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No Pairing: Character Analysis Fanfiction
by Angel Jade
The majority of fan fiction is based around the idea of two or more characters in a romantic, sexual or other kind of relationship. Whether it be plot based or character based, there is usually one or two ‘ships that stick out, making that fic easy to categorise. But there are some out there that don’t contain relationships, or only mention a few briefly. These are known as no pairing fiction. Some, but not all of these focus on one character, delving into that persons psyche, past and point of view. These fics are often written in the characters POV, to really capture the character and draw the reader into the fic. So how do you go about entering the mind of a character, and finding the perfect way to express the idea(s) that you want to put across in the fiction?
If you decide to use a POV style, you’ve got a better chance of gaining a good insight into the character. However, this style is more difficult and hard to pull off without losing good characterization. Firstly, you have to know the character. Obviously, with minor characters such as Cassie, Gwen and Jesse you haven’t got much to work with, and a certain amount of what you write is going to have to be your own opinions and guesses. But with the major characters you’ve ‘known’ for seven years, it shouldn’t be a problem. Look at what your character says and does. Whether they use good English is a good example. Faith is often characterized with really bad English because we see her as the type that missed out a lot of school and was most likely brought up as ‘white trash’. However, if you look at Buffy and Angel scripts, you’ll find she’s not as bad as authors sometimes make out. Fred occasionally uses the word ‘ain’t’ and a few southern words such as ‘y’all’. A season one Xander would not use complicated words, where as a season one Willow might on occasion.
Once you can speak (or write) as your character would, you need to understand their personality. Are they forward like Faith, reserved like Graham, devious like Angelus? It has to come across in your writing. Oz might be a very quiet person who only says what he needs to, but as we’ve seen in ‘Earshot’ (S3), his thoughts are very complex and philosophical. You have to know if your character is the type to insult people in their heads. Would Fred be mean about Angel the way Xander would? The only way you can write what’s in the character’s head is to get into it yourself.
Regardless of whether your fiction is a POV fic or not, you’re trying to display your character to make an interesting read. You have to have a subject, something to focus on. From Faith’s decent into ‘evil’ to Xander’s opinions of professional ice-cream selling. It can be anything you want, as canon or made up as you want. As long as you know your character and write with a style suitable for them, you can’t go wrong. If you want to try it with a POV style, picture the character saying the things you’re writing to make sure it suits them.
With the right speech, personality and subject, you’re ready to write a fic that looks at one character and shows them in the way you intend them to be shown.