TV Tropes Org

Forums

search forum titles
google site search
Total posts: [25]
1

A thought invoked by "Most Writers Are Human":

So the trope is basically that most main characters end up being human because the human writers know that more right?

What about the reverse?

I'm no good at writing wingless little human characters. It's a block I really should overcome one of these days, but I never really feel like bothering with it.
Call me Cinnamon. ^_^
My teacher's a panda
I don't know if it's a trope, or should be one, but it's probably not an uncommon thing. I find myself, both as a writer and as an artist, attracted more to animals, aliens, robots, superheroes, or other fantastic or bizarre creatures. If I write human characters, it's only in a fantastic setting or reacting to a fantastic situation. I don't know why this is, and though I have made an effort to at least dabble in more realistic works, I wouldn't necessarily call it a block or even a problem.

I know the saying is "Write what you know", but I think "Write what you love" works a lot better, and what I love is the fantastic elements and the things that can't possibly exist, so that's what I end up writing. Human characters doing human things is not something I can get excited about, so it's a lot harder for me to write or draw something like that. It might just be the sort of thing you have to force yourself to do, I'm not sure.

I suppose it could be a trope within a trope too. A non-human writer within a story would have their version of the trope apply.

It would also apply to non human writers outside of fiction though.
Call me Cinnamon. ^_^
 4 nrjxll, Sat, 1st Oct '11 11:49:23 PM Relationship Status: Not war
Do any exist that we currently know of, though?

 5 feotakahari, Sun, 2nd Oct '11 12:13:06 AM from Looking out at the city
Fuzzy Orange Doomsayer
I write plenty of nonhuman characters, but I can't honestly say that I've averted Most Writers Are Human—I tend to emphasize the ways in which they think like humans do, even if they have different behaviors and different capabilities.
That's Feo . . . He's a disgusting, mysoginistic, paedophilic asshat who moonlights as a shitty writer—Something Awful
 6 Night, Sun, 2nd Oct '11 1:23:51 AM from PSNS Intrepid Relationship Status: Drift compatible
Who you are does not matter.
[up]I more or less do the exact opposite. I wrote a series, but never posted it, about Coalition Dog Boys from Rifts, and I did a crapload of research about dogs first.

They were very clearly not human and they were intended to give that impression. I'm working on a lesser version with the Wolkenritter and Combat Cyborgs now. They are not exactly human and their behavior is often intended to reflect this.
"Remember that you are fighting the machine and the pilot both, but you only have to beat one of them."
OP seems like e's trying to imply e's not a "wingless little human", really.

In any case, I follow Most Writers Are Human pretty strongly. I create fantasy worlds but never have sapient fantasy races/species, since any behaviour or culture I want can easily belong to humans, perhaps with some particular magic abilities if certain abilities are so important. (Of course, they can still come off as alien if your own values are sufficiently different.)

The only non-human sapient things are immortal spirits, but they don't really talk. The few that do speak come off as a bit too human, I suppose, but with enough exposure, it becomes obvious they're quite different... but still not really alien.
You will not go to space today.
 8 nrjxll, Sun, 2nd Oct '11 4:01:53 AM Relationship Status: Not war
I'm inclined to side with feotakahari on principle - while I strongly doubt that aliens would bear much if any physical resemblance to us, I think that they would probably think more like us then you might expect, at least in general terms.

In practice, I don't intend to ever write from the perspective of any nonhuman with a truly alien mentality - while some exist in my works, I think that even if I do write them as truly alien, simply writing from their point of view might humanize them more then I would want. On the other hand, I try and make sure my nonhuman protagonists that I do have as POV characters do not come across as funny-looking humans - humanlike, certainly, but not quite human.

 9 Oh So Into Cats, Sun, 2nd Oct '11 6:38:22 AM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: They can't hide forever. We've got satellites.
Just a nice nerd who likes to read and knit
Why are wings and size so important when writing a character?

I've written a lot of nonhuman charactes. The ones that are more humanlike are a lot easier to understand. A lot of the nonhumans I end up writing are like, immortals and suchlike, but perhaps that is more because I like aesthetic gorn and do not want to actually kill off the main characters so easily.

