all the time I've been reading fanfic, I have seen one self-insert character who I could believe was genuinely the real person writing the story... and she was so boring that I wouldn't bother reading the story again. Even though the author is one of my all time favourite writers, she's a housewife and SAHM. Her life isn't the stuff of interesting stories. Almost none of us have lives which are. Mine certainly isn't.

2. Almost always. It's pretty much impossible to write yourself the way other people see you (and would probably be soul-destroying if you did manage it), so what you have is a character who is seen through her own eyes by everyone. That's as close to the definition of a Mary Sue as you'll get.

3. Would and have, but, like I say, I've yet to find one I'd read twice - and even the one which was well-written was a short one-shot and I wouldn't have read a second chapter of it.

4. I'm afraid I'd say "don't".

6/23/2013 #7
LMRaven

1. Like them or hate them, or somewhere in between?

In Fanfiction, within the fandoms I read, I don't like them if they are a main character. My fandoms already have main characters. Those are the characters I am interested in reading about. If I wanted to read a story, with original main characters, I sift through the selections on my Kindle.

2. Do you think they are Mary Sues? If so, what makes them Mary Sues?

They have a tendency to be Mary-Sues. I won't say all of them, but the ones I've seen are very rarely flawed (or think they are flawed but every other character sees them as close to perfect), they rarely make huge mistakes and if they do, the repercussions in how other characters see them or residual effects are minimal and inconsequential.

3. Would you read a story with a self-insert character or an author avatar, if written well?

See answer 1. Specific to my fandoms and as a main character, that's an emphatic "no".

4. What tips would you have for someone who is considering writing a character who could be considered as "self-insert" or "author avatar"?

a) Make the character screw up, make mistakes, errors in judgement, etc. Have them fail at something.

b) Have them disliked by some and not just because of jealousy.

c) Don't give the character a whole slew of attributes you wish you had - that is fantasy wish-fulfillment. If it's a self insert, make it a true self insert, warts and all.

d) Develop a thick skin and separate yourself from your self insert. Don't take it as a personal affront if someone or a few someones react critically towards your character. They are not attacking you, they are commenting on the character. The same works in vice versa; if they like your character, they aren't saying they like you personally.

e) Examine why you want to do a self insert in the first place.

6/23/2013 #8
DH7
I'd almost feel tempted to try it just for the sake of the challenge. Then the frightening prospect of having to be honest about perversions and other highly personal information sets in.
6/23/2013 #9
Kagu-tsuchi-13

1. Hate them; this is especially true when it is blatantly obvious that the author is just using it as an excuse to live out their fantasies with the main character of the series. And, in doing so, they usually make any and all "canon" love interests deliberately act OOC in order to make their self-insert look good in comparison.

2. If they pair themselves up with any of the main characters of the series then yes. Because, as already stated, they are just trying to live out their fantasies with whatever character they are hopelessly in love with.

3. No. I've made the mistake of doing so three times. Once, a little under seven years ago, I followed a story in Xiaolin Showdown, believing that the author was using an OC to create conflict and that my favorite pairing would end up together. Though, as the story went on, it became obvious—due to not only cramming her f*** OC into every f*** scene, but also making the main female of the series into a jealous, conniving bitch—that the entire story was just a way for her to live out her (pathetic) fantasies with the lead male.

And the topper....the guy was a f*** cartoon character!

.

Many years later, I followed another story in another fandom. This one was different, the self-insert was not paired up with any of the canon characters and even helped encourage two of the characters to get together. Though it was clear that the author had shoehorned herself into canon situation—occasionally even stealing scenes from other characters—it was much more tolerable. But, as time went on, the self-insert—as well as her steadily increasing amount of OCs—began to overshadow the mains, to the point were the OCs had entire chapters dedicated to them and the canon characters were reduced to bit parts.

I was definitely not the only one who thought this, as the author began losing readers and reviewers the longer the story went on. Humorously enough, the author never caught on that her multitude of OCs was the reason she was losing her readers.

.

And the third and final time happened not that long ago in my current fandom. I actually don't know if this one could be considered "self-insert" given the fact that it was female to male transgender, though the author has made clear that they had a full hard-on for the female and....unsurprisingly he paired his character with her. And in doing so, they almost immediately fell for each other and spend the majority of the fic acting all "mushy-gushy" over one another.

And this author also complains (frequently) about his lack of reviews—but is at least aware enough to know that it is because the story is about an OC (though I don't think that is the only reason; the terrible grammar and lack of description could have something to do with that as well).

But the funniest part is that this guy claims to be an avid fan of my OTP (and has even alerted three of my stories involving said OTP), yet always portrays my OTP negatively in his story, no doubt because one of the characters in it is also the one that he has paired himself/character with.

