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Kei0523

You are your OC...Where do you start?

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I get that every character an author writes has a bit of themselves or their mind embodied into the characters. My thing is I could be overthinking this topic. The 5-part series that I’m writing follows 5 different OCs interacting with their respective pairing in the anime adaption of Saiyuki with all 5 OCs loosely crossing over into each other’s stories. The first story was a piece of cake, aside from a long writing hiatus. The second one is coming along nicely although I think I’m trying to do too much in a short period of time. Stories 3 and 4 have a general basic outline of each OC along with a general foundation of how those stories will play out. I’m not really a writer so this has been quite the learning journey for me, but I’ve noticed I’ve come to really know a character as I feel them out in the scenes while trying not to make them Mary Sues (a term I just came across since hopping on the forums haha). 

Stop rambling! Okay, so the meat of this question: each OC is basically the alter ego of a friend in my circle. The 5th OC, however, is my own alter ego and I am stumped as to who she is. So how do you write an embodiment of yourself as an OC if you’re not sure where to go with it? Tips or suggestions? I found that if I write down the strengths and weaknesses of a character, what makes them unique, their struggles, while some of that may still be in the story, the rest is completely out the window as I watch them interact with their environment, or as they approach a situation differently (if any of that makes sense).

I kind of have an idea about her character, but since her story will be the last I write, I haven’t put a whole lot of thought into it. I just gave her a race, a title, and a bit of an attitude but nothing too sassy. In my mind, because I don’t have much of a background for her or even an idea of how she will grow as she interacts with her respective pairing in the story, I’m afraid she may be a Mary Sue. All 4 stories, I know exactly how everything is going to play out and exactly what sort of rating to give each story but for her, because she is supposed to be my own alter ego, I see nothing. (I spent most of my early years having my alter ego be a magical girl in the Sailor Moon universe so this is new territory haha.) Perhaps I should just wait until it’s her time. So why would this be important now? I’m just not wanting to go through 4 stories and then when it’s time for story 5, if I write somewhere that she vaguely appears in another story or the other OCs recognize her from centuries ago in a previous life, I want to make sure it all fits when writing story 5 so it sounds authentic and natural. Not just random like: “oh, yeah, btw, us 4 OC’s know you too! What a coincidence lolz”. I’d like to just barely hint at her before her story. 

 

-Kei0523

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I’m not sure if I’m 100% certain what your issue is, but I’m going to try to break it down a little. 

How I avoid the Mary Sue pickle: Don’t hesitate to make the character ugly/unattractive. I don’t mean overall. This site is a haven for smut so most characters will be sexy, but every single one of their flaws shouldn’t be sexy. They shouldn’t be sexy every moment of every day. In fact, they’re sexier if they’re human, if they have something to contrast with their sexy. For example, maybe she has a bad day. Maybe she says something nasty and other characters have a hard time forgiving her. Maybe she has an ugly mole on her ass that freaks Sanzo out. Its good if she’s not perfect, and not perfect means making bad choices, lasting consequences, and sometimes turning other characters off. 

Cementing a character in my mind: Writing out the strengths and weaknesses is a good start, but I think inspiration is even better when you’re having trouble getting a clear picture. Take some time to read a book you love or listen to music or watch movies, just to find a basic personality you can pluck out and use. If you’re going with YOUR personality, find one similar to you or even drastically opposite to you that you can embellish the character with.

There are writing exercises you can do before you write this character into a story. Just to get her right in your head. Such as writing little scenes of her backstory. Or write an interview of her in script form. If you google it, I’m sure you can find a lot more. 

Good luck! 

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@CloverReef Haha Yeah, I'm not even sure what i'm looking for myself.

The character is definitely human, basically a priestess that abandoned her duties because she thought it was boring but that's about all I've got. 

It's one of those things where when writing for others, having them embodied into these OCs, I know exactly who their characters are (even if they sort of change from how i initially wanted to portray them as the story plays out), but I know exactly how i'm wanting scenes to play out.

When writing a story catered to me, my alter ego or personality, or completely have the freedom to make her to be anyone i want, I have no idea. 

 

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9 minutes ago, Kei0523 said:

@CloverReef Haha Yeah, I'm not even sure what i'm looking for myself.

The character is definitely human, basically a priestess that abandoned her duties because she thought it was boring but that's about all I've got. 

It's one of those things where when writing for others, having them embodied into these OCs, I know exactly who their characters are (even if they sort of change from how i initially wanted to portray them as the story plays out), but I know exactly how i'm wanting scenes to play out.

When writing a story catered to me, my alter ego or personality, or completely have the freedom to make her to be anyone i want, I have no idea. 

 

Sounds like you’re a little gunshy about it. Is this your first time doing an OC that’s not based on someone you know?

It should get easier after you’ve done it a few times. I’d suggest you sit down and just force yourself to write a scene or two with the character. Maybe look for writing prompts online just for random practice ideas. If you need any help, feel free to PM me. 

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54 minutes ago, Kei0523 said:

@CloverReef Haha Yeah, I'm not even sure what i'm looking for myself.

The character is definitely human, basically a priestess that abandoned her duties because she thought it was boring but that's about all I've got. 

It's one of those things where when writing for others, having them embodied into these OCs, I know exactly who their characters are (even if they sort of change from how i initially wanted to portray them as the story plays out), but I know exactly how i'm wanting scenes to play out.

When writing a story catered to me, my alter ego or personality, or completely have the freedom to make her to be anyone i want, I have no idea. 

 

When I create a character, I’ll use a bit of software to randomly select things from a list (in a file).  So, I start by creating random lists of traits, hobbies, phobias, and allergies; then sort, sift the lists until I settle on something reasonable.    Give ‘em a birthday, unless there’s a compelling story reason, I’ll roll the dice.  Then work out from there; for instance are they married?  Cheating?  Single?  With kids?  Without?  Have living family?  Occupation?  Favorite color?  etc....  A story or two is good too.  More details, the better, for a main character.  (Obviously, for a side character, or just a place holder, you don’t need as much).  An indicator of a good workup means you should be able to answer … “For their birthday, their best friend (name) gave them ______.”

I do lean a bit on the random pickers simply because I’ve had to create so many in my works, and this helps me make sure they each have something distinctively different.  I also try to write this stuff down, because even if I don’t need to know the character has a shellfish allergy today, it could come in useful later (in my particular case, I changed it to an oyster allergy, letting me get that specific character sick w/o getting everybody else sick).

At a certain point, each character does have a bit of me in it, implicitly.  However, the goal I’ve got is so that a reader can take any (mildy-complex) quotation from the story, and be able to attribute it to the proper character.

Is this perfect?  Nope.  I just hope it makes for a more interesting story.  (btw, missing limbs can also add some flavor...where’s my machete?  :)).

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For example, I needed a new (minor) character for my HP fanfic, a handful of scenes. 

“Ash”, muggleborn with black hair, blue eyes.  He’s got a fear of termites, vegetables, and toads, but loves frogs (even has one named “Kermit”).  He’s generally pessimistic and shy (but longs to be otherwise), merciful.  He’s got two older brothers named “Colbert” and “Ian”, also being raised by a single mother that’s a law firm secretary.  He thought he saw his father at King’s Cross on his way to Hogwarts; the father’s a solicitor/lawyer but also a dead beat who doesn’t even pay the child support that’s due to the mother.

While it’s unlikely I’ll explore each one of these traits in depth, they can produce some unusual reactions/behaviors.

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