Saitochan

OCs... what do you think of them?

OCs... what do you think of them?  

77 members have voted

  1. 1. When you write a story with an OC, you prefer it to...

    • Be the main character
      32
    • Have a major role in the story, even if it eclipses the main character sometimes
      34
    • Have a minor or supporting role with few appearances
      31
    • What's an OC?
      0
  2. 2. As for developing the OC in question, How deep do you go on his/her background (assuming this OC isn't the main character of the story)

    • You tell the character's whole life story (even if its NOT the main character)
      5
    • You go into details, but still keep readers in the dark about some things
      47
    • You describe him/her well, but still keep readers in the dark about most things
      32
    • You keep the OC surrounded in mystery (so you don't need to put too much thought into his background)
      7
    • Other
      8


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Hey there! I just thought about sharing my views on Original Characters with you people. Go ahead, answer the poll and post a comment while you're at it!

Concerning OCs, I strongly prefer them to play minor or supporting roles in the story, and I just dont like the idea of an OC being the main character of a fic (unless of course, the story isn't really fanfiction, but original fiction, which would make both the characters and everything in the story pretty much... well, original).

I am currently working on a Naruto fic centering around Shikamaru, and I included an OC in the story... First of all, I'm not too sure I did a good job with it (I dedicated a whole chapter to developing the character, telling his story, his motivation and details about his life, but I got a few concrits telling me I was "lingering too long on things that don't matter too greatly to the plot". They may have had a point, so I trashed that chapter and I'm re-writing it), and second of all, eehhh... I forgot what I was going to say. Damn attention disorder! Ok, I'll post again if I manage to remember what I wanted to say.

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I only write original stories so far, so only OCs are included :D

Main characters are very well thought through - backrounds, histories etc. Others - it depends. I have a sketch of their backgrounds but not necessarily detailed, especially if it's not needed for an action development.

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I write OC in different fandoms but I keep the past of the OC a mystery till I need to give it out.

But for my original stories, I usually discuss it within a few chapters or so.

Beth

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I only write original stories, so all my characters are original. It's certainly less stressful than writing fanfiction, which seems to be chock-full of anal retentive people with WAY too much time on their hands.

"Oh my god, <insert character here> is 5 foot 4 NOT 5 foot 3! You're scum! I hate you and want you to die a horrible lingering death for getting this one tiny thing incorrect! It's the end of the world now and it's all your fault!"

No thanks. I'll just make up my own characters.

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I am writing an original character in a Forgotten Realms setting. I wanted to avoid the classic Mary Sue syndrome, so I put her in with only the pertinent references to her background and then stuck her in some rather humorous situations.

I needed another cause for strife in the life of one of the main characters and for the other main; I needed a way for him to get what he originally wanted… A trade partner in the city of Calimport. So I made up Malehedectar and she seems to be doing well so far.

It is difficult to write an original character with any substance in a well established fandom. You get a lot of people who will drop a fic for an OC, no matter how well written you think the original character is.

The classic assumption is that no matter what, you have made the original character a fictional version of your self, and while that is sometimes the case it is not always true.

The reason I wanted to write a fan fiction in the first place was to test the waters, establish my literary prowess. Which, as it turns out, seems to be getting on swimmingly, but I have had a lack of really critical reviews, so it is a bit skewed.

But I do intend to write some fully original works just as soon as I crank out the rest of The Shifting Sands of Calimshan. When I am safely out of this fandom I will then have time to check out some of the original stories here, and I just can’t wait!!

I would love to see what some of you fine writers have thought up, all original cast and crew!! No worries about the sticky Mary Sue!!

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I like to have my OCs as important characters. Not THE MAIN characters, but important. They're always involved with the Canons. Their life revolves around the canons, not the other way around.

And I like to talk a lot about their past, but not all of it.

But that's fanfiction.

In Original Fiction, it's different. What with there being no Canons at all, you have to live without them. Make your own canons.

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I only write original stories, so all my characters are original. It's certainly less stressful than writing fanfiction, which seems to be chock-full of anal retentive people with WAY too much time on their hands.

:( Oh, my god, that's so true! Just in the Naruto fandom of AFF, there's like 4 male/male fics for every het fic, and a lot of the het fics in there are anal too. It's quite hard finding something interesting to read for an old fashioned guy like me, but I seem to manage.

