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Thread: Discussions - Part One

  1. #141
    atkarid
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    If you avoid trying too hard... I think that'll eliminate one of the major causes of OOC-ness.
    That's. So. True.

    That also might be why humor fics are usually rejected beucase of OOCness. It's pretty easy to try too hard with humor. Anyways...

    With minor characters, I find that they're also easily made OOC. Even if we don't know much about them, I find that when I read a fic that's not written very well, the characters just seem a bit OOC to me. But that's probably just me..

    Forcing characters into a situation that wasn't designed for them results in OOC, whereas crafting the story around the characters will be a lot smoother for everyone - characters, readers, and the writer.
    That's also so true! There are so many ways a character can act, but compared to the different plot turns and ideas, the amount is vastly lessened. Like, a plot is more flexible than the characters, so characters should be what you revolve (some of) your plot around.

    Yet, I think it depends a bit on genre. I'm more likely to forgive an author for making a character OOC (a bit) in humor, and sometimes some general fics. But, I'd prefer real IC characters for dark/angsty and romance fics.

    I'm always going on about genres...

  2. #142
    Banannarama
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    Another thing I just thought of that rarely ever results in IC-ness: Character Makeovers.

    Example: Hermione becoming stunningly gorgeous, with her bushy hair becoming sleek and beautiful, and her chest becoming huge. This then results in boys having an increased interest in her, which THEN results in her becoming gossipy and flirty (for the sake of being flirty, too, not just for making Ron jealous) like Lavender and Parvati.

    OR

    Harry becoming an extremely buff dude because he plays Quidditch. Then, because he's so fit and hot, girls surround around him, which either a) all goes to his head so he becomes snobbish or b) he ignores because he's noble like that. Oh come on. He's a teenage boy; he might not drool over all the girls, but he won't just ignore them!

    Conclusion: Even if we have good reasons for character physical makeovers, they often end up morphing the characters' personalities more than they morph their appearance. What we anticipated to be just a small change ends up turning JKR's character into one of our own. Hey, if we really wanted Hermione to be that pretty and girly, we could have made up one of our own characters much easier, now couldn't we have?

    ~Anna

  3. #143
    Winged Artemis
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    Hmmm...

    I agree with everyone's views.

    For one thing, there are some characters of which JKR does not supply information on how one would react to what action. Like how Ron would act with a death of a close family member or friend or how Hermione acts with her parents.

    Therefore, because a writer is not familiar with the emotion of a character, they tend to soften it or over exaggerate it.

    For example, let's just say Ginny died. People don't know how to write about Ron's feelings like that. Although Ron knew Dumbledore and Sirius very well, he didn't take the blow as Harry had, who was in really close contact with Dumbledore and Sirius was his only father figure.

    However, Ron would take it quite harshly that his sister had died, right? But we don't know [i]how[i] he would react to that. So in order to make his emotions believeable, Ron is driven to become a whole different character, because you don't know what Ron would do in certain situations.

    Authors have two options - a) make up whatever happens, whether it's canon or not or b) piece together information that you're sure still might not happen.

    Therefore, I think making a character seem OOC would be acceptable in certain situations, although making false pretense about a character of which you already know how they would react in situations can make the reader - or, atleast, me - feel really distraught.

    Quote Originally Posted by Banannarama
    Even if we have good reasons for character physical makeovers, they often end up morphing the characters' personalities more than they morph their appearance.
    Well said.

    A lot of stories make Draco seem like he's some sort of hunky boy - and he might be, but many D/Hr stories, as much as I love them, usually make the two hate each other but then suddenly switch do to Draco's hot body and Hermione's curves.

    Of course, fan fiction is fan fiction, so AU fics are great and many people - myself including - do love them a lot, but a lot of times they add unecessary biographies to people, again shaping the character physically and emiotionally into their own mold.

    -Hannah

  4. #144
    Fifth Year Gryffindor
    I See Dead People... In Mirrors

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    Where does the author stand in respect to Canon?

    Conclusion: Even if we have good reasons for character physical makeovers, they often end up morphing the characters' personalities more than they morph their appearance.
    Recently, on another HP fanfiction site, I've read a fiction with a critical eye(because the writer had reviewed my story and I felt obliged to return the favour) Anyway, it was about Ginny's seventh year, and, dear, that fic is just a perfect example for what you've said about physical makeovers . I mean, Ginny is already a popular girl, she's beautiful, she plays Quidditch, etc. What's the point in pushing her too hard to make her perfect?

