I was part of a discussion about lore-building. Someone asked about whether there was any codified lore for a particular character. There was not. Through my time analyzing writers and their fiction-writing strategies, I haven’t found any particular common lore-building codifications. Although I didn’t reference “The Story” directly, I barged in by saying that for my works, I think writing anything related to wrote lore is what you should write last, to bring everything together.
Spoilers?: Minor [writing about lore]
Only now did I have a better way to summarize it.
After looking at some fanart of some character, I wanted to look up the character, so I found a page summarizing their character. The page talked about how the character would act in particular situations, and that got me thinking about what I dislike about these sorts of pages, psychology, and lore in general. We can make generalizations about the traits of others based on how they have acted to predict how they will act, but these predictions are iffy at best. The more we know them, the more these predictions may become true, but then at this point, the more these predicted versions of these people become non-persons.
Let me use John and Trishna as examples here.
Let’s say that John liked apples when they first met.
Trishna might then start buying apples for him because he liked them. He might continue liking them for a while, but let’s say that, eventually, John becomes disinterested in apples. If Trishna still buys apples for John, even after John explains to her that he no longer likes apples, then there is a split in character between what is “real” for John and what is “real” in the mind of Trishna. It is more dangerous to have situations like Trishna’s, where she predicts what will happen, but we tend to do this more often than we like to admit because it can be comfortable for us to predict how people will act or react.
It can be as innocuous as knowing someone will like something.
For lore, however, it tends to manifest in the form of “this character is a comedian that is always boisterous and loud in every situation,” which predicts character traits. What happens when this character is thrown into situations where their resolve is tested? What happens when they can’t be comedic? Or boisterous? Or loud? I might be taking a stand on an insignificant issue, but I think it’s important to consider that characters, like humans, should be multi-faceted and not just a select few character traits. This character may tend to act comedic and boisterous most of the time, but I’ve found that I enjoy the scenes where these characters find themselves needing to overcome this façade to grow into the role they will conclude the story with, whether that’s a more serious individual that can occasionally be comedic, or something else.
I suppose these lore summaries are easy ways to summarize characters.
Not everyone is looking for advanced character studies. I use these pages sometimes to figure out what’s going on with some characters, but I don’t like them because they are overall riddled with unmarked spoilers and full of superfluous information. What I did, as I wrote Novel 01, was as I wrote about the characters, I filled out some Gdocs with information. Now that I have more artistic skill under my belt and have started building out more of the character sheets for Novel 02, I think writing the second novel will go much smoother and will help me write a character bible that fits that doesn’t predict the future traits of characters but summarizes what happens to characters without spoiling what happens to characters without the reader clicking to consent to the spoilers or otherwise proceeding with the knowledge they will be spoiled.
Character bibles, for me, then, are built during or after writing the material.
You might be able to pitch the character traits, such as their biographies of what happened to them prior to the story, but anything that happens during the story is something that is mere conjecture unless you’ve written or experienced it. If I’ve brainstormed John acting in certain ways around Trishna, I might be able to write that John is “always overly-polite around Trishna” because I’ve seen it to be true, and I’ve seen no scenes where he might not be polite, but based on how these wikia pages are written on characters, from fans that have seen the shows or read the novels, they might predict John’s politeness without having seen everything.
I guess, too, I’d rather re-experience the media than consult a lore compendium.
There are niceties to having such a thing, such as if I were writing a fanfiction that involved certain characters or in-world places, but I think at that point, there’s a level of trust that you have to give yourself for writing from what you remember of the media and then allowing yourself to fill in the gaps. If it’s good, you’re going to add to it. If it’s not, then it doesn’t matter, because you practiced, and that’s more important than external praise.
But hey, aren’t these twice-weekly essays about “The Story” explorations of lore?
Sure, but they’re more like open brainstorming. I am free to throw out anything that I don’t care about as I write more essays. These are almost like receipts for having done the work of thinking about what I’ll write once the time has come. If I change John’s name, then that’s my choice, based on what John tells me based on the brainstorming I have, so I am not locked down to any of the pre-existing “lore” that I’ve written. If there’s anything I’ve written that has struck a particularly strong note in my mind, I can always refer to it, otherwise, once I’ve written and published it, I typically forget about it and move onto the next essay.
No point thinking about past things.
|Sources: The Story’s Imaginarium.|
|Inspirations: Besides that conversation and that Wikia article?|
|Related: Essays building “The Story.”|
|Written On: 2020 August 15 [10:02pm to 10:41pm]|
|Last Edited: 2020 August 15 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]|