As for writing, while I do thinks it's kind of annoying getting every little detail right, I don't think writing fanfiction is that hard (after all, I'm doing it). Obviously, you need a lot more creativity to write original fiction than you need to take somebody else's characters and have them do what you want. But you're right, original fiction must be less stressful, besides being a better form of catharsis.

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It depends on the story.

For one story, two of my OCs' fates and past lives are tied into the canon character's fate and past life. One OC is aware of his past and makes sure (in an evil sick twisted way) that the canon character is educated on it. The other OC doesn't become aware of his role until he gets his hands on a banned book.

In a way they are and aren't that big of a deal any more than the canon character and his canon friends, but often for story purposes I do have to focus on them or I can't move the story and basically explain to readers.

-I will finish this thought later-

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Guest Beautiful Flaw

I haven't read any OC-centric fiction, so I don't know too much about that. I think they can work really well for support characters though, given a minor role with a bit of back-story and a bit of mystery.

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I write in the Harry Potter Fandom, and since there are so few females as major characters, I write OC's into my stories that are fairly important to the story.

I have had people tell me they won't read the stories because of the OC's and I've had others say that the OC's were so well written, they became like cannon. It's a hard balance to strike when creating new characters in an existing world. Certainly you don't want to put a Mary Sue in, or give the reader less information on the OC than they have on the canon characters. I build most of my OC's around a central mannerism. For instance, one female bit her cheek when she was thinking, in trouble or nervous. This was a good indentifier for her and the rest evolved from that.

I think writing OC's helps stretch your wings as a writer. YOu can put a character in a known situation and have them react to it. It helps define what you want to express about the main character and can expand the sphere of the story beyond canon.

A badly written OC harms a story. If they are Mary Sues or Gary Lous it cheats the reader of a more complex reading experience. Perfection is boring so why write about it?

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They can also help the main canon characters grow into themselves too and also as leaders.

That is one of the reasons why I write OC in my stories.

Beth

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It depends on the fandom, for me. I only read fanfics based on games I've played, and I prefer them to be fairly consistent with the way the game set-up without going so far as to be a complete rewrite. If it's based on something like Tales of Symphonia, where there's a fixed number of characters, a set leader and you don't create a player character, it feels like a self-indulgent intrusion suddenly having a new one turn up just so they can smooch their favourite character.

If it's based on a game like Hordes of the Underdark it's a different scenario. There you create the player character and have a strictly limited number of henchmen, one of whom (possibly two with if it's a male character) has the potential to romance your character. In that case, I fully expect to see an OC in a fanfic related to that game and it doesn't come across as jarring - I'll evaluate it from there based on how they portray that character. The story would have to be changed pretty radically to avoid that scenario since the player character is really set up as entirely central to the story. Same with Neverwinter Nights 2, only there are more companions around.

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Guest Crysthala

Generally speaking, I don't do OCs in fanfiction, except for villains or random people to cause humorous situations. My villains can be either mysterious or really, really in-depth, although I prefer the former. If I start getting into the heads of the more twisted ones, I start wanting to hide from my hard drive, and that is never good for a fanfiction. :D With original stuff, though, I don't mind getting into the villain's heads as much, usually because that is generally the point of the story, and I enjoy making crazy-detailed backgrounds for my OCs outside of fanfic way too much.

In short, with original stuff, I like to make my characters detailed so that they're more interesting for both myself and whoever's reading, but in fanfic, they're mostly there to compliment the main characters.

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Guest Agaib

If you want a place where people don't whine about original characters, may I suggest original fiction? I find it a lot more fun, and you don't have to deal with rabid fans.

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For an OC who is not a major character, I prefer not to tell his entire life story, but if I can enrich his contribution to the plot with any relevant details, I'll add them. In one story I needed a motel clerk character for a minor role and none of the canon characters had the appropriate personality, so I created an OC who really grew on me, as well as on a few of my readers. It wasn't important to the plot where he grew up or who his friends were, but I did enjoy throwing in little details like what he watched on TV while loafing behind the desk. In my opinion, if you can't explain why your audience must be aware of the fact that your minor-role OC bought his t-shirt at Hot Topic, you don't really need to clutter up your fanfic with that detail.

