August 5th, 2008

Writing on Water
  • jij

Workshop: "Writing Jean Grey" by Likeadeuce

We often discuss writing about characters someone else created in terms of "playing with other people's toys". In a serial medium like comic books, this concept can apply equally to writers of fanfic, or to the professional creators who take on a character that has existed, in some form, for decades. In either case, whenever a writer picks up someone else's toy for the first time, it may seem less like an action figure ready to pop out of the box, and more like a complex, disassembled puzzle with pieces that don't necessarily fit with each other.

Take, for example, the X-men character Jean Grey. The version of Jean that developed in the Marvel comics universe over the years is interesting, not because her history is uniquely convoluted, but because the problem of integrating disparate parts of her complicated backstory is explicitly addressed in canon. Looking at the way Jean's character has been handled over time makes a good case study -- in both positive and negative ways -- of how to put those complex pieces together.

So we begin with a question: Collapse )