4. To not do it. People come on this site to read about their favorite characters. But if for some reason they still do, then make sure that the OC never overshadows the main characters in any circumstance...and if you are going to rehash canon material then never let the OC steal scenes from canon characters.

6/23/2013 #10
TheByronicMan

I've written a deliberate self-insert, but not as a main character and not paired with anyone other than my current wife. The only attribute he has that I lack is money, because he shares my entrepreneurial impulses but got lucky once and had the right business idea at the right time. I admit that I shaved few years off of his age so that he would still be in his 60s when the story takes place. I used him as a writing tool to give me a baseline for making my main OC significantly different from me.

I wasn't planning on using him in any further stories, but he turned out to be handy in a story I'm currently writing. With the CDC hunting for the CCs and Federal Marshals looking for a couple of the OCs, his ranch makes a convenient base of operations in the last couple of chapters.

6/23/2013 . Edited 6/23/2013 #11
moosesquirrelkittenandking

1. Like them or hate them, or somewhere in between?

I'm on the fence, honestly. Most of the time, self-inserts suck, but there are exceptions to every rule. Most of the self-inserts I've read have been in either the Fallout or The Elder Scrolls fandom, and most have been... subpar. I did read one for Fallout that I suspected was a self-insert, though it was never said that it was, and it was absolutely brilliant. Not to mention, I can't really say much against self-inserts. My first forays into writing and fanfiction were self-insert adventures of my friends and I in Naruto, and the first House fic I wrote was a shameless self-insert/CC story. Thank God I had the good sense to never post it. It wasn't bad, per se, because I did have the character true to me, so my sarcastic remarks and consistent habit of crashing headlong into walls made it somewhat amusing, but it was shallow and pointless nonetheless.

My best friend did recommend a My Little Pony fic to me that's an author self-insert paired with Fluttershy, which I've stayed away from on the basis of it being human/horse, but he claims it's the best fanfic ever created. To each their own.

2. Do you think they are Mary Sues? If so, what makes them Mary Sues?

Ah, Mary Sue. The most overused phrase in the fanfiction dictionary. Not all self-inserts are created equal. Are most of them Mary Sues? Yeah. All of them? No. If they are, what constitutes a Mary Sue to me is a character that has:

a) Some kind of 'special' ability or quality, or several, generally making them overpowered.

b) Character is beautiful, every CC is suddenly stricken by the urge to sleep with them.

c) Ridiculously overdone tragic pasts, including but not limited to; murdered parents, house fires, sexual assaults, dead siblings, self-harm, the burden of being so painstakingly gorgeous.

d) Makes every CC they come in contact with act OOC.

3. Would you read a story with a self-insert character or an author avatar, if written well?

Short of b-e-a-s-t-i-a-l-i-t-y and i***, I'd read any well-written story.

4. What tips would you have for someone who is considering writing a character who could be considered as "self-insert" or "author avatar"?

If you do, DON'T TELL YOUR READERS. Go ahead, stick yourself in the story, the more power to you - but there is zero point in telling your readers in the summary or an A/N that it's really you. Just say it's an OC. After all, it's against the site rules to include real people in fics. Other than that, just stay true to yourself. If you're going to put yourself in the story, do it well. Also, self-inserts are definitely a form of fantasy fulfillment - if you're writing a fantasy, pump yourself up a little bit. Fanfic authors, including myself, aren't the world's most exciting folks. I don't see anything wrong with making some changes to make yourself less boring... but then of course you run the risk of making yourself too awesome and ending up in Mary Sue territory. Caution is required.

In all reality, it's a far better idea to make an OC inspired by yourself, but not a direct ripoff. I have an OC AU canon rewrite that's a fangirl falling into the fandom's universe. *pauses* Oh yeah. Hearing those words generally makes me cringe, but I worked hard at making the fangirl lovable and realistic and her interactions with the canon characters, and I've got nothing but good vibes from my reviewers. Fact is, if you write well, people will notice, and people will enjoy it, no matter the premise.

6/23/2013 . Edited 6/23/2013 #12
Wildcard999

1. Like them or hate them, or somewhere in between?

I've hated all the ones I knew I saw except my own. But I probably didn't know about the good ones.

2. Do you think they are Mary Sues? If so, what makes them Mary Sues?

That's like asking if I think poor neighborhoods are slums. I'd have to see each one to let you know. When they fall below a certain standard, they're slums. Above that, they're just poor. Similarly, when people let these self-inserts get away from them and don't regulate them, they often turn into Sues, hence the stigma.

