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Don't Call Me Kevie

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Well, he has two eyes, two ears, a nose and a mouth...
My Tree thanks to slodwick
erika_sanely


After finishing my fic I realized I never put flesh on my OC’s. I mean, I have their faces in my mind, but I don’t give those faces to my reader. The most I mentioned was their sizes. Such as “small old man”, or that Boof was bigger than Buck and had blonde hair. But that’s it; there’s absolutely no mention made of discerning facial features.

I wonder if I did that because I didn’t want to share my vision of those characters. Before I wrote a sentence I had their history and their relationships with each other mapped out.

I could tell you about the time Buck and Boof climbed a tree to get down Little Miss Alice’s cat, who ended up jumping on Buck’s back and scratching the crap out of him. And that Boof laughed so much at Buck trying to grab the cat he fell and broke his arm. Or how Buck and Boof went to the war together, but Boof came home alone three months later. How Boof and Buck were once in love with the same woman, and how she ended up marrying German farmer.

I could tell you about Mr. Sam. About the fight that damaged him so much he lost his Irish accent happened because a man with only one leg likes his women to say no a lot and fights dirty. About his wife who had died 40 years ealier trying to give birth to a little boy, who only lived long enough to open his eyes and yawn in his father’s face. About the time he lost a tooth trying to catch a 5 year old Buck who was jumping off the roof.

And don’t get me started on how many letters Lulu and Buck have exchanged since Buck’s mother died.

But I can’t tell you how they look. I did try when I was writing the fic, but it never sat right in the story. It felt like it was bogging it down, like there wasn’t enough time for them and that particular chapter in their lives. I couldn’t even describe their clothing, and I did try to put something anything of them in the fic that would make them more tangible for the reader. But I would always end up hitting on that delete key. The more I tried to show them, the smaller they got. I kept losing them.

Even now, I can’t do it. Their faces, their bodies, their facial tics and gestures are locked in my brain. I can’t work out if this is because I’m selfish and I want those characters to live just for me, or because I’m worried that if I do try to show these people the reader won’t see them like I do. Heck, it was hard enough writing down that Boof has dirty blonde hair. I was worried that the reader would be picturing hair like Chris Larabee’s, or Vin’s locks (cause there’s so many fics out there that mention Vin having blonde hair), or hair like Thorne off The Bold And The Beautiful. Which Boof hasn’t got. It’s more…. Well, no like that.

Is it a form of writers ownership? “If I don’t give you a clear enough picture, you can never take them and make them do things I know they would never do?”

Is it bad or good writing? Is it trying to show the reader how the character looks and acts through other methods? Was I hoping that the way they spoke, they way they acted and reacted with known characters such as Ezra and Buck would be enough for the reader to see them how I saw them? If by knowing Ezra and Buck, and seeing how I saw them through my story it would be a good starting point for the reader to flesh out as much or as little as they wanted of three OC’s? That by not filling the fic with too many mentions of OC’s the reader could accept them or forget them is they so chose?

Hmm, I think I have ended up just creating myself more questions than answering any.

Then, there’s the ending of the fic. Now, I hate writing endings. Hate, hate, hate with a passion. This would explain all the unfinished fics on my hard drive. I can never decide where is a good spot to end, and just when I think I know a good spot, I can never get the fic to get there. So if I can get away with it, I will. I asked cycnus39 to give the fic a look over to see if someone else could work out how to end it. I had no clue, except I didn’t want it to end with Buck and Ezra exclaiming never-ending true love. Not that I have anything against true-love, but after what they’d just been through it would have been a cop-out. You don’t go from there to white horses and oncoming sunsets without at least another 20 pages. And I wasn’t going to write that. Cyc suggested ending it where it began, and while I think I took her suggestion too literally, I did. And this threw a few people. I know this, ‘cause some of the feedback was along the lines of “You can’t leave it like that! Buck and Ezra need to have hope.”

First off, I can end it like that. I am the writer. If I wanted to, I could make Ezra tap dance nekkid on the roof while Buck puts eye-liner on his horse. Being the writer, funnily enough, give you some say over what you write. (That's what writing is all about, isn't it? The power trip you get.)

Secondly, the fic does end with hope for the fellas. The fic actually ends about a page before I get to “The End.” The last bits of the fic are blasts of what had happened to get them to where they were. It does take some of the reader to find that, but I don’t think I hid it that well.

But for me, the fic is all about hope. Buck is hoping he can save Boof. Boof is hoping he doesn’t hang. Ezra is hoping he can save the day. Ezra hopes Buck can forgive him. Buck hopes Ezra never talks to him again. Buck hopes he can one day look past what happened.

