WikEd fancyquotesQuotesBug-silkHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extensionPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifierAnalysisPhoto linkImage LinksHaiku-wide-iconHaikuLaconic

When a character is an author, or the author is a character, and he is shown interacting with the characters in his works, he is often shown to have god-like control over the world of his characters. Note that often, the characters themselves will appear to have independent wills from the author, and may even try to stop him, even though the author should be able to control them like puppets, too.

A common variant involves an artist for a comic or animation changing the character's appearance in cruel and unusual ways, drawing monsters to chase him, or even threatening to erase characters out of existence.

Examples of Author Powers include:

Anime and Manga


  • Grant Morrison inserted himself into Animal Man as a character called 'the Writer' with the ability to alter reality. Later, John Ostrander and Yale figured, hell, if Morrison appeared in an issue of Animal Man, then he's part of mainstream DC continuity, right? Fair game, right? They featured 'the Writer' in Suicide Squad #58, where he altered reality by typing a comic book style script into a computer. He is killed when he gets writer's block in the middle of firefight and is unable to write a way to save himself.
  • In Cerebus, Dave Sim does this. He even has conversations with Cerebus in which he's speaking in Cerebus' thought balloons with nothing to differentiate his words from Cerebus', and yet somehow always manages to make it clear which of them is speaking at any time.
  • In Concrete, creator Paul Chadwick steps into one story to basically give the character of Concrete some time off: He turns him back into a human, gives him some time alone with Maureen, then tells us the reader to give them some privacy while he conjures up some crazy artwork out of thin air and spends some quiet time creating little worlds. He has also spent time away from proper plots to imagine crazy little things like what would happen if Concrete left a trail of himself everywhere he went...
  • A one-shot Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic that was an extended tribute to Jack Kirby featured Donatello meeting cartoonist named Kirby who'd found a magic crystal that, when tied to his pen, allowed anything he drew with it to come to life. Donatello and Kirby end up being pulled into Kirby's comic book world, and they get caught up in a battle between Kirby's heroic characters and his evil characters. Kirby helps Donatello and the heroic characters defeat the villains by drawing special weapons for Donatello to use and eventually binding all the villains with specially designed shackles. The story ends with Donatello returning to New York, although Kirby chooses to stay so that Don can return and gives him a sketch as a parting gift.


  • Christof in The Truman Show is an interesting example. Truman is not a fictional character, but every aspect of his life, including the people around him, is controlled by Christof. In the film's climax Christof makes the sun rise in order to stop Truman's escape.
  • The Black Beast in Monty Python and The Holy Grail vanishes when the animator has a fatal heart attack, implying some combination of this trope with No Ontological Inertia and a good dose of Beyond the Fourth Wall.
  • In Delirious, a soap opera writer gets hit on the head and wakes up as a character inside his own show. His typewriter comes with him, and he can use it to alter and plan out events in the show, even affecting other characters' behavior. However, a rival author has been hired to write show scripts as well, leading to a rare case of someone with Author Powers being in a Rage Against the Author situation.


  • Robert Heinlein's The Number of the Beast. Near the end the characters think they may be up against an Author: a truly worrisome thought, because the characters know that the universe is created from the imagination of authors.
  • Played for Laughs in Spike Milligan's novel Puckoon, where Dan, the lead character, has frequent arguments with the narrator ("Did you write these legs? Who wrote your legs?"). At the end of the book the narrator has the last laugh by leaving Dan stuck up a tree forever.
  • Kurt Vonnegut makes a cameo appearance in Breakfast of Champions, and demonstrates his Author Powers a bit. However, he also finds out that his creations have a habit of slipping out of his control.
  • Robert Rankin sometimes appears in his own Far Fetched Fiction with Author Powers, usually leading to the characters complaining about the outrageous Deus Ex Machina endings they cause.

