- Text Size +


Whether or not your lead female is an OG modeled after a leading actress/singer or you are using a woman who was really in Michael's life as the protagonist, there are several things authors must keep in mind. Before getting into the nitty gritty on how to approach canon figures, I'll begin by addressing why I feel that this deserves its own segment.

Preconceived Notions:

If you are attempting to write canon or include canon figures, then you have to know that your readers come with their own viewpoints on the figures you write about. That doesn't mean that you necessarily have to change how you write a character, but it is something to keep in mind. For instance, if you portray Tatum, Diana, Tatiana, Brooke, Jane, Elizabeth, Lisa Marie, etc in negative or positive likes, you are likely to run across at least one reader who decides to stop reading or takes offense.  To be completely upfront, I'm the first to admit that I'm nowhere near a fan of Tatum, Diana, Tatiana, Lisa Marie, or Brooke. Thus, when these characters are used as a protagonist or shown in a very positive light by an author, I'm unlikely to even start the story. I know, I know, groan.  You may like them. As a reader, I don't want to read stories that emphasize these women, so I simply don't. Why am I saying this? Because I'm not the only one. More often than not, when I mention to MJ friends than I read fanfic, they begin to go off on their opinions of fanfic faux pas.


Just as you, the writer, compose your story with a certain image of these real women (and MJ's male friends), readers approach stories with preconceived opinions on these characters. If you want to maximize your readership, handle these characters with care. If you want to stick with your artistic freedom and don't mind alienating a few readers, write as you see fit.


IF you want to write canon and/or include canon figures, while still maximizing your readership, here are some suggestions:


 word of warning

I feel like a broken record. Research. Sticking with what really happened can save you from offending readers. You may LOVE X or HATE Y, but conveying that whilst using a canon figure and not researching their personality or historical interactions with Michael and/or statements about him? This can get you in hot water.

Now, I should note that sticking with fact as much as possible can help you acquire readers, such as myself, who have preconceived notions. For instance, I'm always watching for updates by wonderfultonight because she made it known in her first chapter that her goal was to make Life: A work in progress historically-accurate, when possible.



Balance the Good with the Bad

If you are going to portray the person's great character traits, also show the bad ones.  Just as this is a common step in writing OGs (especialy Mary Sues) and Michael, it is a common error in writing canon figures. For more on that, see the previous segment.



Don't undervalue the power of a disclaimer

So you've decided that you want to use a canon figure but convey them differently than how you believe they really acted (aka OOC or Out of Character)? Put up a disclaimer in your first chapter and/or your story summary. That way readers know what they are getting into, so they have no valid reason to get mad at you later on. Just also know that most readers don't want to reader fanfics with characters acting OOC unless it is an AU story, and even then the hesitancy prevails.

Chapter End Notes:

Please let me know if I'm missing anything. Thank you to KerenOlivero for the idea.

You must login (register) to review.