    This issue is closely related to Mary-Sue/Billy-Joe. Because the physical makovers, no matter how well justified (I didn't see any convincingly justified yet), are originated from the urge to create perfection. Let's be honest: how many of us are perfect like we morph the characters? Then if we're trying to write realistic stories, why should our characters be? What I'm trying to say without going off-topic is that pushing canon characters too hard sometimes result not only simply in OOC-ness, but also turning them into Mary-Sues.

    Our major flaw, is flaw. We forget - or "unintentionally" ignore giving them flaws.

    As for major characters, yes, it is harder. While respectfully sharing most of your ideas everyone, I still think that we must also give the author some place to pactice their own talent. If not, to have their fun. So far, we've generally demonstrated what we all understand from OOC, and I had my share as well. But I still think that the author, simply in the name of being the author, has the right to morph the characters to a certain degree. Where is that degree? That's the limits I tried to explain in my first post.

    Snape is a very complex canon character. While we gather tiny bits of information about him from here and there in all the six books, and while we have a rough idea about his general manners, he's still a mysterious character - there's too much we don't know about him and thus we have difficulty imagining how he would react in certain events that take place in out plot. But I think this is fun. As far as the author wanders within those little known about him, why shouldn't they own him as their own a bit? A lot of people may disagree with me about this, but I've always come to belive that once I have the pen in my hand, it is my world. Anything that comes out from the tip of my fingers is mine. Even if I'm using someone else's characters - JK in this point - I still have a kind of autonomy over them - to a certain degree, of course. Simply because they're in the tip of my pen right then, not JKRs or someone elses. Because I believe, otherwise, every single fiction we read from all different writers would not be unique as their own. What I tried to say before was that using our flexibility right is what makes it all fun and signs our name under our work. If this is the case, I don't think the canon characters' behaviour should be percieved as OOC.

    I also want to note that even over Harry, the main character, whom we know the most about, whom we (can) know better than the other canon, everyone has a different idea. Perception changes from person to person. How the canon character we use comes out is not solely dependent upon the canon, but upon the writer as well. Thus I believe there'll always be a little OOC-ness, simply because we are not JKR. (OOC-ness in this sentence is used in its general meaning; don't think I'm conflicting with what I said in the previous paragraph )
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  5. #145
    spottedcat83
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    Know thy fellow human beings.

    I have read excellent points above, and I won't re-state them. But I have always found that the more I watch people, the easier it is to keep my characters (and JKR's characters, for that matter) in character.

    You can see people with slivers of Snape-ishness at work, bits of Ron roaming the corridors of high school, and chunks of Hermione hanging around the library. No kidding. Dumbledore-ness is harder to find simply because wisdom doesn't come easily, but I can think of one person I knew who was a lot like McGonagall in many ways. (And she wouldn't have appreciated it, had I tried to explain this to her.)

    Be a people watcher. Sit at the mall and consider passers-by. Hang silently around in a coffee shop. Watch faces. Observe body language. Guess at ages, occupations, quality of relationships.

    The more you know humans and their idiosyncracies, the more fun it is to write in character. And if nothing else, you'll have fun watching people!

  6. #146
    MorganRay
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    OCC and IC

    The suggestion to people watch was a very good one, and some people just do this naturally. I don't look for characters, but I just listen and watch people. Do I understand people better? Maybe. Maybe not. My relationships with people are always messy, so I don't know if it has worked for me.

    I personally see OCC a lot in romance fics. People just want to make two people fall in love becaue they like that couple together. Okay, I am guilty of this, too, but it really does depend on the circumstances of the romance. Some romances are just out there, but this may simply be because the characters are conformed to the plot of having the two characters fall in love.

    Also, in some stories, writers try to warp a character by have a major life event make them OCC. However, when they do change, the past of that character is still there. If the past and history behind a story are kept in mind, I find the story goes a lot smoother. Now, because we have the books and canon to serve as the core history behind the Potterverse, careful reading and checking facts on the Lexicon can really help keep the history behind each individual fanfic correct. Sometimes, though, authors go outside the bounds of fact into those gray areas of time like Hermione before Hogwarts or other characters between the defeat of Voldamort and Harry coming to school. Recently, the trend has been towards post Hogwarts fics, and this is where a lot of OCC is showing in fics. This could simply be people stretching the canon to their liking, and with post hogwarts fics, it really depends on the quality of writing and plausibility of the plot that decide if a character is OCC or not.

    Point of view of the reader is also important. As previously stated, one reader can see a character as OCC, and another reader can see a character as IC in the same story. It typically depends from person to person. Also, in AU, the characters are sometimes purposefully OCC to add some psycological element to the changed canon story. In AU, the author usually has to invent part of their own history, and maybe this is why my favorite fic is AU. A great example of a writer making relationships (Harry and Draco) and some characters (most noticably Hermione) AU is Curse of the Reapers by Deanine. Also the entire world is AU, and I really respect how well this crazy plot is written, and the characters are still believable.

