I don't usually write OC fanfiction. I only have one story that's filled with OCs, and that takes place after the days of Harry Potter, and focuses on a different character's life at Hogwarts.
With me there are two different kinds of fanfics. There are the ones that focus on JK Rowling's characters from the books, their relationships, their personalities, continuations of the original sory, etc. Then there are OC stories, that revolve around an original character, preferably without the presence of too many major characters from the original books.
The OC fic I'm writing is about a character loosely based on myself, which I have placed in the Potterverse and tried not to make into too much of a Mary-Sue, and it takes place after the Harry Potter septomology (shut up, it's a word!) is over. Although I might bring in some of the major characters of Harry Potter later on, they will have minor roles in my story.
Those are my two scents.
I have to admit that people really seem to be crazy about OCs on the forum and MNFF. I don't think there's something wrong with it, it allows writers to appropriate better the world of Harry Potter, to bring a personal touch to the story. They are not just borrowing what JKR does, they transform it, they make it their own. I think you can do that without having to create an OC, because with a new plot it's you own vision of the Potterverse that you show to readers, but OCs give a new perspective to fanfiction. One big thing about OCs is that sometimes we just can't figure out how a HP character could do what we want him or her to do, so we juste bring in someone new to fill the spot.
Personally, I have never written an OC. On MNFF, I don't have a fic yet, I'm working on it, but I wrote fanfiction before and I never felt the need to create a new character. That's what is beautiful to me about fanfiction: you come to know so well the canon characters that you don't even need to create new people. They can do whatever you want them to do, as long as you have a strong plot to make it believable. I like the canon characters so much and I feel like I could continue to explore them endlessly. Isn't it the point of doing fanfiction at the firt place? Working with the creation of JKR? I think it's perfectly fine if you want to add some of your own characters, but too much is like not enough. If it's overused, it might get annoying and you might get lost in it. We don't want to change completely the Harry Potter world, just add our little personal touch to it.
First off, fabulous discussion topic, since, as already mentioned, OC's are everywhere.
Personally, I can't do a HP fic longer than a one-shot without using an OC, or a canon character known only by name. I'm just one of those people who enjoys the creation of a new character, personality, history, etc. I've even made up several that I have never used in a fic just because it's fun.
As far as reading goes, though, I generally find myself losing interest in stories that focus on an OC, or an OC and a canon character. Unless they are very excellently written, and the plot is one that holds my attention greatly, I usually quite reading them after a while. I think that's because I normally read fics to see what writers do with canon characters that I am familiar with and love.
I don't normally use OCs as main characters in my fics, I prefer to mess around with canon characters though I do find the challenge of keeping them in character more difficult than using my own creation.
I know I said this before, but it's mixed up with other posts. Essentially, I don't think there's only one "point" to fan fiction. For me, it's exploring the possibilities that aren't and might never be actually in the books. In some cases, it can be a different perspective on a situation already written about (i.e. something from a Ravenclaw point of view). In others, it can be something that has been referred to, but not actually detailed (say, the werewolf scene). In yet others, it can be trying out a theory about the future. And in yet others, it can be an exploration of the wizarding world outside of England or what Hogwarts was like before Tom Riddle.
Originally Posted by Viv
Some of those, like the "different perspective" and exploration outside of England will naturally require original characters, unless you want to bend the characters and the plot so far as to be completely implausible. Others don't need that. So, my reason for writing fan fiction is not limited to writing about the characters and exploring them, but exploring the whole world she has created.
So far, I've worked on four different stories. I only have one original character in those four, but I'd really like to create my own wizarding school within the Harry Potter universe and write a completely original story. The only part of JKR's creation would be the way magic works, and possibly some of the major events that might be known in other places. There likely wouldn't be any canon characters if I wrote that. I still think it would qualify as fan fiction, though, because it would be happening in the Harry Potter universe. So, would that go against the "point" of fan fiction? It really depends on what the "point" is. Certainly for me, it wouldn't...
The thing is that, with the exception of Snape, it's really not the characters that I want to explore, but the setting. It's a really fascinating setting, with so many possibilities...
I wasn't saying that creating OCs goes against the purpose of fanfiction. It's just that I don't explore the universe that JKR created with them. Like you said, it depends on what the point is. Everybody has his or her own point of view of how it should or shouldn't be done. I don't mind reading OCs at all, I think that a fic like you want to do could be great with a good plot. It takes time and talent to create a good original character and I'm not sure I have the talent. So maybe that's why I don't write fanfiction like you do... But I think that when you borrow a world that somebody else has created, there's should be at least some canon characters in your story so people can have some markers...
