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Mr Flibble
08-09-2011, 10:51 PM
Disclaimer: I'm a bit out there at present. This makes sense in my own head, it may not in yours. C'est la vie.

Also, please note this is a cogitation in progress and I welcome comment to help me cogitate more.



Anyway, thread. With diagrams.





Something I've been thinking about sparked by something my Old Man said (and intensified by another thread). I gave him a short to read over, one I wanted to sub under a pen name.

He read three paras and gave it back 'You can't sub it under a pen name. I can tell it's yours like you signed it.'

Me: '....But I've never written anything about a character like this before, or...'

Him: 'Look. *points to three sentences*. Any one who's read much of your stuff is going to know it's you, just because of the subject here and how you've expanded here and what you've said about it there.'

Me'....Bastard! You're right...'


My characters are not me

BUT

They do see the world filtered through the lens of my worldview. Of course they do – whose else’s are they going to filter through?

To demonstrate. Take one theme – religion is a biggie in fantasy so we’ll go with that.

Here is my worldview lens. Note how it is not circular – that is because I am not perfect.

http://i110.photobucket.com/albums/n83/spinynorman_2006/leak1.png
One of my characters is an atheist. I am not. So I write him, BUT his view is filtered through the lens of my world view thus:
http://i110.photobucket.com/albums/n83/spinynorman_2006/leak2.png


Notice how my worldview skews his viewpoint slightly. He is not me, he is looking from his view through me.


On the opposite side of my lens, there is a character I’ve written who is a devout Catholic. I am not one of those either. Here is how she is filtered through my worldview lens:
http://i110.photobucket.com/albums/n83/spinynorman_2006/leak3.png

Notice how she is looking at life from teh opposite view, yet still filtered through me.





Now if we take a lot of my characters and put them all in there:


http://i110.photobucket.com/albums/n83/spinynorman_2006/leak4.png
http://i110.photobucket.com/albums/n83/spinynorman_2006/leak5.png







All are coming from different viewpoints, with different feelings and attitudes. None of them is me.


See where they all intersect? Each of them has a different viewpoint on the theme at hand – religion – and each feels very differently than I do. They are not me. But each is highlighting my worldview from their position. Showing/exploring a different side to it. If you were to analyse my work closely, you could make a good stab at where I stand on the issue. Yup, that point right in the middle.


Now, with regard to the other thread (sorry, a no no. I shall give a potted history here – that it is possible to see a person’s attitudes and hang-ups through their writing, IF they don’t spread their characters around.)

So, if your worldview is skewed thus:


http://i110.photobucket.com/albums/n83/spinynorman_2006/leak9.png

Then the lens which you show your characters through will be more skewed, thus:


http://i110.photobucket.com/albums/n83/spinynorman_2006/leak8.png
(Note – I have almost certainly got the angles wrong here. Forgive me)

If your characters all look at the world from the same (your) stand point:


http://i110.photobucket.com/albums/n83/spinynorman_2006/leak7.png

And at this point, THIS is where readers start to wonder. Because everything points one way.

Now me, when I write, I look at the attitudes of my characters and it makes me re-examine my own. To me, this is crucial to the whole process. To others not so much. But what I am positing here is that your world view can (and will) be extrapolated from what you write even when your character’s opinions are not your own. Plus, the more you do not examine your own attitudes/themes, the more likely you are to repeat them, and this get someone saying ‘Hang on a minute…’

To get into the mind of someone else as you write is an opportunity to see things from another view. It may change your lens shape, but no matter how that character is NOT you (and mine emphatically espouse very different views to me), perforce, it will be written through the reflection of your lens.

Example:

I give my heroes qualities that I think are heroic. Other people give their heroes qualities that they think are heroic, but which I might find abhorrent. (and they might find mine abhorrent) So, my heroes are unlikely to kill kittens for kicks, or to stalk their lady loves. When you (all you’s in this post are generic) you will give your hero qualities that you think are heroic. So, you may want to show your hero/heroine being tough and capable. You might show them saving someone or thrashing some guy to within an inch of his life for no reason. If you do the second, then people might well question what you consider heroic.

Also consider:

Take two people, one who thinks say spousal abuse is abhorrent and one who thinks it is acceptable to keep the other half in their place.

