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Thread: Discussions - Part Two

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  1. #1
    Lycanthropist
    Guest

    Discussions - Part Two

    January Discussion I: Male versus Female

    There is an abundance of fictions on MNFF focused on original characters (OCs), their relationships with canon characters, and their stories told inside JKR's magical world. The amount of romance fictions featuring female OCs is astounding, to say the least, but hardly do we ever seen a male OC romance. This is not exclusive to romance even, but to most every category and genre MNFF caters to.

    Which do you believe is easier to write: a female OC (OFC) or male OC (OMC)? Why do you believe Mary-Sues are more abundant than Gary-Stus? Do you believe that authors who are female are more prone to create and write female characters, and vice versa? Is it more difficult to establish a relationship between a female canon character and an OMC or a male canon character with an OFC (oppositely for you SSP writers out there)?

    Feel free to add any other discussion questions if you so please.

    En garde.

  2. #2
    Ron x Hermione
    Guest

    Male versus Female

    I think that writing an OC comes from deep within the writer; it's hard to make up your own character. We have all been writing Harry Potter Fan Fiction, and that is served as JKR's work. We didn't create Harry Potter, yet we still write about those characters that have already been created.

    I only have one OC, yet he's a bad guy.. so yeah. He's a guy. A girl couldn't have done the part that I had written, so yeah. (Not being prejudiced.. I'm a girl!) It just didn't make any sense. Anyway, Mary Sue fics, and Gary Sue fics, I have not yet read.. so I couldn't tell you anything about them.

    You have a very good point though.

    ~Lindsey

  3. #3
    Madame Marauder
    Guest

    Male versus Female

    The reason why I believe more OFCs are created is because we've met more males in canon than we have met females. Think about it. In Marauder Era, we've met the Marauders, Lily, Snape, and Regulus for definite characters. That's it. 6:1. male:female. So, automatically, authors try to even out those odds. James gets Lily. Remus gets a girl. Sirius gets a girl. Peter gets a girl. Severus gets a girl. Regulus gets a girl. Unfortunately, these girls tend to all be beautiful, kind, witty... Carbon copies of Lily. So to "spice them up" authors will sugar coat them and make their beauty exotic to say, "Ooh, look! This girl's special!". The authors that do that are the ones that already cliche canon characterizations.

    You see this happen for the same reason in Trio era. Jo is missing two Gryffindor girls. So, fanfic authors take liberty with them. And make the same mistakes. They want to make them true Gryffindors, so they take the good bits of Hermione, Ginny, Lavender, Parvati, and Lily and mash them into a new girl. These authors seem to want to outdo what we've seen in canon and make us say, "Oh wow, this is an amazing OC creator! They took what I liked about everyone and put it into one character!" Where's the fun in that?

    Draco and Snape wouldn't be nearly as fun to read if Jo only told us that they were intelligent and sarcastic. Harry wouldn't be nearly as fun to read, if he was interacting with SugarCoated!Draco and Undercharacterized!Snape. The same goes for interactions with OCs. If we have BeautifulSmartNiceTalented!Girl, then it seems she has no flaws, other than her perfection. That is so unreallistic. I think that an author should start with two outstanding qualities, two bad qualities, and the rest that they want should be mediocre. Depending on the story, the author can adjust this, but they can never let the outstanding far weigh out the bad. You can have a 3:1 ratio and still be believable. But if you have a 9:1 ratio, you are creating a monster.

    Enough on ratios. Speaking from experience, I've created an OFC named Kathryn. My reason for making her female is because it goes with the story. Kathryn's mum engaged her to Sirius Black when they were in Hogwarts and it causes a series of negative reactions that make her feel resentment towards Sirius. Sirius, meanwhile, has been getting more and more fed up with his family's pureblood mania and the engagement is the last straw. He runs away from home, unintentionally dishonoring Kathryn's family. He swings by her place to apologize and, in a foolish attempt, save her from a second pureblood engagement. When she refuses him, she feels guilty, realizing that Sirius is a good guy and she may have just broken both their hearts. But it's too late to apologize now. If I made her a guy, that wouldn't have worked so well, because I see the pureblood society as a very traditional, conventional society.

    I wouldn't mind creating a OMC. In fact, I have an idea for several. A werewolf in Greyback's pack named Douglas O'Rinn and Greyback's second in-command Connor Sullivan. In fact, I'm working on creating the entire werewolf pack, both males and females. It's a bit of a challenge, but I'm excited to do it. I've got strong mental images of both men and a female werewolf named Silver Lowell. *shrugs* I've no qualms about writing a male character. Same with female.