    Makeovers are tricky because of what we see on TV. However, having a character hate his or her new appearance would be quite the twist on the old makeover story. My AU actually involves certain characters not liking the way they look, even if they do look prettier than before. For instance, instead of Ginny liking that she has better clothes and is more beautiful for various reasons, he actually loathes her new, perfected appearance.

    In the end, it probably just comes down to the writer and what character they're writing. Some people just aren't good with writing certain characters. I can't write McGonagall. I can't grasp her personality, and I have not desire to focus a story/drabble on her. I tend to not write a lot of Harry into my stories because he is the major character, and for me, it feels like cheating to write a fic about Harry. I enjoy my creative freedom with characters that are important, but that we know less about. However, it is also much harder to write about Harry because he is the main character, and since we know his personality the best, a writer has to be very good to have a believable IC Harry.

  7. #147
    Madame Marauder
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    I think that OOCness is derived from both lack of effort and trying too hard.

    I mean, there is some OOC-ness that's just bad. The author completely ignores canon so their fic is so far gone you wonder what the heck the author was thinking when they wrote it. Snape instructing a ballet class for his Slytherins, even if it's a plot point, is so far out of character for Snape and all his Slytherins, that few authors will write like that. But it does happen, after drinking ten sodas and reading OOC fanfics or if the author is a movie fan only, or if the author argues that it's their work and JK needn't get involved with her "canon stuff".

    But, other than utter randomness, OOC-ness, like I said, is trying too hard. That's where we get the other type of OOC-ness. It's when people try to capture Harry's sadness and come up with Angsty!Harry. It's when they try to give Ron a funny scene with the twins and get Clueless!Ron. It's when they try to capture Draco in a relationship and you get SexGod!Draco. You simply go over the top.

    It happens a lot in humor and romance, but you can see it in any genre, really. In fact, for me, I think it'd be as easy to go OOC in an angst story as it is in a romance story. In angst, if someone were to write Harry a soliliquy about his life, and he kept yelling and crying and throwing things, it can become OOC just as fast as a D/Hr story. Writing is all about balance.

    To keep in-character I check my books and Lexicon. Other times, I write first, edit later. But double-checking is key, especially when you're confused.

  8. #148
    TheMadMugggle
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    Plot vs. Character

    This discussion is touching on a very troubled spot for me right now. I have come to the conclusion that in terms of usage in my writing, there is a very fine line between plot and character. They are like a circle, one fading into the other. The plot gives us the circumstances that cause character growth. But the growth is meaningless without a vivid character. Without a good plot the most vivid chatacter is meaningless due to a lack of conflict.

    All that was preamble to set up this problem that is giving me fits. In the third chap to "Triptych", I wrote a post-war story where Harry dies and Ron turns to alcohol and eventually thinks of suicide. The pain and guilt are too much. But through the plot I have a series of events that change Ron's mind about that and get him to open up to those closest to him. Alcohol and suicide are proboly OOC, but Ron discussing his feelings is DEFINETLY OOC. But it depends on the plot. IF the plot sets up a series of events that would influence the character as we know them from canon towards the growth we want for our stories, then it is IC. If not then it is OOC.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts on the subject.

  9. #149
    Third Year Gryffindor
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    When I write, the character comes first for me. The plot just sort of falls around the character. That helps me to avoid OOC. Whenever I come up with a plot first and try to add the characters into it, I find that the characters end up OOC. The thing about having the plot first is that you have sometimes manulate the characters to fit in. It is easier for me to just write a plot around a character. The character comes first, then the plot.

  10. #150
    Indigo
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    Whether or not something is OOC depends on the degree. There are some thing that a character really wouldn't do, up to a certain degree. Ron for example, wouldn't spend three months in Malfoy Manor with the entire Malfoy family there. I mean the whole extended family. But as I said before up to a certain degree.
    This is going to sound odd, but imagine an obstacle course. A really big one. With boggarts and mazes and Giant cliffs and long swims and all that. If you get through it you get a reward of some sort. (why else would you do it?)
    Now put your character (let's say, Ron) in there. And then stick whatever you want him to do (three months with the Malfoys) as an extra obstacle. You would have to change the reward in order for Ron to do this. Perhaps it is the only way he can survive? Or it's the only way to defeat the Death eaters?
    Would character X perform action Y in order to get prize Z?
    It works the other way too. The Course is very easy, and Ron gets a lot of money if he wins? Why wouldn't he? What 'obstacle' must you add?

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