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Thread: Discussions - Part Two

  1. #21
    Biscuits
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    January Discussion: Book Seven Characterization

    I think the Trio will come much closer together. They already have a very strong bond of friendship, and they are currently the only three who know about Voldemorts Horcruxes, except for Voldemort himself and possibly some Death Eaters. I think this will become important, as Harry is reluctant to tell anybody about them or about the prophecy. He didn't tell Ron and Hermione for a while about the prophecy, and only on Dumbledore's command about the Horcruxes. He also wouldn't tell McGonagall, who Dumbledore probably trusted a great deal. However, I think he will have to tell someone, sooner or later, and I can see him relying on Ron and Hermione's help a lot more.

    As for the adult characters, I don't think Molly will change a great deal from OOTP and HBP. I think she's worried a lot by the events, but trying to carry on with her life, which means caring for everybody else and aiding them in their job. She's almost like a mum to the whole Order, and but she might surprise us all in DH. She could, if anybody threatens those that she loves.

    I think the whole Weasley family will change, in fact. Percy may or may not apologise, but I can't see most of the family forgiving him any time soon. Fred and George will be forced to mature probably, they seem to have matured slightly in HBP, and I think this will carry on, but not a great deal, that would loose the idea of fun that they have.

    Romance will definiatly form a bit part of DH, so many relationships were hinted at and developed in HBP that it would be hard not to include this. Ron/Hermione, Remus/Tonks and Harry/Ginny all spring to mind, as well as Bill and Fleur. Fleur isn't going to let anything stand in the way of her and Bill! I can't see Ginny being happy at being left behind, I think she will come along for at least some of the time, she'd been through almost as much as the others and is clearly able to cope. Remus finally gave in to Tonks at the end of HBP, but, much as I like them both, I can't see it being an easy relationship, or one with a happy ending. I hope not, but that's the way it seems to be leading. Hopefully, I'll be wrong on that bit!

    The dark side. Snape has many more twists in his plotline yet, before he finally reveals who he's been truly working for at the end. I can't decide, but there'll be a lot more mystery before we find out anything. I can't see him surviving, I don't think there's anything for him to live for after the war. I hope Draco survives, I think he's been led to believe a lot of things by his father, and has been bullied into doing things he didn't want to by both Lucius and Voldemort.

  2. #22
    MissPurplePen
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    Male versus Female

    I see what you mean, SiriuslyM. Now that I think of it, I don't think I would have enjoyed HP half as much if our Harry was a Harriet.

    Personally, I love creating both female OC's and male OC's, but the difference for me lies within the narration. I'm writing an Andromeda fic right now, and my favorite part of writing it is writing about my two OC's, Will Merry and Ben Warwick, both obviously boys. I honestly don't think they're Gary-Stuish--especially not Will--but the point is that the story is not narrated by Will or Ben: it's narrated by Andromeda. So I'll create male OC's all day long, but I generally don't have that male narrate the story, just because I don't have the mind of a boy and I'm afraid of messing things up.

    Girls, though. In fanfiction and original fiction alike, my main characters are girls created by me. However, those girls are most often based on me, and I'm far from a perfect, beautiful, popular Mary-Sue. My reason for creating more girl OC's, I think (or at least making more girl OC's my main characters), is just that it is easy for me to put myself into my characters. Of course, putting myself into my characters may not always be the best thing to do, but it helps me to be involved in my story, and to really be able to write it realistically because I'm there.

    Wow, I ranted there. Sorry for the off-topicness! I tried, anyway.

    --Mariah

  3. #23
    Biscuits
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    Male versus Female

    The only OCs I've created are only mentioned, not actually involved in the action. They're only there to give the main characters some family to talk about really. They are both female though! I avoid writing OCs in fanfiction as I'm not always certain they would have a purpose, as I only really bring them in as family or previous girlfriends of the Marauders.

    I find it a lot easier to write boys as opposed to girls, the only girl I han't completely given up on writing is Tonks. They show their emotions in a very different way to girls, and while I can relate more to girly emotions (being one myself), it's much easier to write difficult scenes as a boy, for some reason.

