META: The Problem of Fourth Wall Breaking

Arthur Spitzer arspitzer at
Fri Aug 1 19:18:39 PDT 2008

Martin Phipps wrote:

> Alas, breaking the fourth wall is not always a good idea.  For
> example, it is my personal opinion that villains in LNH stories should
> never be aware that they are in a story because it creates the
> inherent contradiction of somebody _knowing_ that they are the villain
> and yet doing nothing to change their ways.  Perhaps it would be
> interesting to have a villain find out that he is not only in a story
> but that he is considered the villain and see how he would react:
> after all, nobody in real life actually sees themselves as evil.  The
> problem arises then that when presenting an evil version of the LNH,
> for example, the LNH's evil counterparts should not refer to
> themselves as "the evil LNH" but should, in fact, see our LNH as weak
> and disposable.  In is, after all, in the interests of "improving the
> human race" that (what most of us consider to be) the greatest evils
> commited in the real world were carried out.

I disagree about the whole villains shouldn't ever break the Fourth Wall 

It seems you're leaping to bizarre assumptions regarding what happens 
when a villain knows about the fourth wall...

I think various villains like Steven Howard's Arthur E. L. Presence and 
that lizard creature (IMPLO?) in Retcon Hour who went around canceling 
series were pretty cool villains.

I've thought up a couple of villains myself though I've never used them.

Fake LNH Writer -- he's a con artist who has the power to trick 
characters into thinking he's a real LNH Writer.  He carries around a 
fake LNH Writers Guild card and some fake Saxon Brenton and Tom Russell 
reviews praising the fake series he claims to write...

The Fourth Wallower -- Some elemental creature who becomes more powerful 
every time someone breaks the fourth wall.  A perfect villain for Fourth 
Wall Lass...

I think some series that broke the fourth wall all the time like 
Badger's Swordmaster and Abhay's Refugees of Net.ropolis were a lot of 
fun.  If you can do it well do it... and if you can't...

Arthur "breaking the cliche wall" Spitzer

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