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Very Hot Topic (More than 25 Replies) Writing (and staying!) in Character (Read 4694 times)
Lightcudder
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Writing (and staying!) in Character
Nov 14th, 2010 at 3:51pm
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I would be very interested to get other forum members opinions on this topic.

I have sweated blood over The Shepherd, mainly because I have put Ed Straker in a situtaion that is, quite frankly, very different to anything he has been in before. ( well, at least a situation that I have put him into , although I have researched it quite thoroughly!)

A homeless shelter for drug addicts, alcoholics and other misfits (including the mentally damaged) is not exactly the usual setting for the SHADO Cmdr.

So. I need your opinions. Is he acting as Straker? (Given the added complication that he has lost his memory!! -- I like to make things hard for myself!!)

Is he believable as Ed? And how important anyway is it that he does behave as Ed Straker might behave in a situation such as this??

My personal feelings are that I am writing UFO fanfiction... and therefore I have to keep as close to the ideals of the character as portrayed in the series, by the actor, the directors and the writers.

That is one of the reasons for posting the articles by Ian Fryer and Vincent Law.. we can see other people's thoughts on how specific characters were perceived.

Opinions gratefully received! Wink
  

I need some air.
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Lightcudder
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Re: Writing (and staying!) in Character
Reply #1 - Nov 14th, 2010 at 5:48pm
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And I am going to reply to myself!!

Guina was chatting earlier about Breathless and how the scene where Straker takes that decision to kill himself is a very powerful one.. and I did wonder at that moment whether it was in character for him to even consider that action let alone go through with the decision.

But, having thought about it I remembered the scene in Timelash where he takes the second dose of X50..and tells Col.Lake;  'I made my choice a long time ago.'

So I think i can justify his actions in Breathless...although I admit it was a pretty tough scene to write..

I can't see Alec doing the same somehow, even though he always comes over as a tougher character.
  

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Guina
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Re: Writing (and staying!) in Character
Reply #2 - Nov 14th, 2010 at 10:34pm
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Hi,

what I saw so far of Shepherd is definitely IN character for Straker and quite ingeniously written too.

I think there are a few things about writing fanfiction which make it actual fanfiction (as opposed to writing own fiction), keeping characters IN character certainly is the most important aspect, even over and above such stuff as staying close or within canon.
  
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Lightcudder
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Re: Writing (and staying!) in Character
Reply #3 - Nov 16th, 2010 at 7:48pm
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Okay.. help needed here..

Alec Freeman  -  was it in character for him to have the odd fling? to have (and I  hesitate to use the phrase..) a one night stand?   Not sure.

Really really not sure!
  

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Kira-kun
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Re: Writing (and staying!) in Character
Reply #4 - Nov 16th, 2010 at 10:37pm
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As to mary sues: I apparently have two, one male, one female. of course, in the circumstances that the article describes, a person who looks 30ish and is actually over 100 is one heck of a mary sue ... <laughing>

laters
  
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Guina
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Re: Writing (and staying!) in Character
Reply #5 - Nov 17th, 2010 at 4:33am
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Hi,

I think Alec has been dealt with extremely badly, and also wrongly, by many writers, who have him down to f**k every female who is not high up a tree at the count of 3. Some even go as far as putting mysogynic diatribe dialogue of the worst kind in his mouth - making it as if all he saw in women was a hole to be filled for egotistic pleasure and then discarded.

That's really projection of the worst kind, I am sorry to have to say.

Alec was set up as being a suave ladies' man, flirting with verve and good nature, absolutely for fun and good feelings, and heeding female wishes when so uttered. Ms. Ealand's reaction to him, as well as Ayshea's, both women he must meet regularly, are both friendly, a bit exasperated, but again, in a friendly manner. No woman would be friendly to the kind of a**hole that Alec was so often painted to be, even if he were three times her superior (and Ealand has a good line of "icy polite").

Sooo - no I don't see Alec Freeman as the mega-womanizer, who chomps on them and then discards. I do not even see him as "getting" a lot (because we do not have that much in the series either). He is someone who likes to flirt, who has somewhat oldfashioned manners in terms on how to deal with his sexual drive, I can see him as the ultimate serial boyfriend/lover, who for some reason declines when he is asked to pop the question, but not much as someone who has one night stands readily. Indeed, I think he just might want to settle down, but finds himself incapable of doing so.

As he was set up and as he was treated by everyone, he was a nice, warm and feeling kind of person.
« Last Edit: Nov 17th, 2010 at 7:47am by »  
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Guina
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Re: Writing (and staying!) in Character
Reply #6 - Nov 17th, 2010 at 5:59am
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Hi,

yes - that link (and its deeper links) do make quite some sense.