I guess it's more like "all characters must have distinctly odd psychologies" for me, even if they're human.

edited 2nd Oct '11 6:43:10 AM by OhSoIntoCats

"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

Eidolonomics: ~50.7k/100,000 words
All of my main characters are homoform.

-Human saint -Angel -Sidhe(like an elf) -Psychic -Chaos god(diet Eldritch Abomination)

Yeah, I can see how this would work.

Shadowed Philosopher
Physically human is irrelevant. Mentally human is what's important. I don't ever plan on writing main characters that aren't mentally human. It would be really hard to make a paperclip maximizer seem sympathetic, and anyway they really shouldn't.
Shinigan (Naruto fanfic)
@nrjxll: Fae, therianthropes, demons, dragons, succubi, incubi?

Those are all the ones I can think of that would still be inclined to write. Vampires don't count.
Call me Cinnamon. ^_^
It is difficult to write from an alien viewpoint and do it well. Take Superman, for example. He is from Krypton, but he is basically a human. Take Battlefield Earth. (I did not see the movie, but only read the book, so it is the book I will be discussing here.) The aliens are basically humans with different sizes and shapes. The elves and dwarves of Lord of the Rings are just like human people.

A few writers have really been able to create an alien viewpoint character and portray it convincingly from their point of view. Isaac Asimov's The Gods Themselves comes to mind. Alan Dean Foster did a good job in Nor Crystal Tears. I suppose we could also mention Leonard Nimoy's portrayal of Spock, Brent Spiner's portrayal of Data, and even Robin William's portrayal of Mork as examples of actors who did a remarkably good job of portraying what it would be like to see the world through eyes that are really alien. (Micheal Dorn's Worf is good, but more like a guy with an attitude problem than a guy whose viewpoint is really different from what a human with a certain upbringing and attitude might have.)

So my test would be: is this really an alien viewpoint, or is it a personality that a human might have?
 
 14 nrjxll, Sun, 2nd Oct '11 12:58:07 PM Relationship Status: Not war
Personally, the test I go by is "if you rewrote this character's scenes so that they were human, would they read significantly different from what they were"?

 15 Mr AHR, Sun, 2nd Oct '11 1:00:21 PM from ಠ_ಠ Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
I tend to fall into this pretty heavily.

I write fantasy, but it never even occurred to me to write elves, dwarves, or any such nonsense like that.

The one inhuman species I do have is a bleed over from another story of mine, and they're just old fashioned djinnis.
 16 annebeeche, Sun, 2nd Oct '11 1:14:23 PM from by the long tidal river
watching down on us
Yeah, I guess I'm a pretty big Most Writers Are Human person. I can't think of a single major character that wasn't human or human-like.

edited 2nd Oct '11 1:14:48 PM by annebeeche

Banned entirely for telling FE that he was being rude and not contributing to the discussion. I shall watch down from the goon heavens.
 17 deathjavu, Mon, 3rd Oct '11 6:06:46 PM from The internet, obviously
This foreboding is fa...
The thing about "most writers are human" is that people tend not to care if there isn't someone with a human viewpoint somewhere in the narrative. Someone to sympathize with. If all the characters are too alien, it's hard for people to care about them. They have to have at least some human properties for people to sympathize or understand.

Also, for this trope, most of the "races" from fantasy novels are, in fact, "human" in the sense that matters (mentally). The only thing I can think of are the stock chaotic evil orcs, and...well, you couldn't make a protagonist out of them without making them more human.

As for Spock, he was an idiot. What kind of idiot makes guesses to 5 sig figs as for probability of something (usually surviving a certain course of action) and then ends up wrong 99 times out of 100?

edited 3rd Oct '11 6:10:12 PM by deathjavu

Look, you can't make me speak in a logical, coherent, intelligent bananna.
 18 JHM, Mon, 3rd Oct '11 6:47:55 PM from Neither Here Nor There Relationship Status: We finish each other's sandwiches
Thunder, Perfect Mind
That reminds me more than a little of one of the subtler underpinnings of my own work, actually: How might the societies of creatures descended from or related to a given non-human species structure themselves, assuming that society as we know it appears at all? The interesting thing, though, is how similar many of these conclusions tend to come to existing—albeit often extinct or radically altered—human civilisations...
 19 nrjxll, Mon, 3rd Oct '11 7:08:58 PM Relationship Status: Not war
[up][up]One reason why I tend to like science fiction better, actually - while aliens may not always be that alien, except in a few cases the genre does have a requirement that they be at least somewhat nonhuman, which is not the case for nonhumans in fantasy.