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To me, OCs are a tricky thing. Especially in fandoms with a lot of established characters, the author probably made sure that pretty much every archetype is present and that each personality is connected to the others in one way or the other, so throwing in someone completely new, it sort of breaks the tightly-knit net of personalities.

Another aspect I do often not like about OCs is inconsistencies. While a canon characters personality is more or less written in stone and is untouchable (while still open to interpretation), an OC may fluctuate so much that it becomes irritating, especially if the author writes them in different times, with different mindsets. Of course, that does not apply to all OCs and there is of course a number who is well-written, but that number is vastly overshadowed by the amount of terrible OCs.

Personally, I try to avoid them as much as possible and stick to OCs.

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For an OC who is not a major character, I prefer not to tell his entire life story, but if I can enrich his contribution to the plot with any relevant details, I'll add them. In one story I needed a motel clerk character for a minor role and none of the canon characters had the appropriate personality, so I created an OC who really grew on me, as well as on a few of my readers. It wasn't important to the plot where he grew up or who his friends were, but I did enjoy throwing in little details like what he watched on TV while loafing behind the desk.

Exactly. I find it hard to come up with OCs, but sometimes you need them. You need someone to lose his two tickets to a tropical paradise in a contest with a fandom character. You need someone to drive fandom character and his fandom girlfriend to the most romantic hotel on the island. And you need someone to spike their tequila with an aphrodisiac... :D (No, this isn't from any story I know of.)

I have a writer colleague who loves OCs. He says they're very important because they give you a fuller picture of the fandom universe than you can get from the original video game/movie/whatever.

Me, I just like pairing people off. :( And pairing fandom characters up is generally hotter than pairings with OCs, because you have actual pictures and/or video of fandom characters. It's hard to make up for that when you describe your OCs.

I like reading OCs, though. So long as they have some personality, their background is mostly relavent to the story, and they're not Mary Sues, I can dig them.

happy pairings,

The Pairing Guy

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I do think that the main characters that a fandom is built upon tend to be the reasons that people read fanfiction. I want to see continuing adventures of Kirk/Spock/McCoy, or O'Neill and Carter, or Blackadder, Baldrick and George.

So writing stories about those characters is certainly more polite than eclipsing them.

On the other hand, sometimes it's the setting that's compelling, not the characters. So a reason to WRITE fanfiction may be best expressed with an OC, because that way you can run around in that yard without getting a popular character wrong. Maybe you want to explore sex in a certain magical chamber or with a particular fantasy creature, but none of the characters already in the story would be true to themselves to participate.

I had an idea for a sequel to Land of the Giants, and i frankly couldn't use any of the canon characters. They would not be very convincing cooperating with the giant government that pursued them for so long. So i populated the stories with OCs and made a few references here and there to the others.

All in all, i think a well-written story can be made in almost any fandom, anywhere from 100% canon to 100% OC's. But no matter what you do, someone, somewhere, will interpret it as a betrayal of their favorite venue, as a violation of the purity of the original vision.

I'm not really sure why such fragile people are on sites like this one, with no oversight or purity police to keep everyone true to the vision.

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I couldn't really partake in the poll because the first part didn't allow for original stories. I assume by OC you mean OC inserted into fanfiction?

I think OC's can add a certain depth and element of creativity to a fanfiction, so long as they don't overshadow the main characters. I think creating a story set in a fanfic universe with an OC as the main character is fine. For example: an original character in the Forgotten Realms universe who is the main focus of the story, but cameos from majoy pre-existing characters can occur if done right. People write good fiction based on their World of Warcraft characters all the time. What I don't like is when an OC is Mary-Sue'd to death and breaks up a canon couple because (s)he is so gorgeous one of the canon characters just can't resist, or when an OC is always right, always perfect and always desirable. Just as frustrating is the constant man/maiden in distress that can't take five steps without canon characters rescuing him/her (Of course, this can be hilarious and entertaining if used for satyrical/comedic purposes).

I personally tend to try and keep my OC appearances brief in fanfiction because I'm afraid of going to deep and putting too much focus on them, but I have an awful tendancy to go overboard anyhow. Others might have more restraint than I do. ^_^

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Guest Awenseth

When I decide to use on OC for one of my fictions I usually spend nearly two weeks with creating her/him and then play my new story idea throught with them. In the fic I usually don't tell to much about they backround if the situation wishes a character can ask them about something or find out a few things, but only if it is needed for the plot of the story.