They can both write the same scene, with the same dialogue and action, but each will have a separate tone. Each will guide the sympathy of the reader to a different place. Each will perhaps justify actions differently and give an authorial ‘eww’ or ‘yay’ slant to a specific action, bringing a different reaction the reader (depending on whether they agree or disagree with the action)

Now, in a given story that might well be okay. But when you build up a little wheel as above, if the skewing is always going to the same place…..

That’s what shows. My characters are not me, none of them. But a little bit of me is in each of them, and depending on how I choose to show them, I reveal more or less about myself. If I write well, it would take Inspector Morse to figure it out. If I write using stereotypes or stock characters, my dog could figure it out.

Scary, isn’t it?

Phaeal
08-09-2011, 11:10 PM
At the moment, I feel like Brittany from Glee: oooh, the oval-thingie with the different color whatchamajiggers sticking out is pretty.

Let me think about it for a while, and I may come up with something more cogent. ;)

Mr Flibble
08-09-2011, 11:15 PM
Tbh, I'm hoping this isn't a sign I've totally lost it

Been one of those weeks.

DeleyanLee
08-09-2011, 11:28 PM
It's not, and you're completely right about that fact. How can we write but from how we perceive the world and all that's in it? That perspective is what makes us unique and gives us our voice and our stories.

That's as it should be, I think.

And readers who share or are interested in that perspective will be your reading audience and fan base. It'll be what they're drawn to, it's a comfort factor, gives them some feeling of kinship with you.

Again, that's as it should be.

As for not submitting under your main name--I'd say it depends on why you want to use the pen name. Because you've got too much else out there, you need to? Because it's something different from what you usually do and you don't want your usual readers to have the wrong expectation?

Those are good reasons, IMO. But if you do it because you think it's substandard in some way, it's probably not a good answer to the problem.

Chris P
08-09-2011, 11:29 PM
Tbh, I'm hoping this isn't a sign I've totally lost it

Been one of those weeks.

:roll:

I understand what you are saying, though. The book I'm subbing right now takes place in various countries in Africa (the MCs are an American and three Brits), and I try to present an African perspective on globalization, commerce, etc. However, no matter how closely I follow African news and politics, read up on African history, and reflect on my own experiences in Africa, I am still a middle-class American. It's not easy to give a voice to people whose lifestyles I've only studied and observed peripherally. I have not been successful finding an African beta reader, and one of my fears is that I have been unintentionally misrepresenting the viewpoints of the African characters.

But then again, my audience is likely to be middle-class Americans/Canadians/Brits/Aussies. So if my world view corresponds to that of my readers, is that so bad from a business standpoint? Movies do better in America if they have an American character and reinforce an American (or at least Western) worldview.

Mr Flibble
08-09-2011, 11:58 PM
It's not,

Phew



That perspective is what makes us unique and gives us our voice and our stories.

I was thinking it's probably at least part of an author's voice.



Because it's something different from what you usually do and you don't want your usual readers to have the wrong expectation?

The pen name is for stuff very different to what I usually write. That was the thing - this was too much the same. Not in theme/style as such, but in how I presented it. My slant on the theme. Too obviously mine, not enough the other name.

lastlittlebird
08-10-2011, 12:09 AM
I find that my favourite authors often seem to celebrate values that impress me... but is that always because they actually hold those values, or because my reading of the text is skewed by my worldview?

Mr Flibble
08-10-2011, 12:17 AM
A reader's worldview is going to come into play, (Don't make me embarrass myself by restating my LOTR story...) in that no matter how rounded your characters/worldview someone will see it differently, and no matter how skewed, someone will agree. Most readers might not notice, unless it's very pronounced. (A couple of fantasy writers just leap to mind there) It not being noticeable to the majority is teh preference I think - your worldview isn't skewing the story to such an extent it's noticeable - it's subtle.

There will always be those cases, but I think it's helpful to look at ourselves too, to examine our viewpoints/attitudes and see how our writing is reflecting them. We can't control our readers worldviews, but we can examine our own.

lastlittlebird
08-10-2011, 12:34 AM
There will always be those cases, but I think it's helpful to look at ourselves too, to examine our viewpoints/attitudes and see how our writing is reflecting them. We can't control our readers worldviews, but we can examine our own.

Oh I definitely agree.
But, I don't think you should feel too worried that someone who knows you well and has presumably read most/all of your work picked out a trend like that.

