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When is a character a SI/author avatar?

Discussion in 'Fanfic Discussion' started by BTT, Dec 19, 2019.

  1. BTT

    BTT Viol̀e͜n̛t͝ D̶e͡li͡g҉h̛t҉s̀ ~ Prestige ~

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    A SI, or self-insert, fic is a fic where you put yourself in a fictional world and live out adventures there. Related terms are Friend Inserts, Isekai, and presumably there's more variations that I'm not aware of.

    My question is, at what point are you writing an original character based on you instead of you as you are? Where do you, personally, put the limit between "you" and "someone based on you"?
     
  2. fire

    fire Unspeakable

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    The short answer is - as with pornography, you know it when you see it.

    The long answer is - apply this test: can you humiliate this character if you had to, for the good of the story you are trying to tell? If not, it's a SI.
     
  3. Zeelthor

    Zeelthor Scissor Me Timbers

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    Unless the author gets off on humiliation. Checkmate.
     
  4. Halt

    Halt 1/3 of the Note Bros. Moderator

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    A character based on me will usually only embody certain aspects of me, and I tend to narrow it down to 1-2 traits or skills rather than a broadly encompassing summation of my me-ness. Which is a useful definition when I write, but maybe not so useful when trying to identify fics that aren't being honest about being SIs.

    My usual test is to see how much of a pity party / awesomeness train with no breaks the character is throwing for themselves. SIs are usually incapable of being truly self-reflecting, can do no wrong, cannot really be put into situations where they fail.
     
  5. Zombie

    Zombie Lo-fi Snake Jazz Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Shameless shitpost and I'm sorry. But, go to SB or SV, go to their fic forum, and then click the worm forum at the top. There is endless examples of SI.
     
  6. Seratin

    Seratin SwoleTroll ~ Prestige ~ DLP Supporter

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    Jim Butcher and Harry Dresden. If you want to avoid looking like an SI, just do the opposite of Butcher.
     
  7. Zombie

    Zombie Lo-fi Snake Jazz Moderator DLP Supporter

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    Don't hate the player, hate the game.
     
  8. soczab

    soczab Third Year

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    In a fanfiction sense, I tend to think there are two types of SIs (and obviously you can blur between them). One is literally *you* inserted into the story. Those tend to be the more wanky sort of fics in general. The other tends to use "SI" as a shorthand for 'someone from our world'.

    I like writing SI fanfiction. But mine, at most, would be what Halt said. Maybe a few characteristics from me. Probably not more than any other character of any other author (since you can really only draw on your own experiences). Instead, maybe incorrectly, I use SI as a shorthand to explore an 'average person' from modern western society stuck in a fantasy realm.
     
  9. Silirt

    Silirt Death Eater DLP Supporter

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    When it's something obvious like HPMOR, otherwise I don't care. Because of this trope, however, I have to limit my writing to where I can't write any flawless characters, not that that's much of a loss. If I write a character who seems to be succeeding at most things, I usually just knock him or her down a few notches to keep people from thinking I'm self-inserting.
     
  10. Ched

    Ched Da Trek Moderator DLP Supporter

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    To me SI characters are typically... they end up being along these lines:

    What if an ideal version of me was placed into this situation? What is it that I hope I would do?

    And then they write that. It's rarely an honest look at either the author's character or how they would act. More of a starting point to put in an OC loosely based on yourself, which helps to flesh them out with convenient traits, which then goes off into whatever direction is convenient for the plot.
     
  11. Agent

    Agent Professor DLP Supporter

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    When I first started writing my book, I "based" the Protagonist on me.

    Except over the years (Yes, I'm still working on the same book), he's evolved.

    I'm not confident myself so I gave him confidence and I gave him a back story for having that level of conversation. Except I overshot it and it ended up looking like arrogance.

    At first, I made him a genuinely nice person who makes a joke every now and then. His jokes got harsher and harsher though and he started just insulting other people and it was hard to see his "good side".

    I made him smart and clever but it was hard to actually show that cleverness. Eventually, I had him blackmailing characters using information that he'd dug up.

    In the end, my "SI" went from a misunderstood/framed Secret Agent to a terrorist who had done everything that he was being accused. And truth be told, I think the story is better because of it.

    So in my opinion, after any amount of time, a SI will eventually stop being an SI and just turn intoaa regular OC. Either because the SI has evolved (Due to actions taken in the story or due to the author making chanhed) or because the author themselves has evolved and is no longer the person they were when they first wrote the fic.
     
  12. Sesc

    Sesc Slytherin at Heart Moderator

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    It's a self-insert when it's explicitly noted. I.e., one of those obnoxious stories that tell you it's the author reading books or w/e and getting transported to the fictional world.

    Everything else is just another character, and the point isn't whether it's based on you, your friend, some mixture of people you know or something entirely made-up, but how well it's written. Cause if I can't tell it's based on the author, what difference does it make?

    Spoiler:
    All my Harrys are reflections of me. None of them are me, but I could be them, in a different life. They all bear aspects of me, weighed differently, shaped differently by circumstance and environment. Has that ever mattered to anyone? No, because it's opaque, it's, in the end, just another character in a story, and judged on its own merits.
     
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