I don't always put my OC's as a main character that usually only happens when I'm doing some tipe of a "Second Generation" fic when it is about this practicular generation and they adventures or I mix that up with time travel, but usually my OC's have a supporting role in the story and when it comes to pairings they not always end up with the main character. I was never to good with the description of looks, but I give my best and also try to make they prsonality so that they fit in to that world and keep a good eye on it that they don't get to powerfull each of my creations has they own strong and weak points...

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I don't have a problem with original characters. I have written a few fanfics for the Naruto fandom and have inserted OC here and there to move the story along. They are never main characters. There are enough characters in Naruto for me to use that I don't feel any need to create a character to make it a focal point of a fanfic. Typically my OC are foreign and my humble, reverent nod to a culture or region of the world.

:(

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I also think OC's work best as a background character or outsider force. It can be painfully obvious when an author inserts themselves into a story (a beloved character from a series suddenly falling in love with some mystery person we've never heard of).

I do think though that an OC can lead a main story, but since it;s fan fiction, they must not be allowed to out shine the characters from the series that the author is emulating. Hence I always find villainous characters to be easy to place in a fan fic, because they are acting as an invading force in a familar setting.

As far as OC's being in fan fiction? Let's be honest, it's inevitable.

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I avoid using OCs most of the time, but that's only if I'm writing about a canon character or a canonxcanon pairing. Most of the time I just add OCs so they can be tools for me to smoothe the storyline along a bit. However, if we're talking OCxcanon pairing or something of the sorts, I'd probably go with the OC being the main character or supporting character. Usually when people feel like reading those, they put themselves in the OCs place. In any case, I love OCs, just as long as they're not self-inserts, reader-inserts (Read: ___-chan, or as I read them, blank-chans.) or Mary Sues. I also love OCs that aren't too typical.

But that's just me, of course. Development is key, that is all.

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The main bulk of my work is original fiction, so obviously that means well-crafted, researched and believable characters. I don't so much as start an outline until I know enough to write on the subject I want to explore.

In the event that I do choose to work with a fandom, my tendency is to create original characters and pair them with canon characters about which somewhat less is known, or who are tertiary to the storyline. An example would be writing a Potter fic in which one of my 'originals' interacts with someone like Blaise Zabini or even Gregory Goyle. I also shy away from insertion into things which the original author has already explored. Gregory Goyle survived past Book 7, for instance; the idea I am knocking around is what he does to redeem himself after all the bodies are hauled away.

The writing of Mary Sues/Gary Stu's is a part of the learning process. Most writers go through a stage where they need to make this mistake in order to learn how not to write. One thing that absolutely pisses me off, though, is the immediate assumption that all original characters are Mary Sues—and I have been in places especially in Potter fandom where that has very much been the case. Between this and what I call the 'Rabid Slashers', I keep most of my Potter fics private. ('Rabid Slashers' are people that ridicule anything that is not a same-sex pairing, and/or that includes any original female character, regardless of whether she is with a favorite of theirs or not.)

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I've said this in another post regarding OCs, but I really don't understand the hatred toward them. I have several (as of yet unposted) stories about HP fanfics that include OCs. The only thing I can figure regarding the blatent hatred toward OCs (especially female) in HP fandom is that if they're paired with SS, so many people prefer (whether right or wrong) Hermione in an OFC's place that they won't even give a good OC a chance. I have two stories (one I think is better than the other) that I've been working on and off on, and they both have OFCs as the main heroine. I wish people would give OCs more of a chance. I don't know what a Mary Sue is. I just know that I try to write good, complex stories that are a bit on the angsty side. One of my favorite stories that I'm writing is an Gregory Goyle/OFC - SS/OFC with a side pairing of DM/HG. Granted, my GG is quite OOC in the fact that I've made him sensitive and intelligent, lol, but I think it's one of my better fics and his personality in this fic works well. Now, if I could just get on to finishing it, I'd be a very happy writer!

Anyway, I have no problem with OCs as main characters if they're paired with a Canon character, and the story is well-written. Sometimes I prefer OC stories and especially in the HP fandom, I wish there were more stories that had them.

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