3. Would you read a story with a self-insert character or an author avatar, if written well?

Obviously. They don't tell you though. The ones good enough to write them well know better than to go around bragging about it.

4. What tips would you have for someone who is considering writing a character who could be considered as "self-insert" or "author avatar"?

Treat every character like any other, including this self-insert. Even if you have to do it in an edit because you want to enjoy the SI while you're writing, you really need to look at it from other characters' perspectives so you can keep the thing in check. Otherwise, newbies probably wouldn't even notice when it started running amok.

And listen to serious reviewers, or seek opinions of experienced authors if no serious reviewers show themselves. It takes a while to learn how to control a self-insert.

6/23/2013 . Edited 6/23/2013 #13
Ranger-A13

I dislike self-inserts. Reasons? Because it just seems egotistical to put oneself into a story and it detracts from the reality/realism and seriousness of the story series the story is based off of. Another is a lot of self-insert authors (the ones I've seen) make themselves.... what's the word? Overpowered? Super awesome? Just plain annoying. Also they tend to boast about themselves in the story, expressing their real life interest and hobbits, which is just, once again, annoying.

Again this might be due because the self-inserts I read may have been bad. But then several were enough for me.

I'd say I'm of the same opinion as Imraven

6/24/2013 . Edited 6/24/2013 #14
DH7
I really don't run into many, if any, self inserts . . . or at least I don't really think I do. My radar for that sort of thing may be broken. I did read this one story, where the guy's pen name was the same as his OC's name . . . kind of a red flag. There was a love triangle, and the OC's sister had died, which dictated a lot of the OC's action, behavior, and development of the story. The former could be wish-fullfilment, but at the same time, the triangle brings out the "indecisive d***" in the character. As for the dead sibling, I'd originally thought that was an indicator that it WASN'T a self-insert. I couldn't possibly wrap my brain around why someone would go into full-on detail about something like that if it were true, and I couldn't see making something up like that about YOURSELF or possibly your real siblings, if it wasn't! I actaully thought the backstory was interesting, but the author could have handled the reveal better.
6/24/2013 #15
Ranger-A13

Most I've seen are in the Mass Effect archives section

6/24/2013 #16
Wildcard999

I dislike self-inserts. Reasons? Because it just seems egotistical to put oneself into a story and it detracts from the reality/realism and seriousness of the story series the story is based off of.

Those are the bad self-inserts again. The really good ones look like just another character. I over power mine but....well, I over power all my characters, so it's not that big a deal. Especially since over-powering is canon in my fandoms. DC comics did bring us Doomsday, the Monitors and the Anti-Monitor, after all. They even made up some 'anti-life equation' which turned out to be some kind of slug or virus or something. The stuff I write is much more stable, realistic and sensible than that. And the 'over-powering' just comes from overthinking the powers and discovering all kinds of cool stuff people can do with their one power.

My radar for that sort of thing may be broken.

My radar is just fine, but it only picks up the bad ones. Mostly because they're Sues, so I can see that the issues the character has are the same as the author. When they're just regular Sues, the character doesn't usually seem bothered by the same things as the author.

As for the dead sibling, I'd originally thought that was an indicator that it WASN'T a self-insert.

Lol, not even a little. It's usually a ploy to get everyone to 'cry for me'. They think it promotes bonding between the reader and the character so they can do whatever the hell they want sooner without losing people. Other times, it's a way of getting out your demons, but that assumes it's actually real or based on some kernel of truth. With the full-on detail...if it seemed really sad or angry, but not complainy or whiny, it was probably real. If not, it was probably made up. People often come off complainy or whiny when they're faking sadness because they don't really understand acting.

6/24/2013 #17
DH7
My memory isn't the greatest, but it was generally held as a reason that the OC initially distanced himself from others, including the love interest. He also felt a great deal of guilt, blaming himself for her death and feeling as if he had no right to go off and find happiness himself. I didn't find it overtly whiny or woe is me or anything like that, it all seemed to me to be there to move the story forward. My only hang-up is his lashing out at the love interest for finding out on her own. His reaction was over-the-top, unrealistic, and the dialogue during that scene sounded like it was coming from a much younger character.
6/24/2013 #18
Wildcard999

Hmm. The lashing out scene may have been a mirror to the author's real life. The dead sibling may have only been a plot device to get the author there. Or a plot device for earlier goals that just happened to lead to this scene. Newer authors tend to think through their fic a lot less and just wing it.

An over-the-top reaction usually means there's more going on under there, and since this is an entirely made-up story, obviously the author didn't do a good job at all in creating an analogue for their RL situation. Or they overreacted in RL, which makes perfect sense for a tantrum.