By that MS test, Unnur comes closest, though with her 3 points she is no Mary Sue (she really is Jethro Gibbs Grin ), but actually none of my OCs are Mary Sues. I guess I like the nitty gritty too much for that Smiley

But one pet peeve of mine is repeated in there, the "don't tell show" one.

I've lately come to hate this phrase, because it by now stands for an action-loaded, movie-oriented writing style which I do not find particularly likable. Jane Austen or Emily Bronte, anyone? Maybe a bit of Dickens? No? How about Asimov or LeGuin instead? Or Zimmer-Bradley and MacCaffrey? If those authors had heeded the don't tell show maxime we'd have some great books less.
« Last Edit: Nov 17th, 2010 at 9:37am by »  
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Normandie
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Re: Writing (and staying!) in Character
Reply #7 - Nov 17th, 2010 at 8:49am
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Alba wrote on Nov 17th, 2010 at 4:33am:
I think Alec has been dealt with extremely badly, and also wrongly, by many writers, who have him down to f**k every female who is not high up a tree at the count of 3. Some even go as far as putting mysogynic diatribe dialogue of the worst kind in his mouth - making it as if all he saw in women was a hole to be filled for egotistic pleasure and then discarded.

That's really projection of the worst kind, I am sorry to have to say.< ... >

As he was set up and as he was treated by everyone, he was a nice, warm and feeling kind of person.

I so agree with that entire analysis, Guina. I think both he and Paul Foster would have been innundated by offers from studio employees and actresses but I don't see either of them having the time to become serial womanisers. Yes, Paul had a number of relationships in the series - or at least the potential for, but he seemed to forge real (if brief!) connections with all of them. Even in Psychobombs he seemed to care for... wotsername! Can't recollect it without looking and tinternet here is really slow this morning.


Having made those comments:

Lightcudder wrote on Nov 16th, 2010 at 7:48pm:
Alec Freeman - was it in character for him to have the odd fling? to have (and I hesitate to use the phrase..) a one night stand? Not sure. Really really not sure!

Yes, I'm sure he would. Providing the woman was willing and the circumstances right. Most (unattached) men would - they wouldn't need to be serial womanisers to accept.
  
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Normandie
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Re: Writing (and staying!) in Character
Reply #8 - Nov 17th, 2010 at 9:08am
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Lightcudder wrote on Nov 14th, 2010 at 3:51pm:

So. I need your opinions. Is he acting as Straker? (Given the added complication that he has lost his memory!! -- I like to make things hard for myself!!)

Is he believable as Ed? And how important anyway is it that he does behave as Ed Straker might behave in a situation such as this??

I know very little about amnesiacs but I think you could argue that the mind wouldn't be a blank slate - it would instinctively revert to or at least accept subconscious routines (for eg) that would feel comfortable.

Considering how Straker's early military life might have been (basic room, bed, bedding and rules, regulations, provided with clothing) following "orders" (which is effectively what he's doing) might have a familiarity to them that would lead him to following requests without too much concern providing those requests seemed reasonable. Though he might not continue to do that, of course!

So for me, the way you have him behaving in the shelter doesn't seem out of (a possible) character. He's not acting as Cmdr Straker but he is acting as "a" Straker. Does that help?!? Wink
  
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Guina
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Re: Writing (and staying!) in Character
Reply #9 - Nov 17th, 2010 at 7:09pm
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Hi Dragon,

my comment - if that is what you are reacting to - was not meant for you. There are many stories in the library where the writers have Freeman down as being a rather vile, misogynic macho. I meant those. They are totally uncalled for.

And to clarify - yes, many men will do/initiate a ONS if there is a chance for success (I think the current rate among unbonded males is somewhere around 70%).

I certainly would not put it past Freeman (or Foster), but I reacted to something Louise and I chatted about (which made a nice innuendo here  Grin ):

I don't think Freeman would seek out a ONS to get himself over his grief about (the thought to be dead) Straker. That doesn't make sense in my POV of Freeman. If he had a ONS it would be a joyous, fun, lighthearted, great for both parties thing, not an (ab)usage of the woman to assuage his sorrows.
  
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Normandie
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Re: Writing (and staying!) in Character
Reply #10 - Nov 17th, 2010 at 8:01pm
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I don't think Freeman would use a ons to get himself over his grief but perhaps he would do so to get himself momentary mental respite from the enormity of loss.

Death can bring out / intensify sexual urges, can't it? In those undead, anyway. <smirk> If Freeman couldn't resort to a bottle of Scotch (or whatever) and he wouldn't be able to in view of the command circumstances, a ons with no consequences* might appeal.

*unless consequences are part of the plot?
  
