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Thread: Discussions - Part One

  1. #41
    midnight_me
    Guest
    So why the strong supply of original characters?
    They're needed for the plot. This is good, as long as they are there to do more than just make out with Harry.

    Are original characters just a fad? Something that everyone wants to have, because everyone else has one?
    I think fics that are from an OC's PoV are becoming very trendy and cliché. Everyone wants their own character to be the star. Some of these fics are well written some of them aren't. It all depends on the author.

    How do you feel about OC's?
    They're amazing if well written. I've fallen in love with some wonderful original characters. But for every good one there are about ten bad ones. If I read a fic with a badly written OC, I either stop reading, or I review and try to help the author with their characterization.

    What do you think is a good reason to have one, and when do you think an author is just hopping on the bandwagon?
    A good reason to have one is when the character serves a purpose in the fic. They have to be there for a reason. I see OCs that do absolutely nothing, and that is when the author only puts them there to have an OC in their fic.

    Is it about a plot that none of the canon characters can fit?
    I see authors that want to write stories that revolve around their own characters, but they like the setting of Hogwarts or the Wizarding World, and stick their characters there instead. I think it's more of the setting than the plot.

    Or is it about inventing a new love interest for Harry because the available ones in canon aren't satisfactory?
    This happens in a lot of clichéd fanfics. Nearly all of these characters are Mary-Sues. If you're going to write an OC that goes out with Harry then you really have to be careful. I'm already a bit skeptical if I'm reading a fic where an OC goes out with Harry, and the OC has to be really great for me to keep reading.

    Are there too many OC's?
    I don't like most fics that revolve completely around OCs with a few canon characters floating in the background. I've only read a few fics where all the OCs are well written. Once again, you have to be very careful if you do this, because in fanfics that revolve completely around OCs, characterization is everything.

    Does it defeat the purpose of fan-fiction?
    Yes and no. Like I said before, some authors want to put their own characters into the world of HP, and the fanfic hardly has any canon characters. To me, you might as well just come up with your own original fiction.

    But if you're writing a fic that isn't just about OCs then I'd say no.

    Are some OCs wasted on fan-fiction, when they could have their own original story?
    I've seen brilliant OCs that would be great in an original story, but they are also great in a fanfic.

  2. #42
    GringottsVault711
    Guest

    June Discussion I: Names

    Names.

    Yep, that's the discussion. Original Character names.

    Which ones do we see far too often? What is the difference between a name that fits and a name that doesn't? Have authors become like Hollywood celebrities-- taking liberties with names instead of sticking with something normal - something appropriate?

    Which OC's, in your opinion, have the best names and why? What are your biggest OC name pet peeves?

    Discuss.

  3. #43
    GringottsVault711
    Guest

    June Discussion I: Canon Characterisation

    Canon Characterisation.

    Broad enough for you?

    What I want to know, is how you do it? Do you find certain characters easier to write then others? Is characterisation your strength or your weakness as a writer? How do you go about characterisation -- do you reread the books and pay careful attention to their actions and dialogue, or does it come naturally to you? And what's the most difficult aspect -- the dialogue, the actions, the decisions, the relationships?

    Discuss.

  4. #44
    Fly to Dawn
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by GringottsVault711
    Names.

    Yep, that's the discussion. Original Character names.

    Which ones do we see far too often? What is the difference between a name that fits and a name that doesn't? Have authors become like Hollywood celebrities-- taking liberties with names instead of sticking with something normal - something appropriate?

    Which OC's, in your opinion, have the best names and why? What are your biggest OC name pet peeves?

    Discuss.
    My pet peeves are exotic names, like 'Turquoise Aphrodite Selena Potter' or something of that sort. I think that names need to suit the OC, to match with his/her character.

    A name that fits the character - hmmm....well, I think that, although possible, Harry wouldn't name his daughter 'Kari' or 'Anastasia', because he isn't that sort of person to give his children fancy names. He doesn't like being in the centre of attention, and he would like to live without people pointing or staring at him - so I don't think he would like his daughter to 'stand-out' because of her exotic name.