6/24/2013 #19
aBlue Gillespian

1. I can't say that I hate them, because 'hate' is a too strong word used to describe feelings towards fictional character, however, I can say that I dislike them in general. Or at least the ones I've had the misfortune to stumble upon. I can't say that all of them are bad, but I can say that all of the ones I've seen in my fandoms are terribly bad.

In my two main fandoms, the self-inserts tend to magically fall through a hole in reality and end up in the TV show's universe then start fan girling until they discover that they know a lot about the character and start outsmarting them and telling them what to do so they can avoid doing something the writer didn't like the character doing in the original episode. Very immature and just plain stupid.

And I'm sorry but I really can't add anything positive to this.

2. I'm not sure to be truthful, I'm still working out on a proper definition on a Mary Sue, but if even if they are not, if you are not careful they could be her twin sister.

3. Yes, I would if its tastefully written, if there is a capturing plot and the author is very skilled in telling their tale. However, I'm yet to find one like this.

4. When you do it and you get to an unfamiliar situation in the story, and not only the telling us what the family breakfast is like, then stop and think how you would react at finding yourself in danger, or away from home; not how you wish you would react. If she is going to lean to fight, first think would do be able to? How would do feel holding a weapon or having to use it, not just go along with the story and suddenly turn your character in a fighter who doesn't stop to think about the consequences of it. Well if you think you won't and that just me, then by all means go into the battles.

6/25/2013 #20
Wildcard999

In my two main fandoms, the self-inserts tend to magically fall through a hole in reality and end up in the TV show's universe then start fan girling until they discover that they know a lot about the character and start outsmarting them and telling them what to do so they can avoid doing something the writer didn't like the character doing in the original episode.

Lol. I have one self-insert that fell through a crack in the universe and ended up in canon, but either the psychics that wrote the cartoon/TV show she found herself in got a lot wrong or her memory was 'edited', ostensibly by the same person responsible for her ending up there in the first place. And every time I run this, there's about a 10% chance of her getting them to like her and let her join the team. The rest of the time? She p*** them off or something and there's a huge fight and she has to go it alone.

Four is full of good points that a lot of authors don't think about.

6/25/2013 #21
aBlue Gillespian
I just want to apologise for the use of 'do' in a couple of places instead of you in 4. I just noticed them but I can't edit from my iPhone and the lap top is already off. About my point for the weapons. I'm speaking as someone who was used to go to the firing rage regularly. I'm used to the weight of a gun in my hand, but I'm sure that firing at paper targets or fighting in training is completely different than actually facing a real person. I'm a good shot when I'm faced with paper, however, I will never be able to raise the gun if there is a breathing creature in front of me.
6/25/2013 #22
Wildcard999

Yeah. I can do some really kickass things too, but it'd be pretty hard to concentrate on them while I'm terrified I'm about to die or get seriously injured.

6/25/2013 #23
aBlue Gillespian
Yeah, that too and the other think in consideration when using a weapon is. Could you inflict the pain to a living creature? If you fire a bullet which only weights 42g but can effectively cut a person's life short, could you do it? Could you kill someone's father, brother, lover? A lot of authors who write self- inserts don't think about this things. They just want to be as kick a** as their favourite characters and start helping in battles and shooting bullets or waving swords without stopping to think if they could realistically do it. Because if you are in a situation when you actually have to do it, I don't think it will be that easy to go out without trauma for someone who until then had only to think of how to pay the next month's mortgage or not being late to the children's school play.
6/25/2013 #24
LMRaven
They just want to be as kick ** as their favourite characters and start helping in battles and shooting bullets or waving swords without stopping to think if they could realistically do it.

I actually just wrote a scene like this today, although not with a self insert OC but a canon character who is known to be of a more kind and life-loving nature. She had to kill to protect a loved one and the "person" that she killed had been tormenting her and her loved ones for a long time. The kill was a violent one, filled with her rage and she is horrified at herself and her actions in the aftermath of it.

6/25/2013 #25
Wildcard999

Could you inflict the pain to a living creature?

Already got the answer on that one. Which is why I haven't had characters working with bladed weapons in a long time. Can't draw blood. Bruises can't be seen, but for some oddball reason, I have a problem with cutting people or in some other way making them bleed. Which is weird since the only problems I've had with blood are that I imagine all visible injuries on myself with such a realism that it actually hurts. But a little bitty cut would be okay to get past. My inflicting it? Not even possible. It's a strange disconnect that makes no sense.

As for killing, it's a non-issue since none of my applicable characters do that...except for three, which have other issues and are amalgamations of myself and other people, which really changes things.

