Author Powers YKTTW Discussion

Author Powers
(permanent link) added: 2011-04-01 16:50:35 sponsor: PapercutChainsaw (last reply: 2011-04-09 05:52:12)

Add Tag:
When a character is an author, or the author is a character, and they are shown interacting with the characters in their works, they are often shown to have god-like control over the world of their characters. Note that often, the characters themselves will appear to have independent wills from the author, and may even try to stop him, even though the author should be able to control them like puppets too.

A common variant involves an artist for a comic or animation changing the character's appearence in cruel and unusual ways, drawing monsters to chase after them, or even threatening to erase characters out of existence.


Anime and Manga

  • Grant Morrison inserted himself into Animal Man as a character called 'the Writer' with the ability to alter reality. Later, John Ostrander and Yale figured, hell, if Morrison appeared in an issue of Animal Man, then he's part of mainstream DC continuity, right? Fair game, right? They featured 'the Writer' in Suicide Squad #58, where he altered reality by typing a comic book style script into a computer. He is killed when he gets writer's block in the middle of firefight and is unable to write a way to save himself.

  • Christof in The Truman Show is an interesting example. Truman is not a fictional character, but every aspect of his life, including the people around him, is controlled by Christof. In the film's climax Christof makes the sun rise in order to stop Truman's escape.
  • The Black Beast in Monty Python and the Holy Grail vanishes when the animator has a fatal heart attack, implying some combination of this trope with No Ontological Inertia.

  • Robert A. Heinlein's The Number of the Beast. Near the end the characters think they may be up against an Author: a truly worrisome thought, because the characters know that the universe is created from the imagination of authors.
  • Played for Laughs in Spike Milligan's novel Puckoon, where Dan, the lead character has frequent arguments with the narrator ("Did you write these legs? Who wrote your legs?"). At the end of the book the narrator has the last laugh by leaving Dan stuck up a tree forever.

Live-Action TV
  • Doctor Who, "The Mind Robber." The Doctor discovers that they are in the Land of Fiction, a realm of a different dimension presided over by The Master of the Land, an English writer from the 1920s who has been yanked out of his own time and is being controlled by the Master Brain computer. The Master wants the Doctor to take his place and the two enter a battle of wills using fictional characters.


  • Parodied to confusing and hilarious effect in the Goon Show episode "Six Charlies in Search of an Author". ("Ten pounds, Neddie, to be paid in money before Chapter Ten! And don't try to slip past us, Neddie, because we have an armed man in the index!")

Tabletop RPG
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Adventure WG7 Castle Greyhawk. One of the dungeon levels has the author of that level being omnipotent and interacting with the PCs as they explore the level.
    • The April Fools section of Dragon magazine #36 has the Dungeon Master (the person who creates an adventure) as a monster who has the power of a deity.

  • The play 'Six Characters In Search Of An Author', explores what happens when the author of an unfinished piece dies before its completion. Two of the characters are doomed to die, over and over again because the play they were written into never made it to the stage.

Web Animation
  • Animator vs Animation, which features a battle between a stick figure and his off-screen animator in Flash.

  • In Bob and George the Author is an occasional cast member of the comic. The cast of the comic frequently gets into arguments with him makes, fun of the fact that sprite comics are all he can manage and generally treat him like a normal member of the cast. Never mind that he has been known to raise the dead in order to fix their mistakes and bend reality to suit the needs of the plot.
  • Some of the El Goonish Shive filler strips feature Dan Shive interacting with the characters and warping reality, usually dishing out GenderBenders and other transformations to anyone that annoys him.
  • In Cerebus, Dave Sim does this.
  • Played with in Homestuck; while Andrew Hussie does exist in universe (and is even shown physically drawing the strip), he has stated that the extent of his interference in the story proper will be limited to "exactly one yard." What this means is anyones guess.
  • Subverted in 1/0 where Narrator (which is also Author)can do things, but got limited by comic universe rules. It wasn't the case during beginning and ending which "reality" was less stable.

Western Animation
  • The Looney Tunes cartoon "Duck Amuck" is a famous version of this; Daffy Duck is tormented by the animator who turns out to be Bugs Bunny. It also has a less famous sequel, "Rabbit Rampage", with a similar premise.
  • Animators from The Cleveland Show. They live in Cleveland's basement and can draw or erase anything. First they used it to mess with Cleveland, erasing box he carries, and then another drew hot Na'Vi woman for himself.

Replies: 24