On that note, in the High Fantasy setting I've periodically toyed with, one of the things I'm trying to do is approach the nonhumans as if they were Humanoid Aliens, not "fantasy races". In fact, I try to avoid using "race" in favor of "species" - while they may be quite humanlike, there's still supposed to be slightly more difference between my nonhumans and humans then just the cultural/physical appearance difference that "race" suggests.

 20 feotakahari, Tue, 4th Oct '11 3:31:18 PM from Looking out at the city
Fuzzy Orange Doomsayer
one of the things I'm trying to do is approach the nonhumans as if they were Humanoid Aliens, not "fantasy races".

I went the opposite route—geographically separate societies that all look human, but vocally insist that they're not the same species as those freaks across the sea or on the other end of the plains. (Of course, the fact that they can interbreed proves this blatantly wrong.)

Also, am I correct in my guess that Vensae Korti is a draconic otherkin?

edited 4th Oct '11 3:31:29 PM by feotakahari

That's Feo . . . He's a disgusting, mysoginistic, paedophilic asshat who moonlights as a shitty writer—Something Awful
 21 Noaqiyeum, Wed, 5th Oct '11 4:12:10 PM from the Shadowlands Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
the it-thingy
You'll have to be a bit more specific about what you mean by 'mentally human'... (Projects include: Urban Fantasy in which all protagonists are non-viewpoint humanoid abominations, and not-exactly-Low Fantasy world in which a schizophrenia-like mental condition is common if not typical)
“I don't deserve any credit for turning the other cheek as my tongue is always in it.” ― Flannery O'Connor
 22 Oh So Into Cats, Thu, 6th Oct '11 6:08:22 AM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: They can't hide forever. We've got satellites.
Just a nice nerd who likes to read and knit
I am curious about that too.

As we say, humans are possible of such a wide variety of mindsets. As a human, would it be possible to write from the perspective of something truly inhuman? Or, would anything we come up with by default be human because it was come up with by a human?
"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

Eidolonomics: ~50.7k/100,000 words
 23 Noaqiyeum, Thu, 6th Oct '11 7:23:00 PM from the Shadowlands Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
the it-thingy
I believe nothing can come from a writer (or artist, or other creator) that is not part of them to begin with.

On the other hand, I can't really define what it is to be human outside of broad-stroke truisms, so that's not very helpful.

But if a being is intelligent it must already have at least one human quality by definition.
“I don't deserve any credit for turning the other cheek as my tongue is always in it.” ― Flannery O'Connor
 24 Oh So Into Cats, Thu, 6th Oct '11 8:12:47 PM from The Sand Wastes Relationship Status: They can't hide forever. We've got satellites.
Just a nice nerd who likes to read and knit
[up] I suppose so. At this point, we would say that intelligence is something uniquely human.

I used to write lots and lots of stories about nonhumans because I liked interesting psychological profiles and Blue and Orange Morality. Then I figured out that a character didn't necessarily need to be nonhuman to have these traits (one example that keeps showing up on my adserver is Dexter, for example), and then the number of nonhuman main characters swiftly dropped in my stories.
"Beware of the wolves. They were raised by wolves."

Eidolonomics: ~50.7k/100,000 words
OP: Ah, but the reverse is as subjective as the original trope. It could have any number of slight variations depending upon the writer that completely change its meaning.

I decided to not make the non-human races in my fanfic simply animals. They are, in fact, more advanced than the humans, because they've been around longer, and, more importantly, they think differently. So, while the humanoid demons have emotions, thoughts, complex societies, relationships, and everything that the humans do, they experience them differently, and process events differently.

If thought is different, so too is perception (and everything else). In short, cultural relativism taken to an extreme and somewhat taken apart. I hope that it's a logical extreme, but as I'm that particular variation's author, I can't really judge it objectively.
 
The system doesn't know you right now, so no post button for you.
You need to Get Known to get one of those.
Total posts: 25
1


TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy