Pros and cons of self-insertion? Is it good? Bad? I’ve seen a lot of people dislike it online so I’d like more explanation as to why. Thank you in advance, you’ve helped me out a lot.
What a Self-Insert Character Is:
Self-insertion is when you write yourself into a fictional story without a story-based reason for doing so. Typically, this would be an idealized version of yourself being written into an idealized situation that you would like to experience. For example, writing a story about your celebrity crush meeting you and falling in love with you.
What a Self-Insert Character Isn’t:
Auto-biographies, memoirs, and slightly fictionalized memoirs don’t count as self-insertions, because your story is based on real events and situations that you experienced in some form or another.
The Pros of Self-Inserts
If there’s not a story-based reason for putting yourself in the story, there aren’t really any pros to doing it. The only possible alternative would be if you’re just writing stories for fun or practice, in which case your pros are that it’s fun and it gets you out of putting any effort into developing the main character. But, on the whole, self-inserts don’t make for good commercial fiction.
The Cons of Self-Inserts
The main problem with self-inserts is that they tend to be a method of wish fulfillment for the writer, and for this reason, there tends to be a loss of objectivity. The plot, if there is one, tends to revolve around making the writer’s fantasies come true, with very little story structure or conflict. Events and situations tend to play out in a way that is overly convenient, unrealistic, or completely unbelievable. The loss of objectivity also makes it harder for the writer to see big problems with the story. So, while these may be fun to write, they’re not typically much fun for other people to read.
Self-Inserts in Fan-Fiction
Although self-inserts can appear in any kind of fiction, where they’re really a problem is in fan-fiction. Original characters in fan-fiction are already on shaky ground because they’re not canon, and if they take too much focus from canon characters, that can be a problem. But when that original character is a self-insert character serving as a vehicle for wish fulfillment, the result is typically pretty cringe-worthy. So, if you want to write fan-fiction others will enjoy, self-inserts should be avoided. But, if you’re just writing for yourself, it’s fine.
Ask box will re-open soon. In the mean time, please check the master list or the main site for help. :)