And it’s also about how I see the guys. To me, they are both ‘carers’. They both need to be doing something for someone. (Admittedly, this is a rather new aspect to Ezra’s psyche. I don’t think he started the show a champion to all.) To feel needed and loved, both need to be proactive in taking care of their families. Which for me is where the problems with Maude and Ezra come from. Maude sees love through independence (I know you can do it by yourself, I trust you to take care of what I love the most; you) whereas Ezra sees love through dependence (Trust me to take care of you.)

Gotten off the track again. In this fic, Buck needs to do this for Boof. Ezra needs to stop Buck for Buck’s own good. To show their love for someone, they need to hurt that person. And as much as Buck didn’t want to do that, by Ezra taking that off him Buck feels like he has failed the person who has known him the longest.

That’s why I ended it back at the beginning. It’s the starting point, and breaking point, of Ezra and Buck. Buck is prepared by the end to at least give Ezra and the friendship another chance at least, but that moment – where Buck rides off and Ezra is left with another apology left on his lips – that’s the moment that will most likely haunt them. Buck rode away from Ezra. He essentially left Ezra. And all Ezra did was what he thought would be best for the man he loved. Who’s to say that in five years time when they’re arguing over who’s turn it is to brush down the horses Ezra doesn’t bring up how hurt he was that Buck didn't at least try to listen to him? And Buck will always remember that no matter what, Ezra took away Buck’s option. He should have spoken to Buck before doing what he did. Ezra had a chance to say goodbye to Boof, and he had only known him a day. Buck had known him for years, decades. A goodbye would have made a difference I think.

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Hmm, I think I have ended up just creating myself more questions than answering any.

LOL! Not necessarily a bad thing! Keeps ya thinkin'!

As to readers getting to know your OCs... I think readers can and do come to understand them by their actions within their environment and by their interactions with the other characters. To an extent, the writer can control that understanding, but each individual reader's perspective will also ultimately be affected by their own subjectiveness, of course.

As to their physical appearances, I must admit I had in mind my Sam when I read your Mr. Sam. :g: I think I must have missed that he was short 'cause my Sam is kinda tallish, but even so, Mr. Sam wasn't your Sam back in FC anyway. ; ) But Boof... I did notice that his appearance wasn't described and wondered on that. I'm not sure readers can glean too much perspective on that kind of thing from his interactions from other characters, unless you're writing things like "Buck clapped a hand on Boof's broad back." and in that case, you are describing the character, just in drips and drabs instead of in one bit of an info dump at the beginning.

I dunno if it's important to physically describe OCs or not, if it's poor writing or not if you don't. I do think readers will form their own picture if you don't, which may conflict with your own, but if your picture is important to the story, you're probably including it in the story anyway. :scratching head: Does that make sense?

I've had the same problems with Secrest and Zeke in BL. I do have clear pictures in my mind of what they look like, but haven't gone into too much detail in the fic. I think I've only described Secrest generally and allowed that Zeke has brown eyes. :g: Why, I dunno. Sometimes I think it is lack of skill on my part. As fanfic writers, apart from those who write original fiction, we get used to not having to describe characters and places, etc. because the readers already know them, but when we throw in OCs...

Your wondering if part of it is trying to keep the characters to yourself may indeed be true. I know I feel proprietary about Secrest and Zeke, but the more you reveal about OCs, the more you leave open for interpretation and reader subjectiveness to come into play, which might conflict with your own, the creator's, and which might start to muddy your vision of 'em or make you feel the need to be More clear! about what you mean if it's a WIP. All of which could take you down story paths you didn't mean to go, lessening your control. If that makes sense... I'm not sure I'm making sense this morning. :g:

Secondly, the fic does end with hope for the fellas.

Hah! See, that's what I thought! I was a bit surprised by some of the LOCs I'd read onlist, after I'd read the fic. I'd expected a much bleaker ending from what they'd inferred. But, for me, there is definitely hope there. I do think Buck has a deep well of love in him, the most important thing to him, and since he loved Ezra both as a friend and as a man... With time, I think he'll realize that Ezra was in exactly the same position as he was - needing to help someone he loved - with the same possibilities for consequences, both legal and personal, and Ezra handled it in the best way he felt he could to protect that love. And a case could be made for Buck being in control of his own self the night before, and if he'd wanted to be in control the next day, perhaps he shouldn't have had so much to drink. I think, after Buck's had time to think and realize the responsiblity for his own actions that night, and the position Ezra was in in relation to his own, that that depth of love will serve them both well.

Why yes, I am a romantic sap. ; )

Really, it's the best kind of fic, Erika, 'cause it gets (or should get) readers to think.



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