ft_directory: (Fandom High!)
ft_directory ([personal profile] ft_directory) wrote2008-12-08 10:54 am
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Meta: Fictional Characters and the 4th Wall

Fandom High works on a 'no canon-puncturing' principle, with limited exceptions. Unless you fall into one of those exceptions, no character is going to recognize your character as someone who's fictional in their world.

Instead, we use made-up 'meta' shows and literature to replace the fictional stuff that characters would normally know. For example, on meeting Buffy Summers, no one who wasn't from her own canon would recognize her as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, because no such show exists. Instead people are familiar with Wendy the Werewolf Stalker (who may have some odd similarities to Buffy, but it's not polite to point those out unless the character is already doing so or the mun has said they're okay with it). The idea is to have fun with this, use the meta fiction to make jokes about the real source, create awful puns, and so on, without putting any characters on the spot.

The exceptions are:

  • Legends or myths: anyone who knows Earth history is allowed to know that Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of love, and believe whatever they choose to believe about how historically real she was. What they know or think they know about that legend may be completely different from what's true about the lady of the same name who runs the sex toy shop in town and claims to be the mythical Aphrodite.

  • Classic literature: mostly we're talking Shakespeare here, though there are others that would work similarly. With Shakespeare specifically, any of his plays and characters are fair game for mentioning by name, unless there's currently a character from that play in the game. Once that happens, it's up to the preference of that player: they can allow themselves to be recognized as a 'historical' character that Shakespeare wrote a play about and may or may not have got the details right, or they can request that a meta-name be invented for their particular play, at which point everyone whistles, hand-waves, and pretends the meta-name has been in use all along.

  • Culturally-pervasive literature: this is purely voluntary on the part of players from those canons, and has to be agreed upon by all canonmates at the time when it's proposed, but if that happens, a widely-known canon can be left fictional. The novel/tv-show/etc. is treated as a documentary about real people, or a story that was secretly based on reality but published as fiction. For example, this is currently the case with the Wizard of Oz fandom (and offshoots like Wicked). L. Frank Baum was writing about a place he'd really visited, but he published it as fiction -- and those books don't have all the details right either.

Right now, Oz is the only canon that falls under this category; future additions may come up, but they'll need to be discussed with canonmates and approved by the admin team before they get added to the list!

  • Canons that have already set this up themselves: The Princess Bride, for instance, is presented as a piece of historical fiction being read to a modern boy, within its own framework. Therefore anyone can walk into the Fandom High library and pull that book (or its fictional sequel, Buttercup's Baby) off the shelves. If Buttercup ever comes to Fandom as a character, people who've read the book will know only the version of her life that was presented in that piece of fiction, and she's welcome to say "Pfft, they totally got that bit wrong."

  • Show-within-a-show, book-within-a-book, etc.: when a canon has a made-up show in it that the characters watch, that show is fair game to be treated as a real show by everyone in Fandom. For example, the Queer As Folk (US) characters watch a show called Gay As Blazes. Fandom TV can totally broadcast that!

  • To see the list of existing meta names, (or add to it if you're a player) visit the FH Meta Wiki!