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Thread: Discussions - Part One

  1. #11
    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.

  2. #12
    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.

  3. #13
    To me, fanfiction should be used to explore the possibilities and put your own spin on it, rather than trying to write Book 7. That said, I think OCs can be a wonderful asset to fanfiction, when used correctly. I think before creating an OC, an author should ask themselves, what exactly is the purpose of this OC? What can s/he add to the story? In fact, in several cases an OC isn't even necessary; there are several Canon footnotes, those faceless names we only hear about in passing; why not use one of them instead?

    A lot of fanfiction authors - newbies and veterans alike - dream of one day writing a bestselling novel. They see fanfic as a way to use their character for the time being; to get them out of their head and onto the paper before inspiration is lost. And there's nothing wrong with that - so long as they remember that this is fan fiction.

  4. #14
    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.

  5. #15
    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?
    I think part of it is because everyone has an OC and some authors make them so that they can brag about their OCs too and don't feel left out. I think rather than OCs being the fad I think that the plots that they are put into are fads and the OCs are merely a way to fit the plot needs.

    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?
    I love OCs. REPHRASE: I like well written OCs that are used correctly in a good, solid plots.

    Some good reasons to have OCs are:

    ~To fit plot needs, like if you have a plot that just wouldn't work with canon characters
    ~ To be filler characters, like in Marauder fics, OCs are a good way to fill spaces left in the books like as Lily's friends and innocent bystanders that fall prey to James and Sirius' pranks

    There are more than that but you see that OCs are versitle in they ways they can be used in stories. I don't like it when authors make OCs that are just like themselves so they can write themselves paired up with their favorite HP character. OCs are a way to express yourself and grow in your writing by using familar worlds and universes, they are not to write crappy fan girl romance fics with no plot.

    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?
    It depends. There are certainly alot of them, some stories have more than I think necessary, but can you ever have to many OCs? I think there is a healthy amount per story and per author for the time being.

    In my opinion is doesn't defeat the purpose of fan fiction becasue fan fiction is merely a way to learn to write and grow to love your writing in a safe, pre-constructed enviroment. OCs in fan fiction are a great way for authors to learn to make realistic characters before they are unleashed on original plot bunny.

    [Also if this post makes no sense it's because I am making a crappy attempt to multi-task. ]

  6. #16
    I think in many ways you need OC's in fan-fiction; there are just too many holes that need to be explored, too many views that the canon characters can't fill. I know I like experimenting with this lovely world JK has given us, and sometimes canon characters are too restricted by what has happened before to fully explore. Also, there are people you hear about but don't have faces or even names in canon. That's where OC's come in; they fill in that gap where a person should be.

    That being said, OC are also in every way misused. Mary and Gary-Sues, instant boy/girl-friend, and the all notorious exchange student are a few. However, I don't think in any way that OC's are a fad. I feel like almost all people who stick in an OC think it's necessary to their story. What makes it feel like a fad is the poor quality of some of them and/or the appearance to the reader that the OC is not needed. It is a crutch to use an OC where a canon character could fit perfectly...I've fallen into that trap. It's just so much easier in ways to play around with an OC than a canon character. But when you're trying show a completely different side or have someone embody a completely different idea than you could ever think the canon characters could...that's when you need an OC.

    All in all...I love OC's, as long as they're developed.

  7. #17
    See the truth of my opinion is: the sheer number of OC's in fan-fiction is insanely irritating.

    Not that I don't love certain OC's [there's a whole list of my favourites in my Meet The Mods posts, it's a little ridiculous], and not that half of my OTP's aren't made up of OC's paired with canon characters -- it's just that I really do think there are a lot of people who want 'to have an OC' just to have one, and that's ... eh. Annoying.

    My own OC started out as a minor character in my Year Seven. She had one purpose and one purpose alone. Then, I hate a plot bunny for a Lucius Malfoy story, but I needed someone to fit into it. None of the canon girls were up for it, nor were their characters likely to do such a thing as the plot bunny required. That was when I realised Siobhan was perfect for the role, and I think she planted the bunny in my mind on purpose. Since then, she's made her role in Year Seven bigger and earned herself quite a few fans. She's rather exhausting, actually.

