Can you appreciate a story without identifying yourself to the MC ?

NobleTalon

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Personally, I can't. That's probably why I can't read any BL, gender bender, or other genres that don't fit me.

I also don't like reading stories with a female MC. It's not because the MC is female, but more because when I read a story I like to think about what I would have done if I were in the MC's shoes. Most of the time during the first chapters, I end up thinking the opposite of the female MC and more often than not I find myself siding with the villain just to end the pain of following such a naive MC sooner.

There is only one novel with a female MC that I really liked and kept reading until the end but unfortunately, I forgot its name and didn't check for updates for more than a year. This novel was pretty mature, and the story didn't feel naive or pink-tinted. It was a Japanese novel but it didn't have all those clichés that the JP authors like to use and I hate so much. And the MC was very well developed ; she acted like a badass queen, not like a retarded Japanese teenager.

I'm curious about what you guys think about it.

I'm even more curious about how people can fully enjoy gender benders stuff without being transexual themselves.

(I'm not kidding, I'm really curious about it. I know most of the ppl reading gender benders are ravaged degenerates very nice and smart, but I still want to know how straight people can follow a MC so different from them. I can at least understand gay and trans readers reading gender-bender as it may fit their sexual tastes, but what about straights ?)

nt. : I forgot to mention that I have no trouble at all following multiples MC, no matter their sexes or their personality. If one of them doesn't suit me, I can still side with another one and enjoy following his/her progress.

Once again I'm thinking about a novel that I forgot the name, but it was a very nice Korean novel following 2 MC : a male and a female, both soldiers on earth. They have been sent to another dimension and suffered a lot of ordeals (no OP powers, just going through pure suffering by sheer willpower and comradeship).

The novel described their feelings very well, especially how their relationship changed through the years they spent trapped together. (the man was married on earth, but still ended up in a relationship with the woman. Their feelings were more than simple love, as they were the only ones they could rely on inside a hellish dimension.)

If you guys found its name, don't hesitate to post it as I would love to read it again.
 

Hans.Trondheim

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Yes, I can.

While I also love to think while reading what would've I done if I were in the MC's shoes, my thoughts would always remind me that this is a piece of literature, and it's meant to be enjoyed.

And enjoyment for me, is not necessarily identifying myself with the character. If a character doesn't match my values and beliefs, I'd still read on (as long as I'm interested), curious about this character's action, and taking mental notes as well for future use.

So yes, I can (and have read) trans, GB, and even BL novels. Not really my cup of tea (as I'm a straight person and my cultural background is consrrvatively religious), but I appreciated some with good narrative that kept me interested until that author decided to put it in limbo herself.

On an interesting note, I suddenly remembered this manga where I can identify with the MC alot.

I dropped it. Not because it's not interesting, but he's way too familiar to me that every time a chapter is out, I end up hurting.

So in my case, identifying with a character is not always a guarantee that the reader would appreciate the story.
 
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NobleTalon

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And enjoyment for me, is not necessarily identifying myself with the character. If a character doesn't match my values and beliefs, I'd still read on (as long as I'm interested), curious about this character's action, and taking mental notes as well for future use.
I see, but don't you get quickly bored when you can't identify yourself to any important character ?

I understand your point, but for me, enjoyment comes from the characters first and only then the storyline. I tend to put a lot of value on good character development, as the storyline will often depend and rely on the MC(s)' choices. That's why I quickly lose interest when the MC isn't to my liking.

And that's also why I can't seem to appreciate any novel with an MC being the opposite of what I am myself. Be it for his/her personality or his/her actions. While I like to follow different characters, I don't like it when they are the opposite of what I expect them to be until I can't even understand the meaning of their choices/actions.
 
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BlackKnightX

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I have a specific kind of protagonist I like, so if the story doesn’t have that, I‘ll go looking for something else. I’m quite similar to you in a sense, I suppose.
 

Esper

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Personally yes, infact I write very impersonally, preferring a third person view. I guess it's something I got with reading a lot of fantastical stories that where written that way, and I have a impersonally view of my life. Roll with the punches and all that.

Edit: I am a straight, being as I'ed prefer to not say my gender, but I enjoy Yuri and gender bend quiet a lot. Why you may ask? Because I like the tone they set, the world they build, the story they tell. It may sound like "eh i like it so yeah" answer but how I see it is, I live a mundane life, so let this world show me something I'll never see otherwise. I hope that makes sense?
 
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Hans.Trondheim

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I see, but don't you get quickly bored when you can't identify yourself with any important character in a story ?

I understand your point, but for me, enjoyment comes from the characters first and only then the storyline. I tend to put a lot of value on good character development, as the storyline will often depend and rely on the MC(s). That's why I quickly lose interest when the MC isn't to my liking.
Nope. I don't. In fact, if I find them interesting, I often model some of my characters after them.

And I can't do that if I don't read their story.

As for your case, well, it's you. And no one can say to you "you are wrong". Literature is a form of art, and it's meant to be enjoyed and interpreted according to the values and beliefs of a person. If you can' t enjoy a story because you can't identify, then it's all good, I believe.