    However, I think that many other authors feel most comfortable writing from their own gender's PoV because it's what they're used to. Others like the challenge of writing only the opposite. And then there are still others who understand that the world is comprised of both male and female, and so should their stories be.

  4. #4
    apollo13
    Guest

    Male versus Female

    I desperatly hope that I'm not going to get loads of angry PM's about what I say here!

    I think that female OC's are more common because more girls (I'm not blocking out boys!! There are just more girls in my experiance) write fanfic and the OC is usually what they wish they could be - that's a Mary-Sue. They want to put themseleves into the fic but they know that self insertation is really boring so they put in a character that has all the traits that they would wish to have, plus the ones that they already have, creating a flawless character. Also, people don't usually recognise they're own flaws very well. They don't do this knowingly of course, they do it with out realising because when we read and write fiction we are trying to escape to another time, place or world - to get away from the stress of modern life.

    Although, I don't think this is the overall reason. It is just part of the reason - I still agree with both Madame Marauder and Ron x Hermione.

    /rambling

    Evie

  5. #5
    helgaandgodric
    Guest

    Male versus Female

    Personally, I have nothing against OMCs. In fact, in the favorite fic of mine that I'm writing (The Six, see my author page, one of the lovely links on my siggy, and one of the other links leads to the LJ storybook), I have six OCs of my own. 3 of them are OFCs, and 3 are OMCs.

    But I'm not trying to make them all perfect. Layla's the talkative one who has a bit of a temper, May's the shy Seer, Jack's the outspoken one, Theo's the smart-jock, Sean's the philosopher, and Air's just. . .Air. She's the narrator, and everything is seen through her eyes.

    So, since I'm a girl, I definetely agree with MadMar:

    However, I think that many other authors feel most comfortable writing from their own gender's PoV because it's what they're used to.
    Kate

  6. #6
    mooncalf
    Guest

    Male versus Female

    Well, I'll be the odd one out and say that the only OCs that I have ever used in a story were male.

    Personally, I don't find him too difficult to write. I find boys in general easier to write than girls. I think this might be because (and I'm not trying to be sexist here) boys aren't usually as open with their emotions. So with an OFC she will usually be more open, and if you're writing from her perspective she's going to talk about her feelings quite a lot. I find this rather irritating to deal with. I prefer my characters to show their feelings, and while girls do do this, they also like to talk to people about how they feel.

    As for shipping... well, I can see how this might occur. I agree with apollo13 that most authors (taking the forums as a cross-section of fanfiction writers) are female, and it's understandable that they would want to write from experience.

  7. #7
    butterflykisses
    Guest

    Male versus Female

    Quote Originally Posted by Madame Marauder
    Draco and Snape wouldn't be nearly as fun to read if Jo only told us that they were intelligent and sarcastic. Harry wouldn't be nearly as fun to read, if he was interacting with SugarCoated!Draco and Undercharacterized!Snape. The same goes for interactions with OCs. If we have BeautifulSmartNiceTalented!Girl, then it seems she has no flaws, other than her perfection. That is so unreallistic. I think that an author should start with two outstanding qualities, two bad qualities, and the rest that they want should be mediocre. Depending on the story, the author can adjust this, but they can never let the outstanding far weigh out the bad. You can have a 3:1 ratio and still be believable. But if you have a 9:1 ratio, you are creating a monster.
    I agree with pretty much everything Madame said, the only thing that kind of stuck out at me were the ratios. I've never really seen it put in this manner but now that you have it really makes sense. I wouldn't go as far to say you have to have 3 good traits for every flaw, because real people aren't like that. I think (like others have said) that when authors are writing an OC for the first time they tend to look inside themselves and since we don't usually recognize our own flaws we incorporate our good traits and throw in a random flaw or two just to "balance things out", when humans aren't really "balanced".

    Quote Originally Posted by mooncalf
    I find boys in general easier to write than girls. I think this might be because (and I'm not trying to be sexist here) boys aren't usually as open with their emotions. So with an OFC she will usually be more open, and if you're writing from her perspective she's going to talk about her feelings quite a lot. I find this rather irritating to deal with.
    In my opinion it's easier to write Females, because I'm a female and know how girls think. But I've never tried writing and OMC.
    I can see where mooncalf is coming from. Guys don't talk about their emotions, but if you're writing a Romance fic (which revolve around emotions) then eventually the author is going to have to deal with the fact that the guy is giong to have to tell the girl he likes how he feels. Emotional turmoil is a beast to write, and I feel safe writing a girl's emotional turmoil since I can relate.