  4. #24
    Fifth Year Gryffindor
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    Male versus Female

    I have a couple of opinions I's like to share. First of all, I have to disclaim that I never intentionally mean offence to anyone by any means. If anything I write seems rude, please kindly blame my English.

    Firstly, I hope that most of you will agree that quite a bit of fanfictions somehow invole a love affair. This way or that way; focus or not. Whether it be canon or not. Thinking within this framework, I think the tendency to create female original characters may also be deriving from the fact that majority of canon characters are male rather than female. Look at the trio: two boys and a girl. The Marauders. The Weasleys. The Gryffindor students we know of. Even the Hogwarts professors. Maybe this is not something consciously done; but the flood of female OCs into the fandom may just as well be an attempt to balance this male dominancy (numerically).

    Second, on a more general note, I agree with everyone who says that writing OCs with the same gender as the author is easier. But I believe the number of OFCs also shows that as writers, quite a bit of us prefer the easier way. I personally find trying to write a male OC a challenge and I really enjoy it. Being a girl and still writing a male, especially a male that is the same age with you, and vice versa, shows the strenght of a writer. In this context, I also want to note that most of the time, female or not, the OCs we deal with are teenagers - that is, 11 to 20. Eleven, and even twelve, can be seen as "children". From seventeen on, OCs can be considered "adult". But in between... that's the problematic part.

    You'd agree that a female's teenage years and a male's teenage years do not pass the same. Actually, they are quite different, despite the few commonalities of a much broader context. If you are a 16 year old female writer, writing a sixteen year old female character is much easier than writing a male character in the same age. That is because you exactly know how it feels to be a 16 year old girl, but you only see what it is like to be a 16 year-old male. This goes for almost every age, but I think the Hogwarts era is a bit more problematic, because of the reasons mentioned above.

    I also need to note that being able to write the opposite gender is as much about the OC's character's strenght, and the writer's ability to imagine his/her character's reactions to the events he/she corporates in his/her plot. I am a 19 year old female writer, but I find writing about Lupin really easy, and I love to think that I make a good job; because Lupin is a well defined character, and because I can easily relate the dramas of my own life to his life. To adapt this to an OC, the same thing's the case. If a male OC has a well defined character, so much as to feel as if the character's real, and if the writer can really understand and feel the necessities of situations she puts them in, then she can do a good job with a male chacater just as well as she does with a female. And vice versa.

    Now, having brought the topic to this point, I want to take a rather different twist. What about the characters that fall outside of this age range? I actually mean older than 20 (Okay, I am 19 so it's a bit higher for me). When writing about characters older than the writer herself, is it easier or more difficult to write a male OC? Because age brings experience and maturity of character with it. This would certainly make a difference. I personally have three or more female OCs in my mind, all of whom does fall within the age range I provided, but I do not intend to introduce them to the fandom. Rather, the OC that I really wish to write about is an old old male DADA professor. In this respect, and finally ending my post, how do you think the age effects the OCs having the opposite gender of the writer?
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  5. #25
    SiriuslyMental
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    Male versus Female

    Usually, if I make OCs, they are males between the ages of 8 and 20. I find it easier, as a girl, to write original boys, for some reason, and this is probably because I've got a younger brother who may as well be my twin and a sense of humour that dveloped because said younger brother wants to be a comedian. I am a very feminine person, enjoy skirts and heels, love makeup and posh dinners, and write every main OC as a boy.

    I've written about three OCs (two male, one female) older than 25. One was 26, a woman, and is in a fic of mine about young Harry. She is entirely a creation of my mind, named for a friend of mine from London (Jo), and very easy to write.

    The second is Mr Milner, Harry's teacher of the same story. He is in his early-mid thirties, dour, forboding, well-past odd, and fun to write.