That's the beauty of Art (and Literature). It's not as rigid as Science that one has to follow a set of rules to fully appreciate its concepts.

In Art, one can always form an interesting take on a piece. 😉
 

NobleTalon

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Nope. I don't. In fact, if I find them interesting, I often model some of my characters after them.

And I can't do that if I don't read their story.

Yes, but if you find them interesting it means that they are well developed for your tastes. This also means that they correspond to at least one of your requirements for them to be interesting, and so to be good characters for you.

As for your case, well, it's you. And no one can say to you "you are wrong". Literature is a form of art, and it's meant to be enjoyed and interpreted according to the values and beliefs of a person. If you can' t enjoy a story because you can't identify, then it's all good, I believe.

That's why I'm only giving my own opinion and I'm asking what others think about it.

Everyone may think differently about the subject, as everyone doesn't have the same needs and expectations when reading a novel. The fact that so many genres exist is the best proof for it, as humans are all unique and the same logic is applied when it comes to literature.
 

NotaNuffian

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Yes. Because then it becomes a amusement ride that I can just zone out and enjoy the pretty lights along the way.

No. Because if the MC is generic AF, he is suppose to be a proxy of me and hence I should self insert. But the problem is that the ones who do that are the Japanese and I am not a Japanese, meaning I don't like that beta shit. As for Chinese MCs from the Mainland, they are also self insertable but instead of your conscious self, think of your primal self in pilot and the conscious you is in the ride ie look at my first paragraph. Then there are some likable SI and Fanfics that grow from just an author's wet dream to become something plausible for me.
 

NobleTalon

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Then there are some likable SI and Fanfics that grow from just an author's wet dream to become something plausible for me.
fanfics are an exception to the question imo, as its name suggests those reading fanfics are for the most part already fans of the original story. They probably already have their fav characters before reading the fanfic, so they can identify themselves to him/her/them.
 

Hans.Trondheim

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Yes, but if you find them interesting it means that they are well developed for your tastes. This also means that they correspond to at least one of your requirements for them to be interesting, and so to be good characters for you.
But not necessarily identified with them in a sense that 'I see myself in their shoes'.

For example, the Pevensie children from Narnia. I did not grow in the middle of a wartime city, nor am I inclined to climb wardrobes when I was a kid. But I enjoyed Narnia simply because I love how the narrative is.

Did I use them in my stories, or find them interesting? Yes. Because I had no idea of how to write a curious kid's behavior.

Everyone may think differently about the subject, as everyone doesn't have the same needs and expectations when reading a novel. The fact that so many genres exist is the best proof for it, as humans are all unique and the same logic is applied when it comes to literature.
Yeah, that's why I answered and explained it.
 
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Bobple

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Very much yes.
I understand some people need to find a character to identity with (Some of my friends are like that), but I just really enjoy reading.

A story can have many reasons I appreciate it, the story, characters, action, comedy, etc, or some reason I haven't even found yet. (Sometimes everything is just ok, but I still had fun with the process even if I read the same template 100+ times)

I even like to read stories with tags and genres I've need read before, and see if I can enjoy them. And even after, yes I do have some preferences but they mainly just determined my read order.

The only reason why I wouldn't read a story if it was a gore focused story. For the simple reason, I feel physical sick when reading them for periods of time.

I feel like I've gone of topic.. But yeah I can enjoy stories with cast of characters completely different from me, and who would make completely different decisions.
 

Vnator

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Yes for me, but I have to be able to appreciate or root for the main character to want to follow them. If they're not someone I identify with, then they're someone I want to see win or be friends with in real life.

Someone with strong convictions, an enjoyable personality, or grand desires in the face of grander obstacles speaks to me as a reader.

I'm working on a story about a single mother transported to a cultivation world who's trying to get her son back from the martial sect who summoned them. I can't relate to her problem, but her snark, will to make it through tough situations, and her overall reaction to the world around her is what makes me invested in the story.
 
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Yes.

I like fantasy. Their are traits that one admire like heroic or magic abilities that one does not relate to. They are of different backgrounds - some from war torn, demon terrorizing lands, that one gladly does not relate too. Don't get me wrong, some slice of life with some relatabity makes it really nice to read. Can self insert or be a side character. But there'll always be some stuff one does not relate too, so it depends how much want to self insert.

But if its completely completely cringe, unbelievable cringe that breaks story immersion, then no.
 

Waskertyioup

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Weird thing to ask. Not long ago I got this comment in one of my chapters in other platform <Good grief.... At least we did not get an hole in our stomach.> and I was totally puzzled.

I mean, what are you talking about? It was the MC who took the hit, right? But now that I see this post, it seems that a lot of people need that self-insert thingy to enjoy something. Knowing that, makes things dificult for me, cause everyone hates my MC... Maybe they hate themselves, maybe I'm overthingking stuff, idk.

Anyway, talking about myself, I can think about what I'll do in some kind of scenarios, but I can clearly separate myself from the MC, and can understand that they have their own flaws and virtues, the same as I do.
 

EternalSunset0

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Yes. The opposite, in fact.

I can relate but can't imagine actually self-inserting. As said in the comment above, it's a story, not roleplay. Not that RPing ever interested me ever anyway.
 
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