    I think that a parent's personalities can reflect a person's name. For example, I don't think that Molly Weasley would go for a wild, unique name such as 'Nymphadora' for her children - she is slightly old-fashioned, as we see in GoF when she disapproves of Bill's long hair.
    In JKR's official site, she said that Hermione's surname was 'Puckle', but she changed it because it was too silly and frivolious. I think that this example shows us that a name has to suit the character.

    Which names suit who? I think that the most important thing to think about is parentage - what kind of people their parents are, what kind of person they want their child to be. Also, I think that names can change a person's first impression when reading - note the difference between Hermione Granger and Hermione Puckle. The latter seems less serious.

    Which OCs have the best name? Well, rooting around MNFF, a nice one I found was Olivia Abdiknot. Olivia is quite a common name, but Abdiknot is made up by the author. The balance is good, and it's a lovely name to say too!

    Another good example is Cassandra Pralent. She comes from a rich wizarding family, but finds out that she is a squib, and she goes to Hogwarts' to work with Flich as a caretaker. I think that Cassandra fits the 'rich' family, in a naivete way.

  5. #45
    Periwinkle
    Guest
    What I want to know, is how you do it? Do you find certain characters easier to write then others? Is characterisation your strength or your weakness as a writer? How do you go about characterisation -- do you reread the books and pay careful attention to their actions and dialogue, or does it come naturally to you? And what's the most difficult aspect -- the dialogue, the actions, the decisions, the relationships?
    I've always found that characterizing characters comes quite naturally to me - I don't have much trouble with it. During the prewriting, I keep my plot and characters seperate, and when I write the story I intertwine them together. For example, if I'm working on an angsty fic that features angry!Hermione, I have her feeling livid, but not to the point where it would be OOC for her. Characterization has always been a strength for me - I know when to stop and tone it down.

    But then, of course, comes the odd character or two, and I just have to sit and stare at the paper. Characters that I find hard to write are Ron, Harry, Voldemort, Dumbledore, Wormtail and a few others. Each character has their own complexity, but for some reason, the ones I have trouble writing become even more complex. So, when I have trouble with characterization, I usually quit Word, and read some good fics that feature the characters. Or I lug out the books and reread parts, so I'll have a better understanding of how to go about writing a character.

    I don't have much difficulty with relationships nor decisions. But dialogue and actions are the main aspects that I worry about the most. For the most part, it's easy to decide if Draco does this or Snape does that, but other times I have to stop and think about it.

  6. #46
    littleWoNdErFuL
    Guest
    I really dislike Serena or Selena or any variation of that name. It's just...gah. Bad things come to mind whenever I hear that name. I agree with Fly to Dawn about names fitting characters. The name has to fit with the character in some way. It doesn't have to be meaning or something symbolic like that, but you can always just tell when a character has a name that just fits with them.

    I think there is a big difference between "different" names and just plain outrageous ones. We know witches and wizards sometimes name their children what can be called different names, such as Albus, Sirius, and Bellatrix, but they also name them "normal" names, like Ron and Ernie and Harry. But the different names often have background to them, such as meanings or are old English, Greek, etc. Then there is what I think are the more outrageous names, the ones that you wouldn't see anywhere in the Wizarding world. These are the Kaci Serendipity's and (this is a real name from a fic I read a while ago on another site) Æna Sullen's. They are out of place and not a name you would hear.

    I think that if you want to give your character a different sounding name, study the names that are already canon and use them as guids to what you might want to name your character.

    Sometimes I think that when authors give their OC a really outlandish name it's an attempt to make them special in some way. Like, giving them a really odd and pretty name will make them seem really important and different. It's a turn-off to me when a character has such a name. I would much rather read a character who has a more classic different name rather than one with a just plain silly one.

    I also think that names fit the parentage of a witch/wizard. Wealthier or pureblood families might be more prone to using those old sounding names, while half-bloods and Muggleborns might have more of what we think are normal sounding names.