It's fantastic that you are using the opportunity to examine an aspect of your work that (I think) people often don't think very much about.

Psychomacologist
08-10-2011, 12:48 AM
I think you're absolutely right. It doesn't sound crazy at all.

It's natural as a human being that your worldview shapes your craft. It's nothing to worry about, as long as it's subtle and doesn't become anvilicious. If your lens is too skewed, the risk is it will put readers off because they feel they're being preached at. But if it's just a subtle slant to your work then I don't think it detracts any. It's natural and actually gives a nice peek into the head of the writer. It adds to the voice of the work.



Nice diagrams, btw :D

Mr Flibble
08-10-2011, 12:50 AM
Oh, not worried. It just made me think, especially in light of the other thread.

Mind, he hasn't actually read much of my stuff....

Sometimes I need to write stuff down so I know what I think. :D And I thought it might be an interesting topic.

dgiharris
08-10-2011, 12:57 AM
I've never put this into coherent thought or words so bear with me.

It is possible to think outside of your worldview if you are able to think logically.

The mistake most people make when arguing is thinking that their point of view is the only logical point of view. That is not true. It is possible to use logic, be logical, and still come up with different view points.

If you are true to that logic, you will be able to derive characters that have nothing to do with your worldview.

For instance. Lets say I'm writing a character that believes women are inferior. In order to write this character effectively, I have to create a sub personality within myself that believes women are inferior. If I then write from this subpersonality, then my character's action will be consistent with a sexist person.

Then I start digging deep and come up with a history and profile of this character. Why does he hate women? What is his history? What is his sexual history? Where did he grow up?

The more questions I answer, the more I flesh him out, the more concrete his actions will be, the more his worldview will differ from my own...

This is where research is vital. As you add to your knowledge base, you tailor a new knowledge base specifically for this character which in turn will make him differ more than your worldview.

not sure if i'm making any sense...

Mel...

Mr Flibble
08-10-2011, 01:01 AM
Ah, but that's what I'm saying.

I've written people who's worldview is VERY different to my own, (the subpersonality as you put it, nice one) but how I see that different worldview is inevitably coloured by my own, so me writing an atheist, or a Catholic will differ from someone else writing those people who are also not them.

How we write about people different to ourselves is also a measure of ourselves, and also casts light on how we see the subject, even if our character sees it from the other end of the spectrum...

So I write someone with a different worldview to mine, but that view of his is inevitably filtered through my own lens.

ETA: whoa, I'm getting all deep and shit here....

Psychomacologist
08-10-2011, 01:16 AM
Ah, but that's what I'm saying.

I've written people who's worldview is VERY different to my own, (the subpersonality as you put it, nice one) but how I see that different worldview is inevitably coloured by my own, so me writing an atheist, or a Catholic will differ from someone else writing those people who are also not them.

How we write about people different to ourselves is also a measure of ourselves, and also casts light on how we see the subject, even if our character sees it from the other end of the spectrum...

So I write someone with a different worldview to mine, but that view of his is inevitably filtered through my own lens.

ETA: whoa, I'm getting all deep and shit here....
No, this is good. I get it.

Imagine: I, as a writer, write a story. Girl meets boy, it's true love, but it can't happen. Circumstances are against them. In the end, she chooses to obey her family's wishes and not marry the young man. The end.

Now, scenario 1: I, as a person, believe True Love Conquers All. When I write this story, my personal view makes me subconsciously focus on the sadness and loss of the woman who can't have her true love. I unconsciously find myself portraying her choice as tragic, my heroine as a martyr. It's a sad story.

Scenario 2: I believe that love is often blind and foolish, and loyalty to family is more important than love affairs. When I write the story, I naturally find myself portraying her decision as tough but right; she has done her duty, however hard. The choice is part of a process of growing up and becoming an adult with adult priorities. It is sad but not tragic; bittersweet but she faces it with calm.


However I feel about the issue, whatever story I write, I will always put a slight spin on it depending on my world view. My characters will subtley reflect my opinions, even if they completely disagree with them. I think it's natural. The only reason to reel it in is if it becomes waaaaay too over the top.

Mr Flibble
08-10-2011, 01:21 AM
that is exactly what I'm talkin' about!

