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Writing Out Characters?

And another spate of comments to the tune of, "What is wrong with the Legacy series is that Jennifer exists. You should have killed her in the first book or written her out."

Look -- that is not how tie-ins work. We cannot simply write out a main character who appears in the opening credits. We can't say, "Oh, we don't like Rodney, so he's just not going to exist in this universe," or "Let's kill Ronon off in the first book and then we won't have to write him anymore." That is not how it works. All the main characters -- the people who appear in opening credits -- have to be in the books and they have to be written well.

Also, we cannot "ice" the female characters. And there is a little something disturbing about calls for more strong female characters being coupled with calls to just kill off Jennifer and Teyla and "send Sam back where she belongs."

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( 30 comments — Leave a comment )
Kimberly Burlison
Mar. 6th, 2013 05:39 pm (UTC)
I am not the world's biggest Jennifer fan (unless we're talking about some of Jansma's fiction), but she was written as far less annoying in Legacy than the series. I like strong female characters, but many times in the show she just wasn't one, KWIM?

There was a time with Teyla that my DH and I had a drinking game revolving around Teyla referencing "the fight against the Wraith". She was a cardboard character for a long time. Later in the series and the Legacy series she became much more interesting, and I was glad to see that.

I wasn't happy about Sam being drug back into Atlantis, but then I wasn't happy about SG-1 coming in for cameos when those words could have told us more about Pegasus. I grow tired of SG-1 being called in every time there's a big problem in Pegasus. I'd rather see the SG-A team handle their own messes. If I wanted to read about SG-1, I have a ton of tie-in novels to choose from. There are precious few adventures with SG-A, and I'd have loved to see them work this out on their own.
jo_graham
Mar. 6th, 2013 05:51 pm (UTC)
The challenge we realized immediately when we started Homecoming is this: without Elizabeth and without Sam we all of the big plot moving scenes in the book that logically had no women in them ever! The decisions would reasonably be Woolsey, John, Jack, Rodney, and maybe Radek. There's no reason to have Jennifer in them, because she has nothing to contribute. There's no reason to have Teyla in them because she's not in the chain of command. Since neither of them have the ATA gene, even Carson is more likely to be in scenes. So what we would have to write is scene after scene after scene with nothing but men. The book would look like it was from prior to 1960, as at least original series Star Trek had Uhura!

We decided we had to have Sam back. We couldn't have Elizabeth, but there had to be at least one woman at the table. It could not always be four or five men.

As far as SG-1, we wrote the end of Inheritors realizing that this may be the end of the series, the last time we see any of the Stargate characters. We wanted everyone to have a good goodbye.
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vickicass
Mar. 6th, 2013 09:13 pm (UTC)
even though i don't like Jenifer as a character she is still a character that grows as each episode and book goes past.
it was when we see her in the ep where teyla finds out shes pregnant. we see her at her weakest but we see her more in each episode she grows and become stronger.
In the books you see her doing something she didnt want to do. she didnt want to go back but did so. she didnt want to kill of the wraith, even though they would kill her, she wanted to "fix" them.
then at the end of the book we see her come out as a strong character. here she is going to do what she wants, going to be with the wraith and help people. she isnt going to be more then a pet but she is helping people.
It must be very scary for her to do it but she still is doing it.
she may not be my favorite but she is one amazing character.

Teyla is just a strong character all over. shes a leader, she has wraith DNA in her, a mother and a women.
i think it was in one of the books where she says shes heard what the people of earth call women, how it upset her how she didnt want to be like that. she's had to prove herself not just to her people but also to everyone on Atlantis. then she finds out she has wraith DNA, if we found out we had something like that, only seeing the wraith as the bad guys, how upset would we be? it would be hard to prove that your not really one of them.
then she had dreams of the mothers, of her beaing a wraith her child turing into one. it proves how strong she is to deal with it all.

Sam is Sam. what was her first line in the series of SG1?
Shes strong, she knows how to fight and also know how deal with the old boy school.
to be at the helm of the hammond shows she knows what to do.
shes also a solider, you see that when she was head of Atlantis. she knows how its post to be done and what needs to be done. its a thin line to do but she dose it like a pro.
jo_graham
Mar. 8th, 2013 04:48 pm (UTC)
I think one thing Stargate did well was having strong female characters. Sam, Janet, Vala, Elizabeth, and Teyla are all really different and very strong. We hoped we could carry that on!
jansma
Mar. 6th, 2013 11:18 pm (UTC)
Little shocked that people would be so rude as to say that kind of thing, but I guess it's the type of review you have to accept as inevitable. You can't please all the people, and you shouldn't have to.

Jen... in the programme, I thought she was badly written, and ill-used. She was a younger, female version of Mckay, with humility, because you needed a doctor to be empathic. Bleurgh. But, she had potential, and I think you delivered that. Keller has grown as a character, and while the potential was there, it just needed a sympathetic hand (or two... three possibly) to bring about growth.