  8. #8
    Skipper
    Guest

    Male versus Female

    I think apollo13 is has hit on one of (if not the) major reasons. I donít know about all fan fiction, but at least in the Harry Potter flavor, there seems to be a significant imbalance in the number of females versus the number of males. That would explain the why we see more female OCs. This inevitably leads to more Mary Sue characters.

    I believe that females are more likely to create a female OC, and vice versa. The reason is the author can relate certain feelings and reactions from personal experience. That doesnít mean that I would never create a female OC. But if I did, not being female, it might be a little harder for me to pull off (or describe) certain things. I might need to ask some one female to give me some insight of how to write certain things. If I stick to writing a male, and need to predict how he might react given a certain situation, I can probably draw on my own experiences a little easier.

    Following this logic, I think it is easier for a male writer to explain how his male OC would establish a relationship with a female canon character, especially if the story is being written from the male OCís point of view. For example, if I write a male OC and plan to have him have a relationship with Hermione, I have some background to draw on whatís going through my mind, what emotions I have, what Ö tactics Ö I might employ to get a femaleís attention. I can draw on all that for my story.

    Finally, I do firmly believe that a great deal of OCs, regardless of sex, have personality traits that can be traced directly back to the author. I donít mean to say I think OCs are all mirror images of their authors. But, I think if you were able to perform some kind of scientific study of OCs and their authors, youíd be able to see some definite similarites.

  9. #9
    Madame Marauder
    Guest

    Male versus Female

    Quote Originally Posted by butterflykisses
    I agree with pretty much everything Madame said, the only thing that kind of stuck out at me were the ratios. I've never really seen it put in this manner but now that you have it really makes sense. I wouldn't go as far to say you have to have 3 good traits for every flaw, because real people aren't like that. I think (like others have said) that when authors are writing an OC for the first time they tend to look inside themselves and since we don't usually recognize our own flaws we incorporate our good traits and throw in a random flaw or two just to "balance things out", when humans aren't really "balanced".

    Okay, I'm going to attempt to explain the ratios.

    What I meant was, when an author is writing their first OC, they should try to maintain some semblence of equillibrium, as not to create a complete "Mary Sue" or "Gary Stu". The balance is to show that your character has both good and bad traits. It doesn't need to remain balanced forever. The good can outweigh the bad or vice versa, depending on what the story calls for. I was just pointing out that authors (especially those new to creating OCs) need to understand that both good and bad make up a reallistic human being.

    Speaking of reallistic vs non-reallistic, why are there so many "missing" OFC created? Like, Dumbledore's granddaugther or Harry's sister or Voldemort's cousin? It seems that there are more females than males created. Like, you never hear about Harry's twin brother or Dumbledore's grandson or Voldemort's son. It's always daughter, sister, granddaugther. Is it female authors living out their fantasies or what?

  10. #10
    MorganRay
    Guest

    Male versus Female

    One reason I personally think that female OCs are so prevalent is because of how the readers view the female and male canon characters. There are a lot of romances and stories that pair Hermione and Ginny with many of the male canon characters. Why? This is because we, as readers, enjoy Jo's male characters. Also, for the female writers, on some level, we probably are or have been a fan girl at some point of time. So, as writers, we place the female characters in in Jo's world either with an OC or with one of the existing female characters in the series.

    Also, because Harry is a male, he might interact more with the male characters in the series. Hence, we see more of the male characters, and they are further developed to us as readers. If the book were told from Hermione's perspective, or if it was the girl that lived, we might find that the female characters would be better developed in the HP series. However, because the male characters are better developed, we tend to use them more in our fics. Hence, we tend to have the tendacy to create female OCs.

    However, as a writer, I have created my fair share of OCs. Yes, I have a couple female OCs, but I've also created several male OCs. For me, it depends on the roll that the OC plays in the fic. Maybe it also depends what genre you are writing whether or not you decide to include an OC. Romances, at least to me, tend to have the highest concentration of OCs. However, as noted in the original post, there are OCs spanning every genre of fanfic.

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