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Guina
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Re: Writing (and staying!) in Character
Reply #11 - Nov 17th, 2010 at 8:17pm
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Hi Normandie,

I know you live in France Grin And the one country leading the world on ONS certainly is France Smiley (chuckling here for own experience reasons).

However, I simply can't see Alec as someone who might so readily exploit a woman, and exploitation this would be, and he'd know that too. I always had him down as someone to whom sex was mainly fun.

Yes, sex can be a reaction to death. But usually this would entail both participants being in a situation of being threatened with death, and "feasting" life through an act of "lifemaking". At least that's what my understanding of that psychological mechanism is.

Definitely not the reaction of someone losing his best, dearest friend in such a dejecting manner. Such tends to entirely shut off the sexual drive. Anyone having lost a loved family member might try and test whether s/he would have had sex with a stranger right then. I doubt there will be many saying "yes" to that.

All of the above - just my own 2 cents.

Oh and a major drinking spree - I can see him doing that. Alone with a bottle of vodka at home.
  
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Lightcudder
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Re: Writing (and staying!) in Character
Reply #12 - Nov 17th, 2010 at 8:24pm
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Plot??? Plot??? Is there a plot for Shepherd??

Actually, thanks everyone.   I needed to see other people's perspectives  of this and I think I can make it work... hopefully.

so Thankyou. seriously.
 
Now I will get on with writing..  maybe!!

(this was going to be a short story.. drat.)

And I spoke to daughter who works in the homeless shelter again tonight.. even MORE grist to the mill!!
  

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Normandie
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Re: Writing (and staying!) in Character
Reply #13 - Nov 17th, 2010 at 10:58pm
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Alba wrote on Nov 17th, 2010 at 8:17pm:
However, I simply can't see Alec as someone who might so readily exploit a woman, and exploitation this would be, and he'd know that too. I always had him down as someone to whom sex was mainly fun.

I don't see a one-night-stand as automatically exploiting the woman if she's up for it too. Some women are perfectly happy to seize the moment nowadays... and I think Shepherd is fairly contemporary in setting?

But. You may already be aware of where Lightcudder is taking the plot so you may be aware of exploitative aspects to the encounter that I'm not.
  
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Guina
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Re: Writing (and staying!) in Character
Reply #14 - Nov 18th, 2010 at 5:30am
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Hi Normandie,

maybe just another instance of talking past each other here Smiley and please don't mistake my explaining for being aggro/debative. I just want to bring over what I think.

Soooo...

Yes, most unbonded men (including Freeman I agree) would have a one night stand if given the chance.

Yes, sex can be a great calming/uplifting thing.

Yes, some times sex in the face of death to celebrate life can happen easily (BUT this psychologic mechanism commonly means a death threat on both parties, it's known e.g. for people during war before an attack or during ceasefire, and we do not have this situation here regarding Alec)

Seeking out a woman for anonymous one-time sex, already knowing that the sole reason you do that is to plug up or forget a feeling of sorrow is exploiting the woman. It's not about having fun together. It's not even about sex.

Incidentally half of all women having a one night stand have negative feelings the next day, the majority due to feeling "used" (reference). Things are definitely not as positive about this little sexual happenstance as media have made us believe.

Any halfway intelligent and sensitive woman would cotton on rather fast to why Alec seeks her out in this particular case, and yes she would feel used, and my perception of Alec is that he would know it too. He never was portrayed as a psychologically inept klutz by Sewell (the joke among them was that Straker is). I don't think he would do it. Things might be different with a longtime fuck-buddy whom he visits for a cuddle, but even then - see below.

Lastly, death of a close relative or beloved person usually turns one's libido OFF rather completely. Which is why I think that the question doesn't even pose itself.

What I could imagine is Freeman going to a good, "old (female) friend" and get a cuddle - some food foisted on him, a whiskey or two, being comforted while he talks about Straker, tucked into bed and held. No sex. That would be what psychologically makes excellent sense. A ONS doesn't.

As to women being "perfectly happy to seize the moment", see that research and there are more on the same topic giving similar data.

Personally I don't think the picture portrayed by movies, TV or media, that women do it and love it for the same reason as males is correct. I think many women will agree with ulterior motives, like e.g. securing a longterm relationship, or because they feel pressured into agreeing. Quite a few may have been caught out in a situation where they feel a "no" is no more an option (which ends with them feeling quite a bit like date-raped women, only they blame themselves for it even more so).

My personal impression is that it's the married/bonded women who have a quickie on the side with an attractive, willing man they chance upon who are those most likely to enjoy a ONS without misgivings.

In any which case - it is an interesting topic. Especially if you want to have people act realistically in what you write.

And again - YMMV.
  
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