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Thread: Discussions - Part One

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  1. #1
    GringottsVault711
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    Discussions - Part One

    Ever notice the number of threads on Original Characters compared to the number of threads about Canon Characters? At the moment, it's at an all time high -- Severus, Sirius, Harry, Tonks, Tom Riddle and Ron have all been addressed lately.

    However, there are times when we have a couple dozen original character threads and maybe one or two canon character discussions. And if you scan through the stories on MNFF, a good chunk of them focus on original characters.

    When you think about it, it's strange. Because this is fan-fiction; we're here to write about the Potterverse and the Harry Potter characters. So why the strong supply of original characters? Are original characters just a fad? Something that everyone wants to have, because everyone else has one?

    How do you feel about OC's? What do you think is a good reason to have one, and when do you think an author is just hopping on the bandwagon? Is it about a plot that none of the canon characters can fit? Or is it about inventing a new love interest for Harry because the available ones in canon aren't satisfactory? Are there too many OC's? Does it defeat the purpose of fan-fiction? Are some OC's wasted on fan-fiction, when they could have their own original story?

    Sound off

  2. #2
    blackfoot
    Guest
    Part of it may be that some of the cannon characters are difficult to write and keep them in character. Another factor may be that it adds to a plot to see the events unfold from a new perspective. Also some plotlines require original characters to make them more believable.

    “Does it defeat the purpose of fan-fiction?” If you the story did not contain one single cannon character; minor or major, I would begin to wonder. But really it’s about borrowing Harry’s world and adding a plot to it that JKR didn’t want to use and expanding the world in little ways.

    “Are some OC's wasted on fan-fiction, when they could have their own original story?” For some it is very high possibility, but as I realized after writing a few original stories, it is much easier to borrow a pre-made world and history than it is to create one. Of course at the same time, that pre-made world and history can throw numerous money wrenches into a plot and/or setting.

    Variety is our friend. Reading about the same characters story after story can get old in a hurry. I think that is why the OC’s have become popular.

  3. #3
    Purplemage
    Guest
    As I stated in another thread I love creating OC's. It's because of my personality, since I was very small one of my hobbies has been to create characters in my mind (Yes, I was a lonely kid *sniff*)

    I think that you really challenge yourself as a writer when you create an original character, that is of course if you do it the right way. That means creating not only personalities, but a past for this person, their family, their background and a lot of other things. The more you create the character the more he/she becomes real and stays in the mind of readers. One of the biggest compliments I've had as writer was when someone told me they wanted to be best friends with my OC. In that moment I knew I had done it right.

    I think one of the reasons for creating OC's has been the small gap that JKR has left. It's true she has created many characters with very diferent personalities, backgrounds and races, but there is always something more that you can create, how about a South American character? A gay character? There are endless posibilities that we can explore and fanfiction allows us to do that.

    There are also cases when OC's are used for a bad purpouse, for example when an author wants to insert himself/herself in the HP world or the infamous Mary-Sue (let's not go there). In both cases you can see a very familiar pattern in the plots. Harry falls in love with Fantasy and they defeat Voldermort together, blah, blah, blah

    Until now I haven't read or created a single OC where I say he/she should have his/her own story. I think this is because most authors (myself included) create characters thinking of the HP world. They wouldn't be so special if you took them out of that world and insert them somewhere else.

    As a final note, I'm very pro OC and I don't think that it's just a fade. As long as people keep writing, creating plots and sets, Original Characters are going to keep coming.

  4. #4
    First Year Ravenclaw
    In the Rubble at Godric's Hollow

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    4

    OCs

    Well it's kind of like a challenge. Creating an original character means creating one from scratch. And it's fun to weave their situations with the canon events I guess. I don't know. I just love it though.

    The greatest challenge is making the character believable. Sometimes it turns out to be a Mary Sue. And no matter what at that point, the story just won't work... when I read it at least. Actually, a lot of dark/angsty ones have OCs that do that... that's odd

    I guess one reason why OCs are so popular is because you can put a bit of yourself in them. And so the OC becomes something really special. It's a nice feeling. You suddenly think you've created something that's independent of you. It has a life of its own. And there's a lot of room to make all kinds of characters.

    I wonder how many stories with an OC as a main character there are on MNFF. Anyone care to count?
    Blurb is my signature...

  5. #5
    the nutty imp
    Guest
    The problem in following 'all that is canon', you borrow the character, you borrow the world they live in - the only thing that's yours is the plot. That's why it was thought by plenty that: fanfiction was a waste of effort. You rely on the crutch too much and although it's good practice - Writing good fanfiction does not necessarily make you a good story teller. I think most people here has aspirations to becoming a writer and thus the willingness to try and create something of their own.

    The creation of an OC is a step towards improving your skills in creating a story. If an OC is well-received it shows the skills of the writer. It means he/she takes a step towards maybe becoming a writer in terms of being able to create stories, settings, and characters that is all their own.

    I don't think OCs are wasted in fanfictions, it's a stepping stone for the author to practice creating believable characters.

    As with any character, the OC should be important to the plot. Those 'shudder-worthy' OCs are usually the product of the need for self-insertion. Best OCs are the ones that flow with the plot and changes as the story moves on.

  6. #6
    AlexisTaylor
    Guest
    I actually only created an OC because I was writing a canon!year 6 story. New characters are always waltzing into JKR's world, and I made an effort to add my fair share of elements to Harry Potter as well - just one of these being McKee.

    She only got her own romance on a dare. I only wrote one-shots in order to figure out her motivations for myself.

    I would say that putting an OC in fan fiction is a bit of a crutch. I also think it's excellent experience. I found that when I stepped out of fan fiction, it took a long time for me to really develop non-HP plots and really get a grip on how to develop my own world. However, if you plan on being a serious writer, writing an OC for practice is always a good start.

  7. #7
    MithrilQuill
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by GringottsVault711
    So why the strong supply of original characters? Are original characters just a fad? Something that everyone wants to have, because everyone else has one?

    Now that you mention it, I think that, sadly, it is sort of a fad in he HP fanfic world. But that's only one of the reasons.


    I wrote OC's into my two first fics, in the first one, I really don't know why I did it...I think it had something to do with "needing it for the plot" but looking back, the plot really wasn't that great, with the OC or without. Ok, fine: the whole fic was just plain terrible. In the second one, I used my OC for one of the canon character's development, and then I found my way onto the forums and found a discussion in which one of my lovely readers vented about how terrible it was to have to read a whole fic only to be suddenly bombarded with an OC who magically converts the main character and makes them change their ways. After the initial shock and dissapointment, I looked back at my OC and I realized that if one must use them, they have to be used carefully and written well, which was something I just wasn't ready for at the moment. They're like any kind of writing tool, you have to use it well, and although they an be fun to write one mus be aware that it will be harder than writing canon characters.


    Although it is better to find a Canon character who fits the situation, sometimes it just doesn't work. As Lex mentioned, JK is constantly adding new characters to her world and fanfic can be enriched by doing the same thing. Also, as nutty pointed out, many of us aspire to be writers and many of us get plot bunnies unrelated to HP. Fanfiction is a great way to practice, and while it's nice to write about Harry and Snape and all those other canon characters OC are even better practice for moving on to original work.


    What do you think is a good reason to have one, and when do you think an author is just hopping on the bandwagon? Is it about a plot that none of the canon characters can fit?

    This is, I think, the best reason to use one. When the plot is pretty original and a canon character just doesn't fit. Also, some really good ones are the very minor characers that allow the fic to move away from Hogwarts just a little bit, and instead of the main characters not interacting at all with anyone outside the world of canon, minor OCs can be used to a really good effect.


    Does it defeat the purpose of fan-fiction?
    As interesting as it is to read all about Harry's horcrux hunt five million times, that does tend to get boring. Yes, I've stopped writing Harry except into really minor roles when it's absolutely neccessary. It just gets boring after a while. And I think Blackfoot hit it on the nail with this one, variety really is great. Of course you have to break it properly to the readers who have essentially come to read about the canon characters and want the familiarity.

    Are some OC's wasted on fan-fiction, when they could have their own original story?
    Lol...well, some of the really well-written ones might give us that feeling, but I think if the author could do it once in fanfic they can pull off an even better character in original fics later on.


    I think the coolest fics, though, are the ones that bring a really really minor characer and provide a lovely backsory for them. I almost cried when reading about the Prewett twins in Forever Alive by Mordred and I absolutely loved Ksenia's Fenwick in The Story Behind Advice. They take us beyond Harry and Ginny and all the rest and still have that sense of familiarity.

  8. #8
    cherryandphoenixfeather
    Guest
    Personally, I believe that OCs introduce an author in a more personal way into the 'Verse--rather than dealing with characters someone else created and everything about them, you can shape a character to what you will it to be. I do not believe that they are a fad. OCs give you a blank slate to work with, one that you can delve into. I create OCs sometimes just because it's fun to build a human being from the ground up.

    I love OCs, but they must be real people, not fabrications that are obviously meant as perfect replicas of the author, plus good looks, talent, and platoons of attractive members of the opposite sex lusting after them.

    A good reason to have an OC is when no canon character can fill the place that the OC will have. Another good reason is to show canon events from someone else's point of view, other than Harry's or the trio's or whoever.

    Yes, writing an OC just as a love interest is fairly common, but that can be remedied by giving the OC a legitimate history and personality, and fitting them into the story elsewhere.

    OCs don't defeat the purpose of fanfiction, they add to the purpose of fanfiction. Fanfiction is just that--fiction written by fans. I don't really think that anything can defeat the purpose of fanfiction--however you write it, it shows an author's views on the fandom, thus making it fan's fiction.

    I don't believe that an OC could be wasted in fanfiction--a great character should be comfortable (and writable, to the author) in or out of fanfiction.

  9. #9
    Vorona
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by GringottsVault711
    How do you feel about OC's? What do you think is a good reason to have one, and when do you think an author is just hopping on the bandwagon? Is it about a plot that none of the canon characters can fit? Or is it about inventing a new love interest for Harry because the available ones in canon aren't satisfactory? Are there too many OC's?
    I feel about OCs the same way that I feel about characters in original works of fiction. That is, if they truly fit into the story, I don't see any reason for there not to be one, but if they don't fit in the universe or the story, they shouldn't be there. I don't the reason for having one matters in the first place so much as how they work in the finished product. For example, if someone chooses to do a challenge piece, they're accepting a number of external restraints, and doing it, to some extent, for someone else. But just because they are doing something for someone else doesn't mean that they can't make it work. Personally, I haven't read a lot of stories with OCs, and I would like to see more, because I think they have enormous potential for giving a new perspective on the Harry Potter universe and the Harry Potter stories and characters.

    Does it defeat the purpose of fan-fiction?
    Well, that depends on what the purpose of fan fiction is, really. You give this reason:

    Because this is fan-fiction; we're here to write about the Potterverse and the Harry Potter characters
    ,

    but I'm not sure I agree. I don't think it's so much to write about the Potterverse and the Harry Potter characters, but more to explore the Potterverse, with or without the canon characters. Presumably, this magic works all over the world. I'd love to see people write about Australian witches and wizards and create their own schools, etc. That would naturally involve only original characters, unless there was a really good reason for Harry and company to show up. I'd also really like to see a story centered around a Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff. I think the further you get from strict canon, the more possibilities open up. One of the reasons I write fan fiction is precisely that: to imagine the things that J. K. Rowling might never write herself. To imagine the dark shadows that don't make it into the light of print. So, naturally, I think that original characters enhance the purpose of fan fiction, rather than defeating it.

    Are some OC's wasted on fan-fiction, when they could have their own original story?
    Oh, you can take any character and tweak them to put them in an original story (provided they are your character to do that with). I know people who've done lots of roleplaying, and you can rearrange some of the attributes of the roleplayed character to fit into an original work. You could do the same with original characters in the Harry Potter universe. But if the story you want to tell is a Harry Potter story, well, then naturally, you need to put them in the Harry Potter universe. All writing is good practice - even if they're already in fan fiction, there's no reason you couldn't change the name slightly and stick them in an original work. Similarly, you could take a character you wrote in an original story and stick it in the Harry Potter universe -- making the appropriate changes, of course.

  10. #10
    First Year Gryffindor
    In the Cupboard Under the Stairs

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    Sitting in a corner writing suspiciously.
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    OC's

    I think the importance of the O.C depends on the fic, like if you were to write post-hogwarts fic writing OC Harry's kids would be fine or if you were writing a marauder era or Lily/James fic it would make sense for Lily to have some OC friends unless you see her as a total loner, but if you were to add an OC like the perfectly beautiful, clever, talented, popular daughter of Madam Malkin for no reason whatsoever or just to say two words that completely irrelevent to the plot then there would be no point in having that OC. A well rounded OC that fit with the plot is fine, its only when you add a Little Miss Perfect or a Mr Amazing OC that makes having OC's seem like a bad thing.

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