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Getting Sucked into the Universe

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Getting Sucked into the Universe



The number one complaint for the "getting sucked into the universe", typically for a fan fiction, is that it's overdone.  Well, like I said in "Clichés and Self-Inserts," if a writer feels they can spice it up or add their own flavor, let them.  I normally don't like reading them either, but I'm not going to post a review telling them that this has been done before and for him or her to stop writing it to think of something "more original."  That's just plain rude, and who knows, maybe there is something very unique to give the story an extra twist.

Although, there was one story I did like, and it was mainly for a few little things than the overall idea.  Unfortunately, I read it a long time ago and am unable to find it again, so I can't reread it to freshen up my memory.  What I do remember was that there were two (female) OCs who were dumped into the Avatar: The Last Airbender universe (they both loved the cartoon, so I'm pretty sure they were sucked into the TV or something).  One of them was on prescribed medication for anxiety or depression or something and it helped her friend sleep in the metal cage—it's those little things that I liked about the story.

Anyway, there are a couple of things to at least think about when writing these kinds of stories.  The first is to figure out what person/tense the story should be in (see "You" P.O.V.s).  Most stories are written in first or third person past tense, but if you change it up then you've already got a different style to work with that most other stories don't have.  Granted, different isn't always better, but you can always try it out and see what kind of readers you get.

The second thing to think about is how to transport the character(s) to the universe.  Was there a portal through the TV?  Maybe they're psychic and astral projected themselves into the universe?  Maybe a witch cast a spell on them?  Is the character dying, and is shifting back and forth between "reality" and the parallel dimension?  There are thousands of ways you can do this.  If the story takes place in a historical setting, or in the future, time travel could be an option (Inuyasha, by Rumiko Takahashi), and that's a theme all on its own.

What's the initial reaction to the new universe and how do the characters survive?  Is there a culture shock feeling?  What's the conflict?  Do the character(s) remember home and miss it?  Do they meet friends, enemies, maybe a possible lover?  What's the definition of 'beauty', or 'attractiveness'?  What about hygiene, if that's important?  "What kinds of transportation are there?  Do they tell people about what happened? If they are from the future or know more about the "story" than has happened do they try to prevent or cause certain things? Do they think their crazy/dreaming/whatever or do they quickly accept what is going on? How do they deal with basically not existing (this is more for modern era stories, like having no birth record so they can't get a job and such)?" (suggested by Novadestin).


Finally, is there an opportunity, or a way to return home?  If so, are the characters torn?  This right here is what usually turns me off to these stories.  In the first place, they barely describe their home, probably assuming that it's the real life, but what country is the character from?  What are the good and bad of her life?  This can be done in the first few chapters, and/or as an inner dialogue as the character thinks to him or herself staring at a fire or something.  Then after they make a connection to the universe they were dropped in, there is either never even a mention of finding a way how to return home, or when there's a portal right there, the characters don't even hesitate and choose to stay with their lover.  Where's the tension, the angst, or that horrible guilt-ridden feeling you get when you realize that you didn't get to apologize to someone you might not ever see again?  To me, that just seems like the character didn't change or develop, they just found a way to run away from their initial problems at home, but that's probably just me.  Also, pointed out by Novadestin, once the character has made his or her decision, presumably having to live the rest of their lives in one universe or the other, does the character begin regretting or double-guessing him or herself?

Like I said, I don't normally read these kinds of stories, and I've never attempted to write one before, so I may have missed something that may or may not be important.  If anyone has something to add, or would like for me to clarify something I'm all ears.  If you are planning to write this, but are worried about author-insertion, don't worry about it.  There probably will be people who accuse you of such a thing, I won't lie, but all you can do is tell your side of things—whether you are or not.  They don't know you so can't prove it themselves, so don't worry, just write your story as best as you can, and if they don't like it all because they think you're inserting yourself without a shred of evidence, that's their fault for not loosening up, not yours.
If you haven't, please read my Mary-Sue: Who is She? Series first.

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Griffonmender's avatar
An interesting twist: have the characters from the universe be the ones sucked into the real world, as opposed to the usual real world folks being the ones sucked in.
Or translate characters from one universe to another, or make up a universe and suck preexisting characters and your ocs alike into it.
    Finding ways to play with tropes can help make your story stand out in a good way. ^^