:D

Thanks to the person who repped me saying I'm not crazy BTW. You're wrong, but at least I'm not being crazy about this lol

AmsterdamAssassin
08-10-2011, 01:28 AM
I know I'm warped.

Nobody can have murdered virgins hanging from meathooks in his fictional closet and not be warped.

Still, I always read it as wrapped.

Like in a real warm bloodsoaked blanket.

Mr Flibble
08-10-2011, 01:36 AM
Pfft, I have pain mages kidnapping kids to...or that time my heroine killed her love interest or...

We are not our characters. That's the point - we are not them, but they see the world through us. We are their lens.


And one rep for crazy, one for not. Anyone want to go for the decider? :D

AmsterdamAssassin
08-10-2011, 01:38 AM
If you think I'm going to rep you, you must be cra--, wait...

Imbroglio
08-10-2011, 01:56 AM
Yeah, I often think about this in an attempt to make the characters within my novel more separate as well as identifiable.

I find a lot of the time I want to make the characters I "like" identify with the same moral principles I believe in, but that's just weak writing I suppose.

AmsterdamAssassin
08-10-2011, 01:59 AM
I have many moral principles, but if you don't like them, I have others...

Mr Flibble
08-10-2011, 02:17 AM
Funny - now I come to think of it, my fave characters to write have rather different morals to me (my pirate frex nicks anything not nailed down, and I love him dearly), except for one. Maybe that's one thing that, if a character doesn't have, I can't think of them as anything other than a villain. Pretty much the same IRL. I can forgive a lot, but not a lack of this.

If anyone figures out what this moral is, answers on the back of a twenty pound note. ;)

RemusShepherd
08-10-2011, 02:26 AM
I think you're completely normal, IRUs.

I consider the misunderstood monster to be the most heroic archetype possible; it just trips all my triggers. So all my heroes are monstrous in some way. My concept of heroism is warped by who I am. That's normal.

It can be a problem when your conception is too warped, because then it's hard to sell them to an audience. My serial killer hero is tough to like; I'm not sure how people would respond to the cannibal hero, since I've never let anyone read that particular bit. :) But if you're just talking about minor deviations then you're just introducing your own flavor into a story. Nothing at all to worry about.

Mr Flibble
08-10-2011, 02:47 AM
I wasn't worried - like I say, just thought in light of other convos etc it might be a good subject to dissect. Plus a bout of insomnia gave me a lot of time to think about it.

Dawnstorm
08-10-2011, 03:47 AM
Ever played the if-I-were-a-different-author-how-would-I-write-this game? I love it (for shorts), and do it often. And you know what?

The problem doesn't go away. It just becomes even less tangible. Imagine transposing everything you just said onto an omniscient narrator that is not a well a defined character but still obviously different from you. Characters reflected through a not-you narrator reflected through you. 3D space doesn't suffice for that metaphor. (My head is spinning.)

I think what it boils down to is motivation. You need to be motivated to write something; something needs to spark your creative impulse. And what things those are guides your way through the story. You have limited energy. Sometimes you have to wade through tooth-grinding work to get to the good bits, but this work takes energy. I write a lot quicker when I write about things that motivate me, than when I write about things I need to write so that I can write about things that motivate me.

I thinks it's that motivation structure that people can trace. Maybe.

For example: My work-forever-in-progress could have been told by linearily following a single character as the protagonist, who then meets a secondary character (sort-of-but-not-quite antagonist). That would have been the obvious narrative path. Guide sympathies first to one character, then slowly increase sympathy towards antagonist, until you see them both as two sides of the same tragic coin. That would have been the way to go for almost any author who'd think of that story.

Me? I'm writing it almost all from the point-of-view of collaterals. I'm writing the story around the story above, with lots of characters, no clear protagonist/antagonist pair. I contextualise the trigger into the world's mythology, world-changing events ("death of magic"), and politics. What I get is a mulit-point-of-view pastiche of intersecting stories, non of which are obviously foregrounded.

I love to complicate stuff; I hate to deal with the fall-out (but then I'm sort of a masochist). People who know me will recognise me in the method. (And most will roll their eyes and ask me - rhetorical question - why can't I just tell the damn story?) And my answer: because then you'll pick a character and root for him/her. Their answer: We do that anyway. And I think to myself that - if they get through this story rooting for anyone whithout being frustrated or bored, that's quite an accomplishment. (When the novel finishes the different personal stories are on different levels of resolution - but socially there's an ensemble finish, and conceptually we've just witnessed the swan song of magic... Depending on who you rooted for, you might be disappointed.)