It takes guts to do what Jen did with the Wraith, and we saw that when she went and delivered herself into Todd's hands even though Ronon was convinced she'd be killed. That is true courage - to face death even when you are terrified. And that's when I knew I wanted to write her. :)
kickstand75
Mar. 7th, 2013 03:57 pm (UTC)
Ha, Jansma, my husband and I were arguing about this last night at midnight. I took your side - that we did see growth as an individual in Legacy, and hubs was upset Jennifer didn't go in a bit of a different direction. He thinks she secretly has a crush on Guide.

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mari4212
Mar. 7th, 2013 02:27 am (UTC)
So, write strong female characters. But don't write any of the canon female characters, because all of them are awful and take time away from the John and Rodney show. And whatever you do don't introduce new female characters, because OCs are always evil Mary Sues there to take time away from the John and Rodney show.

*headdesks* Why am I not surprised?

I like the guys and all, but I'd love it if hating every female character specifically because they are female stopped being a thing in fandom.
jo_graham
Mar. 8th, 2013 04:50 pm (UTC)
I wish it would too. So much!
tielan
Mar. 7th, 2013 07:21 am (UTC)
Lemme guess: Gateworld commenters? Or just people who are pissed off that the tie-in series didn't turn out to be the fanfic they wished it was (where everything is tailored to their precise whim)?
jo_graham
Mar. 8th, 2013 04:51 pm (UTC)
I don't think so much Gateworld. Most of the Gateworld commenters I'm getting are the Wraith Girls, and they rock! I'm not sure where this bunch are from.
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emm1978
Mar. 7th, 2013 05:18 pm (UTC)
I suppose this must be one of the challenges of writing tie ins, trying to take established characters and make them grow and develop from your perspective rather than the script writers who wrote them initially, I suppose you are never going to please all of the people all of the time.

I'll be honest, I'm never going to warm up to the Keller character, I think the damage done there in the show was pretty much absolute however I totally get and respect that other people like her and that she had to be a part of the story and I never once threw my kindle across the room when she appeared on the page......trust me that's a big improvement on my previous reactions to her ;))

I suppose the problem is that we all have ideas about how the story could and should progress, okay most of mine involve Lorne shirtless but hey, it's my imagination and I'm happy, the problem comes when we assume what we want is what everyone else wants or should want and I think some of the um shall we say less courteous responses are reflecting that, people get too caught up in the whole thing and forget that these books are the product of a lot of hard work and effort and it must be very dispiriting for you to get such thoughtless feedback. I wish people would think a little more sometimes before they press post.
jo_graham
Mar. 8th, 2013 04:54 pm (UTC)
No, you can't please everybody. It's like ships. Everyone has their ships, and anything you do will disappoint someone. The only alternative is to never develop anything, which is what shows often do -- just leave everyone in limbo forever in a way that doesn't make any sense! Having any kind of reasonable progression of character growth for anybody means not doing something else, so somebody is mad. Unfortunately, that's just how it works!
hiveshipmist
Mar. 20th, 2013 01:48 pm (UTC)
A confident, self-respecting woman should be able to celebrate both the accomplishments of other women as well as her own.

In "Stealing Fire," Lydias has it exactly right when he knowingly strives to make himself loveable. Character is something which is built up and recognized by other, compatible people. But, some people don't want to put forth that kind of effort and want to fantasize instead about "icing" women with strong accomplishments, to get rid of competition.

This problem exists in the Wraith fandom, too. I've seen people who want to "ice" all Wraith Queens. I've seen fangirls insist on thinking about some male Wraith, Todd especially, as someone who either never had mothers, sisters, or daughters, or never had any female family members with admirable traits. Then, his heart becomes unlocked after 10,000 love-lacking years because of woman outside of his race, usually a human, comes along. What a miserable life that would be, for both love-lacking Wraith and future lover, to have lived without female familial love and friendships.

Stuff like this is not true to life and belongs in fan fiction. Thankfully, the publishers know it.

jo_graham
Mar. 20th, 2013 06:51 pm (UTC)
I find that there's a disturbing tendency to write relationships in isolation, as though a character has lived in a box for however long until their One True Love shows up! The idea that any emotionally healthy person has reached thirty five or forty without any important relationships in their lives is ridiculous, and more so when you're talking about thousands of years! A forty year old guy who has no exes, no family, no kids, no brothers and sisters, no lifelong friends is probably a sociopath. Seriously.
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hiveshipmist
Mar. 20th, 2013 02:34 pm (UTC)
I'm also disturbed by women who make anti-strong woman comments who are in groups saying they are against hate and discrimination. Maybe only cute, young, single males are deserving of not being discriminated against. *shrugs*
jo_graham
Mar. 20th, 2013 06:52 pm (UTC)
Word. Just word.
( 30 comments — Leave a comment )