Originally Posted by Vorona
I don't think you have to have any canon characters in a fanfiction for a story to be good or worth the time to write (or read) it. I think that stories taking place in the far future, where most canon characters are no longer alive, can also be very effective and interesting stories if they are really well written. But like I've stated elsewhere, I tend to look for fics that feature my favorite canon characters.
The usual lack of canon character threads probably has to do with all of us having read the book a couple (or twelve) times each. We all have some degree of hold on the canon characters. It starts to feel less necessary, not to even mention that any HP discussion board on the net can, will, and does discuss every canon character there is. Our OC discussions are something different here at the Beta boards.
Originally Posted by GringottsVault711
There will always be fads in fanfiction.
Originally Posted by GringottsVault711
Hypothetical Birth of a Fad: Someone comes along and writes an amazing Remus/Ginny fic. All of a sudden it's a ship with people sailing it, and other fics emerge putting the two together. They aren't necessarily as amazing as the first fic, but the movement lives on through them. Suddenly they have forty fics and a sub category at MNFF.
I'd say it is sort-of a compliment to the OC's that got people thinking about OC's and considering it as something that could be good, fun, and rewarding.
Forgive me for going there but...They are vitally necessary for the survival of sweeping AU's. Seriously. Alternate Universes let us re-cast the canon characters in new situations but often that means creating situations that no actual canon character fits in. OC's can exist for a couple of paragraphs, play their part, and never be seen again in a fanfic. I've created hundreds of OC's over the course of my fan-fic career and most of them don't linger on the canvas.
Originally Posted by GringottsVault711
I've been asked why I bother with fanfiction if I'm going to completely recreate everything and write four dozen original characters. There is a simple answer to that. I like the canon characters! If you like the canon characters, they don't ever stop shining in your story I don't think.
When OC's start causing trouble is NOT when they are too pretty, or when they're in a romance with a canon character. OC's are a problem when they pull canon characters out of character. The story becomes about the OC and everyone's character warps to accommodate the OC.
Fanfic should always respect the canon characters.
Someone mentioned MarySue. I've read all the litmus tests and the definitions, and most characters have SOME traits of a Sue. The important thing is to make a well rounded character that interacts with the universe naturally.
I seem to be unable to write the major canon characters. Harry loses motivation when I create the issues, Ron's lines are too crude, or he gets too romantic, and Hermione starts to turn into a... well, I dunno what, but its not a good thing.
So for me, OC's are the best way for me to get into the potterverse. I don't mean self-inserting fics. But by creating a character, like my main OC, Cassandra, I get to see a different side of the HP world. In cassie's case I see it through the eyes of a young squib, something we'll never see in the books because they're all from Harry's POV. By writing about Olive Horby I get to explore a side of the potter world Jo will (probably) never show us. Its like closing one eye and opening another.
But yes, there are some OC's I think would have been better off in an original story. Anything from 'Curse of the Reapers' comes to mind. And Drew from 'Everywhere Else Is Full' deserves his own talk show and pepsi endorsement deal, let alone his own non-harry potter story. But some OC's just come with harry and his friends, and that's cool too.
I suppose my problem is that my first and foremost love is original fiction. I can't seem to pull away from it completely, and if I can, I relapse. For me, fan fiction is more of a fun thing to do now and then, and being a beta is just another way I spend my time.
What I really love is real original fiction. Naturally, that seeps into a lot of my HP work.
The only thing I am fairly satisfied with is that I never branch completely away from the trio, or canon, as one might say. If I have an OC, that OC had better have a strong tie to the books, or it isn't fan fiction. You have to draw the line somewhere. As long as that's taken care of, free reign is fair game.
Awsome topic! To me Ocs are what make fanfiction personal for people. Whether it be a name or a complete person that the author knows every little detail about, it adds a personal touch to the story. Harry, Ron and Hermione (ect....) are all Jk's creations, so why can't we have a creation and just borrow Jk's world? What's the harm in that?
But sometimes, when there is a whole story centered around an OC it kind of makes the story, to me anyway, a little less than a Harry Potter fanfiction. But, thats just me.
Also, through the books we are seeing what Harry sees. Not, Ron, Hermione, Hagrid, Dumbledore, Sirius ect ... so, while you can use these characters as another POV, OCs, I think are a little more interesting to work with because you can put some of your views of what you thought of the things that went on in the book. (Not saying an self insert OC)
I don't like reading a fanfiction that centers around a OC, to me, if the Oc isn't all that great and whatnot, it isn't worth the read, unless some canon characters come into play. But, if the plot is AWSOME and the OC is AWSOME, then, yeah I'll still read it.
OCs are awsome. I have one right now, Holly Williams, she lets me explore different parts of the Potterverse that Hermione or Ron wouldn't or couldn't go. Plus, if they did, it would seem OOC and that wouldn't be good.
Wow, kinda all over the place ... sorry about that. Well, tata!!