    I don't know, though. There wasn't quite as many OC's around back when I 'created' her, and even still, I didn't really sit down and say 'oooh, I want to make my own character'. Because, all of my characters kind of just show up in my mind.

    I tend to like OC's that are necessary to the plot. No canon characters can fill the role of Maeve in Daughter of Light, of Lanette in Spirits of the Storm. And then, you have minor characters like McKee, who end up getting their own story. Which is also great, because you didn't set out to make them the star, but people got attached to them and wanted to see more.

    I guess, when you create an OC and build a plot around them to insert them into the Potterverse, it seems a little bit contrived. When ideas for characters come to you, because you want to write about what would happen if Harry's daughter knew nothing about his former life, or you want to write about a Ravenclaw descendant living in America, you want to write about the daughter of an Irish god -- then the character is already a little more real, because they came from somewhere other than thin air.

  8. #18
    Sixth Year Slytherin
    Snape's Not Evil?
    Magical Maeve's Avatar
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    May 2006
    North Yorkshire
    I'll come at this from a personal point of view first.

    I can't write Harry Potter without writing OCs. Well, I can, but I don't often, because we know most of the canon characters. And sometimes it gets repetitive. I love some of Jo's characters, and I loathe some of them. So I cherry pick and use the universe and some of her characters and create my own to go in there. Maeve is older than my fanfiction writing career, and will probably outlive it. I've played with her, tested her loyalty, her capacity for jealousy, her love, her hatreds. It's helped me as a writer, and I hope some of my readers have enyoyed the journey. The way I took book six and seven meant I needed more new characters, so I created them. I developed Narcissa into almost an OC, although we do have her background to work with.

    And a comment was made that you should stay clear of writing Harry's story with an OC taking a central role. Why? This is fanfiction. I appreciate that Harry will be the one to defeat Voldemort, and only Jo is going to write that in a way that satisfies me, I hope. *cringes at the possibility of bloodbathendwitheveryonedyingespeciallysnape* Harry actually does my head in. I hate writing him, so I've neatly sidelined him and taken the important action away and given it to others, both canon and OC. And my readers seem to like it. Harry is still there, with a huge part to play, just not as huge as the central character that he is in the books. I think this is just as valuable in terms of exploring the possibilities within fanfiction as writing canon characters.

    OCs can be terribly annoying if they are 'pretty girl here to snog Harry senseless and help him win the day'. Like any character, canon or original, if they are written flatly, they will be depressingly boring to read. If they have no past, and no real future; if they just exist within the chapters of the story, then I don't think they will appear three-dimensional.

    Do I think they are a fad? Not particularly. I think there has always been a desire to create characters. We're authors; if we didn't want to create characters of our own, well, we're not being particularly creative, are we?

    I don't think they defeat the purpose of fanfiction. We're fans and we're writing fiction based on Harry Potter. Nowhere does it say that OCs are not part of the fanfiction world. And we've met OCs in every Potter book so far - so if it's good enough for Jo, it's good enough for the rest of us.

    Characters wasted in fanfiction? Nah, I don't think so. It's a good proving ground for them. Let's an author see what works and what doesn't.

    I love good OCs and long may they continue to stretch the very elastic boundaries of fanfiction. It's a big Potterverse, and there's room for them all.

    *glares at Jenna*

    You know why.
    I'm not lost to you. You'll always be able to find me in your words. That's where I'll live on..

    The Book Thief

  9. #19
    Angel of Lily


    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.

  10. #20
    Lily Luna Lupin
    Hmm... I think that OC's are doing the same thing that JKR does. All the time, JKR adds new and interesting characters. In the sixth book, she added Slughorn, Blaise (not really added, but very minor before), and others. Adding new characters is acceptable, and, in a warped way, true to the books.

    When you asked if some OC's were wasted on fanfiction, I swear you were using through-computer-Legimency. All the OC's in the fic I'm writing may have different names, but they're all images of characters I'm writing a real, publishable story about. Someday... Anyway, I use fanfiction as an outlet to develope my characters through OC's.

    I don't think that anyone making OC's are just jumping on the bandwagon; sometimes you need a character to fit a role and nobody canon can do it. If you try to make the canon fit, it's to OOC.

    Cool discussion choice!

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