I didn't want to play heroes/villains with my work. I wanted to show that decent people who generally respect each other can still spiral downwards into tragedy on account of social processes. Not only the narrative technique is guided by that. My story - as a result - has an unrealistically low percentage of callous or sadistic people. This is a result of what I wanted to do, but it's also a pointer to my morals (what do I consider "basically decent people"?)

None of this was a deliberate choice before I started. I just noticed mid-project (and after three false starts) and decided to re-inforce these aspects.

What I'm worried about, though, is "me-blindness". The above are things I noticed. But the things closer to me are probably not as easily noticable, especially when they concern assumptions I share with most people around me. And when I do notice something, I may need a break from writing, as - if these things are new - they often get too much emphasis, (1) overshadowing the core of the story, and (2) exoticising the other. I need time to get used to a new uncertainty.

Which is why I'm generally a short story writer. With novels, I need too many breaks to reconsider, and then I might have to re-write from scratch (if editing isn't enough).

For example, I'm an atheist in a primarily Catholic environment. My WiP has a dominant religion, which started out as scriptural monotheism. In steps, I realised that the whole concept would work better if ancestor worship had developed a mono-version (mono-ancestor worship - the Unity). The result is scripture as work-in-progress. It changed the entire faction, but allowed "Gods" to be outdated concepts - from the point of view of the religious mainstream. This places more emphasis certain pagan underground movements (which here-to-fore was background stuff), and related ethnic groups, and overall changed a lot of the social dynamics. Especially, it changes the way the central catastrophy is viewed by all the factions. And the central plot-line could now be called "magic wants to bring back Gods in order to survive".

My main problem, though, is that I'm not too much of a mysticist. So - as serious as the story is - there will always be a sort of ironic distance, which - again - is so very me.

Hope this isn't too confusing.

Jamesaritchie
08-10-2011, 04:04 AM
Some of my characters are me, right down to name, description, and world view. Others are not.

I find it as easy to write from another world view as from my own. If I know what my view is on something, it's easy enough to reverse it in this character or that one. I did this in a short story I sold to Ellery Queen. I can't write my world view and have a protagonist who murders his pregnant girlfriend, blames it on his best friend, gets away with it, and lives happily every after, but this is exactly what happened in the story.

I'm not an atheist, but I have a friend who is. We've had many lengthy discussions, and it's as easy to put his reasoning, his belief system, his logic, into a character as it is to put in my own.

I think the way to avoid me-blindness is to look at, to listen to, to get to know, other people in intimate detail. I don't have to agree with what they think, believe, feel, etc., in order to have a character do the same.

And, for me, characters are not paper creations invented in my own mind. Characters who are not me are almost always some other real person I know very, very well. I know how they think, what they believe, how they reason, what their world view is on this issue, that issue, etc. That's what goes into the story.

happywritermom
08-10-2011, 04:43 AM
That's part of what intrigues me about the works of others. I read for entertainment, of course, but I also read to learn something new, to experience the world from different perspective. The different lenses that we filter things through are part of what makes literature so excite and dynamic.
By the way, you might want to consider a degree in interpersonal relations! Some of my former professors would have been so proud of your application of communications theory to the novel, which is ultimately what you've done.

Psychomacologist
08-10-2011, 05:39 AM
If anyone figures out what this moral is, answers on the back of a twenty pound note. ;)
...the division of labour in pin manufacturing?

Satsya
08-10-2011, 12:01 PM
Interesting continuation of the other thread.

What I find interesting is the concept of the lens not being the same shape for everyone. Those with extreme views on a subject are more likely to have that view show up in their characters. Even if they try to hide it, they'll slowly create a pattern with their characters and subject matter, thanks to their skewed Lens of Worldview.

Continuing the lens theory: Authors good at observing/understanding people can create characters different enough from themselves to encompass a wide range of personality. Their lens would be rounder. Authors bad at observing/understanding people have characters that are basically all them, with cardboard to fill in the gaps. Their lens would be more skewed.

So those are two of the factors that determine what a person's Lens of Worldview looks like. It's a fun little thing to think about.

kuwisdelu
08-10-2011, 02:12 PM
I'm afraid the first thing that came to mind were flashbacks to my optics courses.

So I am going to be in a fetal position in the corner if anyone needs me.

skylark
08-10-2011, 02:15 PM
Interesting way of looking at things.

I think the thing is that although you're worried about skewing the image of all your characters, even in your picture you didn't show them being skewed to the same place. They're still different people. And there's always a lens anyway - it's the reader. The ideal is that your target audience reader's lens puts the characters in the exact same place that they are with your writer's lens in the system too.

(contemplates how optics really works, turns off that part of brain).

The problem really comes when someone has a lens which focuses everyone (or one particular aspect of everyone) to the same place. Something like "all the female characters, no matter what their role or status, need and want a man to make their decisions for them". Or the standard Mary Sue lens. "Everyone loves my character's little quirks."

The character who thinks all women are inferior is probably going to be less of an issue than the author (lens) who thinks all women are inferior. Or is that just my own lens in action? I'd have less trouble with a character who thinks all women are inferior but actually what we see is women not being inferior, than I would with a character who thinks women are capable of being equal but actually what we see is that all the female characters in the story are inferior. The first makes me think that the character hasn't really analysed their thoughts - they're one of those people who'll make some blanket statement but even in their own mind they didn't intend it to apply to everyone, only the people it should apply to. The second would wind the hell out of me and make me cross with the author.

It's probably my lens.

Mr Flibble
08-10-2011, 02:49 PM
What I find interesting is the concept of the lens not being the same shape for everyone. Those with extreme views on a subject are more likely to have that view show up in their characters. Even if they try to hide it, they'll slowly create a pattern with their characters and subject matter, thanks to their skewed Lens of Worldview.


I think that's it. Mostly, if I read a book where a character thinks X, I assume it's the character. Sometimes, often over the course of several books, it becomes apparent that either the writer writes a lot of characters who think the the same - telling in itself - or that the lens is making a very grouped pattern that becomes obvious.




I think the thing is that although you're worried about skewing the image of all your characters

Not worried. Thinking about it, esp with regard to other convos. When I get interested in something I get REALLY interested.


The character who thinks all women are inferior is probably going to be less of an issue than the author (lens) who thinks all women are inferior.

This (well, apart from my Old Man's input. Git) was what started me thinking. The difference between a character who thinks X is inferior and an author who makes all X characters weak/stupid/lazy etc. Sometimes the author's lens really leaps out at you. Other times, it's obvious, through tone and subtle means, that it is just the character. I was trying to work out how to show what I was meaning in that there is a difference.

Like Psycho's examples - say a writer's lens on Love will bleed through into how they treat a love story - make the exact same plot tragic or uplifting or bloody annoying. :D

Two writers writing about a overly patriarchal society may end up with a story involving women who are in the background, but real people, or just make all the women scenery.

In the other thread, I mentioned that some authors can write the first, and it's not a problem (their lens allows them to show women as inferior in the society but it's clear that's just what it is, in that society), but an author writing the second - their lens is showing like a beacon. Or possibly they are just lazy lol.


Or is that just my own lens in action? I'd have less trouble with a character who thinks all women are inferior but actually what we see is women not being inferior, than I would with a character who thinks women are capable of being equal but actually what we see is that all the female characters in the story are inferior. The first makes me think that the character hasn't really analysed their thoughts - they're one of those people who'll make some blanket statement but even in their own mind they didn't intend it to apply to everyone, only the people it should apply to. The second would wind the hell out of me and make me cross with the author.

It's probably my lens.

It could be. If so, it's my lens too :D

Basically I was just trying to find a way to explain how sometimes, not often, a book or author will give me a niggle. Or occasionally make me throw it across the room, whereas another writer could write about the same subject and I'll love it.

Or occasionally make me think 'Man, I'd love to meet this guy. We'd have a blast.'

What, exactly, was the difference? It's like I keep saying to my son - 'It's not always what you say that makes it rude. It's how you say it too.'

It's not what we write, I don't think, so much as how we write things, the angle we approach it from, where we put the mirror to reflect what we are trying to show, and that is where the lens becomes obvious.

Mark W.
08-10-2011, 07:12 PM
I think you can filter out your worldview in order to write characters or stories with different views. One of my favorite authors, David B. Coe, is a complete opposite to my worldview. Yet when I read his books, I thought he was similar to me because tha tis what the story demanded.