Live Action TV

  • Doctor Who, "The Mind Robber": The Doctor discovers that they are in the Land of Fiction, a realm of a different dimension presided over by The Master of the Land, an English writer from the 1920s who has been yanked out of his own time and is being controlled by the Master Brain computer. The Master wants the Doctor to take the writer's place and the two enter a battle of wills using fictional characters.
  • Young Blades, which is very loosely based on Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers, features Dumas as a character in the series finale who explains to the main characters that he is writing their story.



  • Parodied to confusing and hilarious effect in the Goon Show episode "Six Charlies in Search of an Author". ("Ten pounds, Neddie, to be paid in money before Chapter Ten! And don't try to slip past us, Neddie, because we have an armed man in the index!")

Tabletop RPG

  • Dungeons and Dragons
    • Adventure WG7 Castle Greyhawk. One of the dungeon levels has the author of that level being omnipotent and interacting with the PCs as they explore the level.
    • The April Fools section of Dragon magazine #36 has the Dungeon Master (the person who creates an adventure) as a monster who has the power of a deity.


  • The play Six Characters in Search of an Author explores what happens when the author of an unfinished play dies before its completion. Two of the characters are doomed to die, over and over again because the play into which they were written never made it to the stage.
  • A 2008 Viennese production of Madam Butterfly featured the composer, Giacomo Puccini, as a character. He observed the events onstage, occasionally sung lines meant for the male lead, and was haunted by the spirits of the tragic heroines from his other operas as he made the decision to kill Butterfly. It was presumably intended to be a commentary on the cruelty of the audience for wanting to see characters tortured and killed for the sake of drama, and how the composer's hands were tied from making a better, kinder story because of the demands of the audience.

Web Animation

  • Animator Vs Animation features a battle between a stick figure and his off-screen animator in Adobe Flash.
  • Just Some Random Guy does this in a homage to the below mentioned Duck Amuck with Deadpool standing in for Daffy though the author is never shown in this version so its a more direct example.

Web Comics

  • In Bob and George. the Author is an occasional cast member of the comic. The cast of the comic frequently gets into arguments with him, makes fun of the fact that sprite comics are all he can manage and generally treat him like a normal member of the cast. Never mind that he has been known to raise the dead in order to fix their mistakes and bend reality to suit the needs of the plot.
  • In Books Don't Work Here. the Author is the narrator and takes an active hand in directing the characters. Not that it does him a lot of good most of the time.
  • Some of the El Goonish Shive filler strips feature Dan Shive interacting with the characters and warping reality, usually dishing out Gender Benders and other transformations to anyone who annoys him.
  • Played with in Homestuck; while Andrew Hussie does exist in universe (and is even shown physically drawing the strip), he has stated that the extent of his interference in the story proper will be limited to "exactly one yard." Turns out to be the length between two fourth walls.
  • Subverted in One Over Zero where characters succesfully rebel against the author and get him to swear off direct intervention.
  • As the AuthorAvatars, Kingwerewolf and Brogalio have control over Nintendo Acres but purposely restrict their direct involvement so the characters don't get lazy.
  • The two authors in Ls Empire have all the powers that gods have and can also freeze time, create portals to anywhere, see the future, and manipulate the fabric of reality as they see fit. They have also written one character out of the comic multiple times. This becomes problematic when Dark Star turns himself into an author.
  • Christian Weston Chandler, creator of the infamous Sonichu webcomics, writes himself as the Mayor of the city the series is set in, gives himself all sorts of super-powers and eventually displaces the title character as the real star of the comic.

Western Animation

  • The Looney Tunes cartoon "Duck Amuck" is a famous version of this; Daffy Duck is tormented by the animator who turns out to be Bugs Bunny. It also has a less famous sequel, "Rabbit Rampage", with a similar premise.
  • Animators from The Cleveland Show fit this trope. They live in Cleveland's basement and can draw or erase anything. First they used it to mess with Cleveland, erasing the box he carries, and then another drew a sexy Na'Vi woman for himself.
  • Subverted in an episode of The Simpsons. Homer spots a panel from Life in Hell in an Art Museum and insults Matt Groening's work. A giant pencil descends eraser first onto his forehead. It was actually two movers bringing in a modern art exhibit.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.