Monday, May 2, 2016

Why Are Self-Insert Characters the Worst?

     Another new post when I should be working on my drafts. Am I procrastinating by being productive? I guess that's not unusual.
     Why does everyone hate self-insert characters? *cough* Mary-Sues *cough*. Self-inserts are mocked endlessly on the internet, and there IS a reason for it. Many, many, MANY of them are just BAD. I'm sorry. You would think that a self-insert character would be a fleshed out, relatable (<---apparently Blogspot doesn't recognize this as a word :/), and three-dimensional because they are based on a real person, but this is, sadly, very rarely the case. Many people who are willing to create a self-insert character are willing to make that character a Mary Sue. Everyone likes them, and they have some cool power or importance, and for some reason in many cases are even more important than the actual canon main character of the fandom!
     That being said, some OCs are not bad, and therefore, some self-inserts are not bad. I'm not going to say that all, or even a lot of original characters are self-inserts, but you have to presume at least a few of them are. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.
     I have a confession. I write self-insert fanfiction for a lot of fandoms, most notably Kingdom Hearts (with how often I talk about this game series, I'm sure none of you are surprised). But I also write for Hetalia and a variety of other animes, Vocaloid, a few superheroes, and may end up doing something with Gravity Falls because I'm in love with the characters (as in, I love their development and as a writer appreciate their unique personalities, not that I actually have a crush on any of them, I'm not like that). The thing is, I believe I portray myself rather realistically to who I am: an awkward, socially anxious, emotionally unstable, weirdo teenager who must build up all of her courage just to say hello to someone she doesn't know. I may give myself a power, or weapon, if it is relevant to the fandom because I want to be a part of the action, but I never take away from the significance of the protagonist, and in the case of me being a part of the villains or unaligned (which happens a lot because I usually like the protagonists and the antagonists so therefore portray myself as being neutral) I have written and drawn myself being beaten (not killed) by the protagonist(s). Characters tend to like me, but it's my fantasy, of course they will, and in some instances, I even have characters that I would love to like me but believe they would not, actively dislike me in my own fantasy (that's a bit sad). The most important thing that I would like to point out here, is that I don't post it anywhere. I used to write OC fanficiton a lot, but they were never based on me except for sometimes having a couple of my personality traits like having depression or being a tomboy or artist. I may write self-inserts of many fandoms, but they are stashed away in composition notebooks that are intended for my eyes only.
     Personally, I use it partly as a coping mechanism. Having grown up being ridiculed and with very few friends, and developing depression and other emotional disorders, writing myself interacting with my favorite characters is a great way to bring my fantasies to life on paper and retreat away from reality.
     The thing is, some people DO post these, and for some reason, feel like people will enjoy them. But really, very few people like to read self-inserts, because usually they are boring, not creative, and poorly written. As a general rule, it's not a good idea to post them online if you don't want to be ridiculed.
     Again, as much as these types of stories are normally not fun to read, this is a generalization and self-inserts are not awful by nature. It is just that, from experience, they tend to be bad. With everything, a self-insert cannot be judged simply because it is a self-insert, I have actually read some pretty decent and even good ones, but usually I avoid them because it is rare that I find one I like. And I often have my doubts that they are ever actually inserting themselves into the story, as these characters rarely seem to have flaws (and when they do it's played off as being charming or quirky somehow, so therefore NOT flaws) and tend to be overpowered or over-appreciated. I might make a "how-to" of sorts about creating a good self-insert character, but I'm not sure.
     Now I will mention, this post is talking about self-inserts, as in the writer puts him or herself into the story, not an "x reader" or "reader interactive". That's for a future post.

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