MISC: Do what extent do NON writer characters have free will?

Martin Phipps martinphipps2 at yahoo.com
Sat Jun 2 19:07:36 PDT 2012

Rob Rogers brought up an interesting point on the writers group.  How
does a character in a fictional reality not go insane?

I think a lot of it has to do with the writer.  Say for example the
writer has plotted the story out already.  I mean, if the story is
called The Death of Bad Timing Boy Part 1 then nothing Bad Timing Boy
does in the story is going to make a difference.  He might as well
blow his brains out at the end of Part 1 and save himself the torment
that is sure to come.

On the other hand, if the author himself doesn't know where the story
is going then the characters have a semblance of free will: any action
by a character or even a line of dialogue could affect the course of
the story.  This is especially true in multi-writer cascades because
the plans of any one writer don't mean much if another writer comes
along and changes things.

To a character, other than the writer himself, who knows he is in a
story the is a kind of unreality to the universe around him.  Is it
real or a dream?  Is he a participant or an observer?  Is he
responsible for his actions or is the author pulling the strings?

A non-writer character might get bored after a while, even
disinterested.  "Oh, so another villain is going to destroy the LNH?
Oh, it looks like we will all be killed.  So will the villain be
forced to revive us or will this become an imaginary story?"  Drama
doesn't work quite so well if characters know they are fictional.

Comedy works though.  A character can make a sarcastic remark or pull
a prank and he knows that it doesn't (usually) affect the overall
plot.  It's a good way to let off steam.

I don't know why Wikiboy has to be the victim though.  Wikiboy knows
he's fictional, right?  Every once in a while we should get to see
Wikiboy getting back at anyone who has tormented him.  It is only


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