an afternoon with hemingway

Writing Living, Breathing Characters

“When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature.”
― Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon

Sometimes this is the easiest skill to forget! I find when talking to other writers about this, it is especially muddled when writing fan fiction - though there’s a lot more thought that has to go into previously established characters constructed by someone else in writing them and making them still feel real - mostly because it’s harder to know “everything” about them. Anyway, I am going to talk today about how lately I’ve been going about the process of writing characters.

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veenia  asked:

Hey su, you called naruto complicated were you talking about Naruto the character or the series could you elaborate

I was referring to Naruto, the main character. He is a fake underdog since he doesn’t really struggle with anything. According to Merriam-Webster [link], an underdog is a person that is expected to lose a contest or battle or a less powerful person that struggles against a more powerful person.

Naruto, however, is naturally good at creating his favourite Shadow Clone Jutsu, which took him only a few hours to learn. He mastered the Sage Mode in a couple of months, something not even a Sannin, Jiraiya, could achieve in his lifetime. He learned the Rasengan in one week, whilst the Fourth Hokage couldn’t even fully complete it. He defeated three prodigies, Gaara, Neji, and Sasuke, right in the beginning of the series. He summoned the chief toad Gamabunta and has, therefore, a crazy amount of chakra.

Another example is the Rasenshuriken. Naruto’s genetic and circumstantial privilege allows him to perform the wind jutsu easier. And then, there is Kurama with whose influence Naruto has no problem to control his chakra, at all. Of course, Kyuubi is retconned into a noble, kind-hearted figure over the course of the story, so that Naruto can tame him and tap into even more of his power.

I think this is a clear case of misunderstanding or not knowing about the existence of “Show, Don’t Tell.” It’s a technique in various kinds of text to enable the reader to experience the story through actions, words, thoughts, senses, and feelings rather than through the author’s exposition or description. The goal is not to tell the reader what happens, but to show them to make the experience more realistic. 

Quoting Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon, “If a writer of prose knows enough of what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows, and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water.” Kishimoto almost never shows us how Naruto struggles as an underdog, but he tells us often enough that Naruto is an underdog, a natural underachiever that isn’t talented and lucky and yet achieves his dream through hard work.

Apart from that, Kishimoto has been emphasising Naruto’s disbelief of fate, and we, as the readers, are lead to the assumption Naruto can and will shape his own destiny. Nonetheless, it was suddenly revealed that Naruto is the Child of Prophecy. It doesn’t matter if he trains hard or not because he is destined to achieve everything anyway. And in the end, he becomes the Hokage, though fails to bring those who wronged others to justice.

Well, those are only some of the reasons why I dislike Naruto quite a bit. I hope that answers your question. :)

If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. A writer who omits things because he does not know them only makes hollow places in his writing.
—  Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon