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.