Do character bios count as a complete story?

RialVestroRialVestro Posts: 6,348 ✭✭✭
Back in 2002/2003 I worked with a professional writer on a project of mine trying to improve my writing. He also worked as an English teacher but I was never officially in his class because he taught regular English and I was in special ed. Anyway, I was getting some one on one help for my senior project (wasn't actually a senior yet at the time but I was trying to get a head start on my project.) Anyway, I had some character bios written out that I wanted to use for a story but he told me that character bios don't really count as a story. Until they're written out fully with each character interacting with each other, a character bio is nothing more than a write up on who a character is. It's not his or her story.

Recently I've been in an argument with someone on another forum who is getting kind of annoying in his insistence that Transformers toy bios count the same as any comic book, cartoon series, or movie. I think that because toy bios are often written and released long before the characters ever really show up in fiction that they're nothing more than concept ideas. I've also given multiple examples where the in story version of a character is completely different from the write up on the toy's packaging for that same character.

Examples, according to Animated Oil Slick's toy bio he's a bounty hunter that works closely with Lockdown. In the actual cartoon series however there's no evidence that Lockdown and Oil Slick have ever even met each other. Oil Slick only has one appearance in the series and it's nothing to do with Lockdown. The main reason for the inconsistency, Oil Slick was never even suppose to be in the show in the first place. Hasbro created him to be a toy only character and the animator's liked the design so much they used it in the chartoon but in a completely different role than what his toy packaging described.

Another example is that according to the toys Depth Charge and Cybershark came to Earth together but in the cartoon Depth Charge came to Earth alone and Cybershark was nothing more than a toy only character who never existed in any Beast Wars fiction.

Megatron's Prime toy bio states that he is constantly upgrading his armor. It was written specifically to explain why he looks so different in the games. However in the show this is never seen to happen and the show even completely ignores his appearance in the games by having his appearance in flash back look exactly the same as the present day Megatron rather than using the game design that he's suppose to have during that time period.

There's also a bunch of figures who were made with a head swapping gimmick which is mentioned on the toy bios but in the cartoons and comics none of them are ever shown to have this feature. The closest thing to this ever happening ended up being two entirely separate characters. Tarantulus who used the toy's Mutant head and Blackarachnia who used the toy's standard robot head. Funny thing is if you look closely at her helmet in the cartoon you can see Tarantulus' face on the top of her helmet which is exactly where it would end up on the toy.

I've also mentioned the script for "Meet Me in St. Louis" which has a character bio for Grandpa Profiter, a character which I played on stage and despite being given a name in the character bio, it's never actually spoken anywhere in the entire play. No one in the general audience would ever know that was my character's name. So how is a character bio it's own fiction when a script isn't meant to be read, it's meant to be preformed? How does something mentioned in a character bio count as part of the fiction if the general audience doesn't even know it exists?

I was hoping that John Green would reply and help settle this debate. I've honestly forgotten the guy's name who I spoke too all those years ago but I figured if I name dropped someone well known like John Green then we could end this argument once and for all.
Ni, peng, nee-wom! Ecky, ecky, ecky, pakang, zoom-ping! Baa weep grahna weep ninny bong!

Comments

  • RolloRollo Operative 6081, MiniTrue Airstrip Three, OceaniaPosts: 1,905 ✭✭✭
    A story implies a narrative; with a set of connected events. To wit:

    I went downstairs to the mail box and opened it. There was no mail inside. I was disappointed and came back upstairs.

    That's a story, albeit not a very long or exciting one but it demonstrates the point. There is a simple narrative and as such a story exists.

    I would argue that I biography, insofar as much as it presents a series of events in someone's life, is a story of sorts. A character profile, which is something like a CV, might have a series of facts but a biography presents a someone's life story.

    Anyway, I had some character bios written out that I wanted to use for a story but he told me that character bios don't really count as a story. Until they're written out fully with each character interacting with each other, a character bio is nothing more than a write up on who a character is. It's not his or her story.

    I wonder how he views "The Martian" by Andy Weir. In most of that book Watney interacts with nobody; but there's still a story being told.

    "I speak an infinite deal of nothing and I am not bound to please thee with my answers."

    I've written four books - you might like to buy them: Linky - Doobly Doo
  • RialVestroRialVestro Posts: 6,348 ✭✭✭
    You seem to be confused about a couple of things.

    1. You seem you have character bio confused with biography which are two different things. A character bio is more like what you referred to as a character profile. A biography refers to a story written about a real person. It doesn't pertain to fictional characters. I can understand the confusion as bio is an abbreviation of biography. I'm honestly not entirely sure why we started using the two to mean different things but I can assure you a character bio is by no means a complete telling of a character's entire story. That would be far too long to print on the back of a toy box. It's just a short write up of facts about who a character is... which in this case are often wrong because changes get made to the characters between the time the toys are made and the time they show up in movies, cartoons, and comics. There is no narrative of any kind.

    2. To give mote context to the conversation we had. I had multiple characters who were suppose to co-exist in the same universe but nothing is really written out about how they fit together in the story. They're like pieces of a puzzle that I haven't put together yet. We never spoke about single character stories. That just never came up during my time with him. I'm sure he would of felt very differently about that as you can't apply the same rule to a story line about a man in solitary confinement or stranded alone on a deserted island as you do to a story with a bunch of different characters. That's like trying to review a comedy as if it's a serious drama... which oddly I've actually seen someone attempt before and it made no sense. Of course the movie doesn't take itself seriously, it's a comedy, it's not suppose to take itself seriously. Oddly I think it was a review of Vampires Suck and the reviewer seemed to treat the movie as if it was actually part of the Twilight franchise when it is in fact a parody that has nothing to do with the material it's trying to make fun of. Anyway, I'm rambling now.

    Hope that clears up the confusion.
    Ni, peng, nee-wom! Ecky, ecky, ecky, pakang, zoom-ping! Baa weep grahna weep ninny bong!
  • RolloRollo Operative 6081, MiniTrue Airstrip Three, OceaniaPosts: 1,905 ✭✭✭
    Snipped for brevity:

    It's just a short write up of facts about who a character is... There is no narrative of any kind.

    A list of facts with no narrative of any kind is not a story.

    he told me that character bios don't really count as a story.

    He'd be right.

    "I speak an infinite deal of nothing and I am not bound to please thee with my answers."

    I've written four books - you might like to buy them: Linky - Doobly Doo
Sign In or Register to comment.