It’s the way that you do it!​
First blog of the new year. And I’m keen to continue the vibe I’ve had going about different folks and different strokes.
I remember saying a while back that your character is your character. Sometimes people bothered me because they wanted my character to behave a certain way. To remain static and not develop. I remember saying that your character is your character and should be free to behave how you see fit — because after all, only you know how the character has grown, or how they’ll react in a certain situation.
But once again, my bestie posed a conundrum for me over the Christmas period and given the enforced down-time (I didn’t realise how addicted I was to this site by the way — but that’s another story) I reflected on what she said.
You see, she had an idea for her character. And asked how one of my characters would react. I gave an honest answer. And I’ll come back to the precise phrasing of the last sentence later.
Given my response, they felt unsure if they could pursue their initial thought, as the direction my character would take wasn’t comfortable with her — because the likely outcome was my character going into IC retirement. I assured her I’d be supportive — but looking back, I can see why she was less than enthusiastic about that reply.
So, two complementary thoughts come from that little chat on Skype.
Firstly that my response was an answer. Not *the* answer, but *an* answer. Rarely do people have but one choice. There were, on reflection, many things I could have done with the character. I shouldn’t have been so hasty with my *one* option. Lesson learned.
The second thought is that — potentially conflicting with a previous blog stance (but I think developing from it) — no character occurs in a vacuum. This is a community, not a site for my personal benefit. So, although I love my characters and will invariably act IC in all circumstances and develop them organically, as threads dictate, I guess we all have a responsibility to the thousands and thousands of other characters on the site. Writers that might love your character and wish to RP with them one day. In a sense we owe it to them to act IC but simultaneously think of the site as a whole, and not from our own personal (and therefore selfish) perspective.
I’m not saying any writer cannot develop their character as they see fit. I hope that’s not what people are reading. But I hope you are accepting — just a little, if not a lot — that every reader owns a little bit of our characters.
So…to kill them off, or retire them on a whim? Or change direction 90-degrees? Or stop another writer doing what they want for fear your character might retire? Not fair when I put it like that, eh?
Part of the answer is something we could all do more of — talk to each other. Not dismiss an idea with a glib response, or worse still a negative one because we don’t like what we hear. But instead to work with that person and create an even better story-line. Even if that means (for me at least) setting aside a principle and partially scripting a story arc so that both/all writers get what they want.
And this (of course) doesn’t just apply to characters. It goes equally for Factions and all things sized in-between.
So…for 2016, before you respond to a request (or a thread you stumble across) with an immediate post as to why it won’t work? Pause. Think of one good reason why it would work and help you/your friends/your Faction/CHAOS. And post that instead :)