    I really love Purplemage's OC's name, Ariel Sachs. Ariel is used as a boy's name, and the name really fits his character.

  7. #47
    wandaXmaximoff
    Guest
    I agree, looking at their family is a huge help when thinking of a name for an O.C.
    The name origin information on mugglenet and H.P lexicon are also really helpful along with this thread.

    For example, if Harry and Ginny had a daughter, they would probably name her after a past monarch, as most of the Weasleys are named after monarchs and Harry is an old English name. Names like Victoria, Elizabeth or Mary would be appropriate for Harry and Ginny's daughter.

    You also have to be carful not to use American names (unless of course the O.C is American) or names that are not appropriate to the O.C's timeline.

    I had real problems thinking of a name for Lucius Malfoy' mother. His father's name is Abraxas, so I wanted a name connected to that. I researched the name Abraxas, to see if the character he was based on had a wife. I found nothing useful, so decided on a Latin name, as the Malfoys seem to have Latin names. I decided on Camilla, because it meant "servant for the temple; attendant at a religious service; attendant at a sacrifice" ( source ). I thought it was appropriate because in a way pure-blood mainia is like a religion and also I think in the wizarding aristocracy woman would be sevants to their husbands.

    I think it is very important to concider family history, wizarding history and the O.C's personality when picking a name.

  8. #48
    princesskate
    Guest
    I always hate it when I read a Marauder-Era or a Next generation fic and all the last names are the same as they were in Harry's day. There's often times as Lisa Chang or a Daniel Goyle. It really ticks me off because it makes the wizarding world seem extremely small and shows that the author does not have much of an imagination.

    What annoys me the most, though, is when people name Harry's kids after the Marauders and Lily. I agree with you on Harry's kids having normal names, though not too modern, such as Caroline or Nate. But, if Harry does marry Ginny, I can see Ginny wanting to give her kids some unusual names.

  9. #49
    mooncalf
    Guest
    Characterisation isn't something I have a big problem with. I find Hermione the easiest to write, but then again like many people I can identify with a lot of her character. I hate writing Harry. He always seems to be either completely silent or screaming at people in my fics. However, I'm forcing myself to write more with him as normal as I can make him. Ron is someone else I have problems with; it's hard to write a character who is intelligent but incredibly stupid over some things at the same time.

    I write a lot with Draco, and keeping him canon is a big concern, because it's so easy just yto let him be nice or else a 2-D nasty. The hardest task in writing I've found in my fic is trying to keep his character realistic and not go overboard with the memory-loss, while trying to retain some of his former characteristics such as vanity. I read the parts in the books with him in them to try to get an insight into how his mind works.

    That's why I think Harry is hardest to write: we already know how his mind works, so there's no creative license. Whereas with Hermione or any other character, the difference in writing style with JK Rowling doesn't stand out so much because you're writing from an entirely different perspective.

    I find dialogue the most difficult. The way a character talks says so much about their character. Using a non-HP example, in To Kill a Mockingbird, the children use colloqualisms, Atticus uses legal jargon, the Ewells use coarse language and so on and so forth. i find it difficult to give each character an individual voice, but it's something that needs work and time dedication.

  10. #50
    the nutty imp
    Guest
    I find it easy to write the Weasley Twins, maybe because I can relate to these mischievous twosome. I find it easy to write characters who are confident ans self-assured. Not surprising I find it difficult to write and relate to those who aren't; Neville Longbottom for example.

    For characters that I'm not used to (especially minor characters) I usually read their dialogues to get a feel of the character before I write them. This is what I did for Viktor Krum - mostly also to get the accent right.

    In characterization, you have to gain a grasp of that character's voice. I mean write his/her dialogue well enough that the reader can discern it's that specific character speaking even without the crutch of those modifiers.

    e.g. The Twin's witty exchanges, the way they sometimes finish each other's sentence and think at the same wave length; Sirius Black's air of arrogance; Viktor Krum's silent and gruff manner...

    I believe the key to characterization id the choice of dialogue. Dialogue is that which makes a character come alive.

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