6/25/2013 #26
pas une pipe

While you're writing, ask yourself if you're being honest. More often not, self-inserts are idealized versions of the author.

Hypothetically, let's say that tomorrow I'll die in a car accident, and then somehow wake up in Middle Earth.

For some reason, most fics with that premise have the character (female, in most cases) find herself in a strange forest or mine, conveniently close to the Fellowship. Tell me again why it's nearly always in that time period.

Y'know, Earth's surface is covered mostly by water. I'm not very familiar with Tolkien's works, but there's a good chance I'd land in deep water and drown. So much for joining up with the Fellowship; I'd be fish food instead.

Let's say that something very unlikely happens, and I come across the Fellowship sometime during their quest...

No, I don't speak Westron! No, a clueless human girl (AKA me) who can't fight worth a damn isn't some key to the Ring's destruction! No, Aragorn and Legolas probably won't fall in love with that human girl! No, I'm not as beautiful as Arwen! No, I'm not used to hard physical labor, especially when outside and in direct sunlight. My pale skin would burn. I'd worry about possibly never returning home, and the lack of melanoma treatments in Middle Earth.

I'm decent at long-distance running, but have you ever picked up a sword before? The ones I've held are heavy, and I heard that it takes a long time to train to the point that they feel like a part of your own body. I'd probably drop my sword and run away with my tail between my legs if I saw 10,000 Uruk-hai marching towards me.

I'm scarily good at air hockey, but that doesn't mean I can shoot arrows well. Legolas is a freaking Elf. He's had centuries to hone his skills.

Would I be able to contribute at all? (After the Fellowship dumps me off somewhere safe, obviously. They wouldn't want to leave someone defenseless in harm's way, but they cannot put their mission in jeopardy.) Well, the language barrier would probably be the biggest problem, and that would really get in the way. My medical experience could be helpful in many cases, but modern medicine has a dependence on readily available medications (e.g., antibiotics) and equipment.

That's not to say I haven't learned any wilderness first aid, but it would be a challenge. Also, I wouldn't be familiar with the many medicinal plants from that world. I don't a very expansive working knowledge of medicinal plants from my own world. In the end, I think I could contribute the most with my knowledge of engineering and the physical sciences.

6/25/2013 #27
aBlue Gillespian
@ Imraven: her being an OC and not self- insert makes a big difference, because you don't state in there that she to some extend mirrors you. Also the fact that she is horrified at herself is what I was saying that should they creat a situation when the author's avatar really has no choice but to do it, they shouldn't be able to get out of it without a psychological trauma.
6/25/2013 #28
LMRaven

I know Theta, I was agreeing with you and just using my own example. The character I mentioned wasn't an OC either, it was a canon character. It shouldn't matter though what type of character it is (OC, self insert or canon), taking a life, if the characters are human, would react as one. Most would suffer some sort of psychological damage.

6/25/2013 #29
TheByronicMan

One thing about the Newsflesh fandom is that it can be real easy to do a self-insert. No need to fall through a crack in the space-time continuum, because the zombie apocalypse is due to kick off in about a year. However, the main storyline is set about 25 years after that, so when we first meet the literary version of me he is pushing 70 and has been periodically culling the neighborhood zombie population for more than two decades. By that point being able to unhesitatingly pull the trigger on your nearest and dearest is a necessary survival trait, so putting down a herd of zombie deer causes no more anguish than spraying your garden for aphids.

In the one-shot where he's a major secondary character, he does describe how he protected his family in the summer of 2014. He did so using only the weapons, equipment, and skills I currently possess, and fortified the house according to the plan that's occupied a few of my many sleepless nights over the years. And that plan didn't quite work, necessitating a last heroic act by an aging Rhodesian Ridgeback hound. He notes that he was kind of glad the zombies tore the dog apart before it could reanimate, saving him from having to shoot his own dog. [1]

Could I have done as well? Maybe. The first zombies he dealt with were cows from a neighboring ranch. I haven't had any problem killing dangerous animals. Admittedly, they've all been poisonous snakes, but I did once go out after a clearly sick, possibly rabid fox I'd seen wandering around. It managed to die without my help. Could I shoot a human, even a dead one? On two occasions I've been prepared to draw and fire if it were necessary, but luckily it wasn't. And it's not fun, when the adrenaline spike fades I get painful muscle spasms that leave my back knotted up for hours.

[1] This is one case where life imitates art. Our dog passed away several month ago, long after I had written the story. His health was declining rapidly, and we had already nursed him through one bad bout. I hated the idea of having to have him euthanized, and was a bit relieved when he died on his own, quickly and by all appearances relatively painlessly, at home with us by his side.

6/25/2013 #30
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