Moving Away From "Fictive" and "Post-Fictive"
Recently, we have been attempting to participate more in community spaces. While this has multiple reasons, one of our goals is to learn more about other experiences and terminology. A side-product of this has been reviewing what terminology we use for ourselves and whether or not it accurately describes our experiences while still being understandable to others. Some of our understandings of words and our identities have changed, leaving us with a need for new descriptions. This essay describes one of the changes we've been considering.
A fictive is a system member who identifies primarily as a fictional character or with a fictional world. They can be a walk-in, soulbond, or member who was formed in the system with a fiction-based identity. Stemming from that, a post-fictive is a system member who once identified as a fictive but no longer does. These words can describe the experiences of some people in this system, and we previously found them useful to connect with other people with similar backgrounds. As we've spent more time reading about other experiences we've noticed more discrepancies. Fictive and post-fictive, despite being broad terms, have emphasis on both current identity and experiences with origins.
The broadness of those definitions leaves room for many kinds of identities. All of those identities depend on a relation to some fictional media. Nobody in this system who would typically be described as a fictive currently identifies as a fictional character or with a fictional world. Being a gateway system allows people to enter the system directly from fictional sources, but that doesn't mean their identity before they enter the system is the same as when they get here. Our Front and gateway are both connected to a system-wide "filter" that has a continuous effect on our identities. The act of entering or being formed in this system immediately changes one's identity. Even though someone may have walked in from a fictional world or been formed based on fiction, the filter makes it so the person's identity no longer aligns with their source. This would make every single "fictive" in the system a "post-fictive" because they have been changed from their previous identity, but that doesn't feel like an accurate description because no individual here really identified as a fictive in the first place.
Fictive is a common word in plural communities that makes it easy to describe many of our experiences. The reason we used the term was for communication. However, any individuals in this system can't identify with it personally. Identifying as a fictive feels like it comes with a caveat or requires a disclaimer. Even though people may fit the general description of it, their personal experiences don't seem to fit as well. Being able to recognize oneself or one's background in media isn't what makes up the identities we used the word "fictive" to describe. The connection to fiction is less direct and more about having a core piece of personal identity come from something in the past.
The focus of fiction-based identity in this system being different means that the most accurate descriptions also have a different focus. Many people here have complicated feelings towards identifying as a fictive. Some people accept it as the easiest option for communication and some people refuse to identify with it at all. When we use it in writings, it's oftentimes more to be understandable as a general description than it is to speak to any individual's experiences. Not only do people not identify with it on a personal level, but there are two groups who use the word "fictive" that don't feel like their experiences match enough to use the same word.
When speaking to each other, we differentiate between origin and influence. In many definitions, these are simplified together as a source. Since people in this system with an identity relating to fiction consider it to be a "formative experience" instead of an ongoing identity, the current experiences of people who originated in a fictional world and of people whose entry into the system was influenced by fiction don't feel that their experiences have as much in common as they would if they were both experiencing an ongoing identity as a fictional character.
People who identify with both of these groups also separate these two identities. One person describes it as a difference between one's past and how other people perceive them. They came from a fictional world and lived a past as a recognizable character, but when they arrived we recognized them as that character plus similarities to another character. They consider themself to have the past of the character they are recognized as, but don't identify as having a relation to the character that they have some traits in common with. Influence, whether it's in someone's formation in the system or in the probability of an "alternate" version of a character walking in, is considered a function of the system and gateway more than it's considered a personal identity.
This separation means that new words or descriptions for how fictional identity works for us would have to be something that these two groups could agree on amongst themselves if we want to continue having general words. In a discussion, we came up with the following two experimental terms as examples of what general terms for us may look like:
Ficto-sourced (or fictosourced): Based on the word "outsourced," this describes originating from a fictional world and entering another world through a process like reincarnation or walking into a system. Since "sourced" here refers to the individual, the word in this usage refers to the person being from a fictional world instead as opposed to the identity being from fiction.
Ficto-influenced (or ficfluenced): Being formed in the system with influence from a fictional source or being an individual who walked in while which world or individual the gateway connected to was chosen based on similarity to fiction.
Identities associated with both of these terms can include a "source media" or "source character," and can use a term like fictomere. Someone from an AU who was able to enter the system because of similarities to another fictional source could identify as both ficto-sourced and ficto-influenced.
These terms aren't expected to suit us perfectly. The benefit of fictive as a broad word is that people don't have to be sure of their origins to use it. Separating origin and influence can make it difficult to have a usable term while questioning. People who enter our system in the future who identify as originating from multiple sources equally, or who will never have (or want) a concrete answer for their origins may not feel that these terms are helpful to them. It's possible that we will go back to having one term for both of these identities or that we will use a broader term in addition to these. For now, these are the experiences we have been able to describe.
Note: Ficto-sourced could possibly apply to fictionkin who arrived in this world via reincarnation, but people in our system who consider themselves fictionkin typically identify that way because they don't consider their fictotype an origin. The definition of ficto-sourced could be expanded if other people find the idea useful.
Externally-Sourced Residents article on KinHost
Introjects article on KinHost
Fictives article on KinHost
Walk-Ins article on KinHost
Fictive article on Pluralpedia
Soulbond article on Pluralpedia
Introject article on Pluralpedia
Post-Fictive article on Pluralpedia
About Fictives page on Fictionkin Dot Com