Self-Insert Characters

First of all, I want to thank you guys for following this blog. I’ve hit the 50 follower milestone!

Please let me know what you do and don’t like. This blog is still fresh and new and defining itself, but that’s a lot easier with input from followers and viewers.

That said, on to the controversial self-insert character.

Self-inserts are most often encountered in the realm of fanfiction, but I’ve known plenty of people who have used them in completely original stories. They have a few defining characteristics:

  • They’re the author, but better. A little more in shape, with a quicker wit and greater combat prowess. They’re who the author wishes they could be; more assertive, more noble, with more abs.
  • They get laid. Sometimes by a fictional version of the author’s real life love interest.
  • They are difficult to take seriously.

Obviously, I don’t condone creating a self-insert character for any purpose outside of a comedic web comic.

On a geekier note, don’t subject roleplay partners to them. Don’t do it. One of the multitudinous issues with it is the likelihood of taking excessive offense when something negative is said to or about them.

That being said, there’s also a difference between creating a self-insert character and inserting a little bit of yourself yourself into a character.

That’s right, Archer.

Giving a character a few of your unique quirks –and we all have plenty of those –can make that character feel real. And that’s important.

Most of us have enough quirks to fuel an assload of characters.

Give a character who is otherwise nothing like you one of your problems. If you’re addicted to something, put that burden on them. You can describe what it’s like with perfect clarity; the only thing you have to remember is that they’ll make some different choices than you and experience slightly different mental processes. Maybe your family helps you, but your character’s main support is from an elderly dog.

Give your first person narrator your sense of humor.

Give your main character’s best friend your propensity to use your phone’s camera to do a discreet booger check in public.

Give someone your crippling cat allergy.

These quirks, while not integral to the plot, flesh out a character. You don’t want your character’s best friend to do nothing but provide an opportunity to progress the story using dialogue. Even if the story isn’t about them, they have to be a complete person outside of [Your Character]’s best friend.

By the same token, use the quirks of people you know to your advantage as well. You can give your character’s friend a trait like your real life friend’s without having created a fictional carbon copy.

So, in short:

Do insert aspects of yourself and people you know into characters to make them more interesting and realistic.

Do not make yourself into a fictional character.

Who is your least favorite fictional character and why?


2 thoughts on “Self-Insert Characters

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