You can watch for it and filter it or minimize it if you are aware of it and make the effort.

Libbie
08-11-2011, 07:49 AM
Interesting thoughts. And I like the diagrams.

Made me think of how much I admire Ken Follett for reducing the world-view skew as much as he did in Pillars of the Earth. Follett is a serious atheist, but he wrote some really wonderfully true-feeling devout Christian characters in that book (as well as a range of other beliefs among his characters.) I don't think I've ever seen a fiction author handle the view-skewing lens so carefully or effectively before.

backslashbaby
08-11-2011, 08:20 PM
Very interesting post, and awesome diagrams :)

You can tell my worldviews in my themes, dammit. Every time, I think.

My characters don't necessarily give it away. I find myself agreeing with Jamesaritchie here:


...

I'm not an atheist, but I have a friend who is. We've had many lengthy discussions, and it's as easy to put his reasoning, his belief system, his logic, into a character as it is to put in my own.

I think the way to avoid me-blindness is to look at, to listen to, to get to know, other people in intimate detail. I don't have to agree with what they think, believe, feel, etc., in order to have a character do the same.

And, for me, characters are not paper creations invented in my own mind. Characters who are not me are almost always some other real person I know very, very well. I know how they think, what they believe, how they reason, what their world view is on this issue, that issue, etc. That's what goes into the story.

I try my best to not think through myself at all for many characters. I'm just a conduit for views I've heard time and time again, and I know all about the folks who think that way. My beliefs have zero to do with it, as much as possible.

Until we get to the themes, that is ;) I can't help that part! That's where motivation comes in, I think. I want themes I like.

Mr Flibble
08-11-2011, 08:29 PM
I try my best to not think through myself at all for many characters. I'm just a conduit for views I've heard time and time again, and I know all about the folks who think that way. My beliefs have zero to do with it, as much as possible.

Yes, precisely - I am not my characters. But I can't help but write them they way I write, for example. So my devout catholic is undoubtedly written by me, even though I don't share any characteristics with her. So is my atheist. Even though they are very different to each other, and me.

That's where the lens comes in, my translation of characters who are emphatically not me onto the page.

BTW, we're up to two not crazy, one crazy and one enquiry if I'm all right :D

Psychomacologist
08-11-2011, 09:21 PM
Y
BTW, we're up to two not crazy, one crazy and one enquiry if I'm all right :D
I only called you crazy because you said you were! I didn't want to undermine your self-concept by disagreeing with you!

timewaster
08-11-2011, 10:31 PM
Scary, isn’t it?[/QUOTE]

Not really - it's a component of voice, the distinctiveness of any writer.
It's kind of inevitable that everything you write has you in it.

Monkey
08-11-2011, 11:03 PM
Give two authors the same plot, synopsis, characters, and goals, and you're still going to get two different stories, with different emotional overtones and deeper meanings.

I see that as a product of each individual's lens.

Maybe one writes their atheist character this way, because they had an atheist friend like that. Another writes it another way, because they're atheist. Another writes it still another way, because of this or that experience they've had, or because they believe salvation only comes through God, or...the list goes on.

We do all have our paradigms, our realms of experience and knowledge, and when we write, we write from there--it's a large part of what gives us our unique voice.

And I do think that in many cases, you can get an idea of the author's views by reading their work.

Not always. And of course, you can be wrong.

One of my friends read my latest novel. One of the things he said was that it was like having a long, intimate conversation with me; that he would have known it was my book even if I tried to deny it. It was funny, because I'd intentionally created a main character very different from myself in both worldview and morality...and yet, there I was, hiding between the lines, whispering so loudly the reader could hear.

And in the end? His main criticism of the book was that there wasn't enough darkness. It was all about a fun romp. I'd noticed the same thing...when I wrote it, I was just having enjoying myself, not trying to say anything deep. When I re-read it, I thought it was fun but light, without as much substance as I would have liked. But then I figured hey, what's wrong with escapist commercial fiction?

And so it went to press.

And that process, those thoughts, that end determination by me, the author, came through in the final product in a way that was palpable to the reader.

And now I'm rambling...

sunandshadow
08-11-2011, 11:25 PM
I think many readers are happy to identify a writer who has a similar worldview to their own, and subsequently pleased to see the same worldview in all of the writer's work.