Derailment vs. Development?

Discussion in 'Tea Room (Book Chat)' started by Post-Life Crisis, 7 May 2018.

  1. Post-Life Crisis

    Post-Life Crisis New Member

    My first thread, be gentle.

    Characters are meant to grow over time, but what happens when a new writer just takes them off the rails? Harley Quinn shot the Joker and might as well've shot herself because she was just another female villain in a clown suit after that. I like indies & webcomics because the characters try to stay truer. Not sure if I'm asking why or moaning that they wrecked my fav character.
  2. Kindler

    Kindler Active Member

    Good question, and I'm not sure if there is a really good answer.

    Sure, characters can grow over time, but as long as they stay true to whichever archetype they are representing, they always feel somewhat the same.

    Harley just shooting the Joker seems wrong. It doesn't sound like character growth, more that someone wants to make their own mark on a character but doing something outrageous, while ignoring every single piece of back history.

    Most of the webcomics I've read seem to stay true to the characters as they were, even if they do grow, but that tends to be for one fairly important reason. It's the same person writing them after all that time, so the chance of someone doing a character shift like that is small.
  3. tirial

    tirial IT fixer extraordinaire

    It might be because indie works change authors far less often. You usually have one author in charge with an idea of what the characters are like. With comics in the mainstream there's a lot more continuity, history and they change lead writers every couple of years, each one trying to tell the same story in a fresh way, adding new characters and things that readers haven't seen before that build on the mythos.
  4. atry

    atry Member

    Sometimes I have seen indie authors with the other problem. They are so desperate to keep the characters the same that they prevent them growing, and that can derail a character just as badly. If they never learn or change, it voids suspension of disbelief, particularly if they are supposed to be intelligent or wily.

    By the way, @Post-Life Crisis, the Joker is now apparently an immortal along the lines of Vandal Savage.
  5. Tregaron

    Tregaron Member

    I would suggest derailment occurs when a character either develops or fails to develop naturally. If the direction a character is going in does not feel real or natural it can break disbelief in exactly the same way as any other unbelievable plot twist. For example the book Reader summed up as "And suddenly angels" where all the character growth, development, and existing relationships were thrown out of the window* because the character found out he was an angel a hundred pages from the end.

    *I believe she said the book nearly followed it.
  6. jessica

    jessica Active Member

    Does that kinda mean comics now are fanfiction of themselves?
  7. Reader

    Reader Vile Critic

    A slight derail but if you take the view that comics are modern mythology, that would be consistent with the treatment of myth through the ages. It changed with retelling, and now the retellings happen faster due to the speed of information dissemination improving.

    I suspect that in 1485, there were nobles with their first and excruciatingly expensive versions of the Mort'd'Arthur complaing that "Lancelot would never do that", and "who was this 'Gareth' chap?" "Bring me a minstrel to tell it properly!"
    jessica likes this.
  8. skye

    skye Member

    An even bigger derail, but how do I set up a signature here? I love this line.
  9. Terry

    Terry Member

    Here is another very uptodate version of this: Thundercats Roar.

    A new writer on a new channel with their own take and interpretation of the Thundercats basically being a stupid comedy skit version. Imagine if Adult Swim did Thundercats as a parody...

    ...only this isn't a parody. This is someone who really appears to have no clue at all, either of the original, the remakes, the comics, any of the back history or origin and has decided to do what they remember of it as a five year old.

    It's...it's...dreadful. This is not a new development of the characters, this is a complete derailment and likely to have them never seen again. Especially as the original viewers of the series are now the parents of the kids who will say if they can watch it.
  10. Bookangel

    Bookangel Administrator Staff Member

    Sorry about the delay. Please remember to either PM me, or notify me via @Bookangel if you want a fast response.

    Go up to your username at the top, hold your mouse over it, and the second option on the dropdown that appears is signature. Click that.
  11. Post-Life Crisis

    Post-Life Crisis New Member

    • *Ahem* We appreciate the passion, but not the language
    Sounds like the [mod-edit]not as good as I truly utterly wish it was[mod-edit] teen titans go. Possibly its commoner in the mainstream because its corporations who own the characters and they aren't half as invested in the characters as they are in the money they can make from them.

    Indies kinda think the characters are their kids and they got a bit more invested in staying true to them.
    Last edited by a moderator: 22 May 2018
  12. tirial

    tirial IT fixer extraordinaire

    Isn't that true for most creator-owned characters, whether indie or mainstream? Authors who own the rights to the characters can prevent de-railing, while characters created as works for hire are owned by corporations who may derail them deliberately to see if they can get a larger audience.

    Meanwhile, indies try to keep the audiences they have and expand more slowly as they don't have the resources but also don't have the overheads or shareholders yelling at them.
  13. Post-Life Crisis

    Post-Life Crisis New Member

    There have to be some authors who derailed their own characters. Can't think of any, but some of them must have.

    Sorry, don't remember what I wrote, but I know it wasn't nice. Won't do it again. Shame. if the mod-edits are all that snarky I'd like more.
  14. jessica

    jessica Active Member

    I can think of one mainstream one. The Anita Blake books went really off-track partway through the series:( 'cos she kept adding more powers and boyfriends:silent:, but the author never changed.

    I guess there must be indie series that went like that, where the author ran out of stuff to write about but could still sell the books and wantneeded the money::unsure::.
  15. Tregaron

    Tregaron Member

    May I just say that "wantneeded the money" describes so many author motivations. I love it.
  16. Terry

    Terry Member

    The other one is Dear Author, here's a large wad of cash, please write another....
  17. Bookangel

    Bookangel Administrator Staff Member

    And here's a less happy mod-note.

    Anita Blake, Prototype, Teen Titans Go,Thundercats Roar, The joker and Harley Quinn...*ahem*?

    You're getting to the end of the first page with only one specific indie example: Jack Slash. Outstanding as he is, he's not going to carry the thread on his own. Add some or this thread risks being closed.
  18. Post-Life Crisis

    Post-Life Crisis New Member

    Not a book, but try Prototype videogame. First game? Great. Second game? Killed franchise. What changed? The writers.

    Ever wanted to shake an exec and yell writing matters guys?
  19. Tregaron

    Tregaron Member

    I think there's one other thing that indies are more prone to that can derail characters: they spend ten years writing the first book, hone it to perfection, and didn't plan for a sequel. Then it is a hit, and they churn a second in under a year to try to keep the phenomenon going, but without all the planning time that went into the first and having to create new hooks from scratch. A loved character becoming a villain is an easy one.

    I'm relcutant to add them, because indie authors carry all the risks themselves. With a mainstream one, its not just on the author, but also the publisher, editor, marketer etc. who thought this was a good idea. With an indie, those are the same people.

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