    After that I've got Slattery, an annoying, greasy man who owns the Muggle convenience shop in Spinner's End (my Severitus fic, "A Serpent's Son"), Harry's adoptive parents in Boy, who have yet to be added to the story, but are in the works, a man called Frederick Boocock who will be in Boy as well, and a very small OFC playing the part of Harry's primary school teacher in first form.

    I like all ages of OCs, as older ones, when written well, tend to develop better in most fanfics than school-aged ones, especially Hogwarts students, who tend to be two-dimensional, Mary/Gary-type characters.

  6. #26
    Slytherin Mom Slytherin
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    Male versus Female

    Just to be the weird freak/odd one out, I actually have more male characters than female, if you include the super-minor ones. I just find the guys easier to write sometimes, especially because it feels like 'Mary-Sue alarms' aren't likely to go off as much in regards to male characters, because there seem to simply be less of them. So I don't really need to worry if one of them's particularly good looking or is on the Quidditch team, or plays music. At least not as much.
    Ahh, finally. This is me as well. I don't know why but I just find it easier to write male characters than females. I don't know if it stems from me growing up an only child who always wanted a brother or what!

    I have noticed that when people write out new characters, they put in a lot of themselves, or what they see themselves to be.
    My newest story, All In It's Own Time, follows four original characters. Each character is based on someone I know and one of them is based loosly on myself. The romantic in the group is male. (He was based on my 14-year-old brother in law, amusingly enough.)

    This is a fascinating discussion, by the way.
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  7. #27
    ThessalyRose
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    Male versus Female

    I have a theory about why we write fanfiction in the first place which may pertain to this discussion.

    English-speaking society (at least; I'm not familiar enough with other societies to make this call) frowns on intense displays of emotions, except in certain well-confined places and times. For instance, it's okay to jump up and down and scream in the stands at a football game, but not in a fancy restaurant. I think that for many adolescents, this creates a conflict where they find themselves filled to the rafters with violent passions and no good way to express them. Many of us, (particularly literate, intelligent, sensitive girls, but also some boys) turn to writing and fanfiction as a way to express those emotions. I bet a huge number of us -- if not all of us -- have written at least one story in which the main character represents ourselves.

    My experience is that more females do this than males, and I'm not sure if that's because men just don't have all these frustrated emotions bottled up inside or because society gives men better outlets for their passions. Or it could be that my unscientific survey just happened to include more females, because I don't know as many men well enough to ask them personal questions like that.

    Of course, I think all the other reasons mentioned here already are also factors. I don't think my theory applies to all fanfiction stories, but I suspect it applies to most of the writers, if that makes sense.

  8. #28
    Lurid
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    Male versus Female

    This is just my own interpretation, so no tomatoes, please

    Okay, so I think that there are a lot of Mary-Sues as opposed to Gary-Stus.

    Why?

    The fact is, there is a very high percentage of female writers as compared to male writers. A lot more females write fanfiction than males *shrugs*.

    I think a lot of Mary Sues might blossom from a writer's own aspirations of insecurities. If you're not pretty, or you're overweight, or you have acne, or you're reclusive -- whatever -- some people will endeavor to make a character that's "perfect".

    I think, also, a lot of Mary Sues are actually MADE to be imperfect. Think about it - A Mary-Sue doesn't have to be especially bubbly or bright. They can be the moody, dark clothing depressive types too. I think a lot of people make these characters that are near perfection, and because of the conversations about them, writers usually freak and say, "Oh no! I've got to make my character less perfect!" and they start making them stressful, they start making them weepy, humorous, silly -- they start giving them human attributes, but some authors go too far and give them too many complex emotions.

    We're human. We cry, we laugh. Sometimes we cry because we laugh. Sometimes we don't like people. Sometimes we're drawn to people, and people are drawn to us. But see that skinny girl over there in the corner with the platinum blonde hair and the fake tan? She thinks she fat. She may have problems at home. I think that some people take the universe that we write in for granted. I'm not speaking about everyone, because mate, there are some fantastic OC's out there. Really wonderful people, created out of ink and pixels on a computer screen. But sometimes, there are those 2D characters that just don't appeal to some people. I don't think they quite come under the heading of Mary-Sue, but they do come under "Under-Developed" which is ironic sometimes to the amount of characteristics applied to them -- with no background.

    The typical Gary-Sue OC you see isn't actually related to anyone in the series. One could say that he's an original fiction character, because he's so unique and so different. When creating new characters, people will draw from their own emotions and own interpretations and beliefs to voice them through these characters. It's a wonderful idea, but only so much can be said. You're 15. Your character spends at least 10,000 words on the computer screen. Can you express 15 years worth of knowledge and back story into 10,000 words? Most people don't write that much. A lot of people don't dedicate chapters to their characters, which is good. So, what some people do is they draw major times from their own lives and insert them into the character, forgetting on thing - people don't know the behind the scenes story. They don't know that they're deathly afraid of water because they were ice skating etc etc. You can say it, but most of the time, people don't express the emotion that comes with it.

    And as for drawing from what we know? Yay for Americanised characters! And characters speaking Aussie slang!

    I think also that there are so few OMCís because of the amount of people that are maleís on Joís books. Correct. I think, also, that there are few males because of the lower population of male writers in fanfiction. Also, consider the reason we consider characters to be ďMary-Sue/Gary-StuĒ. They just. Donít. Fit. In. Maybe we should look at the context and see Ė would a rebel who wears chucks and has black hair fit in? Hogwarts is a rather closed environment. We donít really see emos. We donít see cheerleaders. We see nerds versus jocks, though. Itís a school. Or course thereís that stereotype. But, being teenagers and adults in the twenty-first century, I love the versatility that some authors produce. Ariel and the Triwizard Cup is to date, my favourite Male OC abode. I like the complexity of Ariel. But, um, back on track Ė I think that there are enough OCís in fanfiction to pair our girls up with

    And, Um, this has been on my desktop for oh, 14 hours. No kidding. So, raise questions and replies squee!

  9. #29
    apollo13
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    Male versus Female

    Wow, I'm just so amazed to see an entire thread start because of something I said!
    Anyway, I agree with everything everyone's said although I do have a slight confession to make.
    I have two fics. One has Myrtle as the main character, it's for the New year Challlenge. So that doesn't count.
    Another is a Post Hogwarts fic and features Harry's three children, two boys and one girl. Although that seems okay (Boys outnumber girls) I have recently noticed I use my OFC more than the boys. I don't do this intentionally, I'm just drawn to writing her because I think she has a much more quirky personality then the boys. Maybe this is I never spent a lot of time around boys until a couple of months ago, when I was introduced into an entirely new bunch of friends. So, many of my OMC's can seem very girly (Which is one of my pet peeves!) and I have to spend a lot of time editing my chapter before I can send it off to be BETA'd.

    I am currently writing another fic which... er... has Harry's two daughters. **Very guilty face** But there are also two boy's. I'm hoping that balances it out a bit.
    These two girls are certainly NOT Mary-Sue's, though. One is autistic, the other has a plain appearance, hates Quidditch, is not very trusting, not especially bright and gets sorted into a house you really wouldn't expect. I hope that justify's (sp?) my actions and stops me from being a filthy hypocrit !

    ~Evie

  10. #30
    MorganRay
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    Male versus Female

    If Harry Potter was about a girl, I probably would never have read it, and I am a girl myself.
    See, I think the books could have been equally as interesting with a girl. I like books that are told from a female perspective, but I do read from a male perspective, also. Sometimes, the teenage male perspective annoys me, though. Harry's attitude overall in OotP irritated me to no end while I read that book. However, sometimes, I do relate to Harry. However, when I read Jane Eyre, which is one of my favorite books, I found myself relating to Jane a lot, too, but I couldn't relate with how she felt about everything in the book. For me, it's like that way with all fiction. On some issues and points, I really can relate to the author and their characters, and on some issues and points, I really can't relate to the character. Another great example of this is in New Moon, which is a female perspective romance. Now, the main character, Bella, is going through major depression. Now, on some of the ways she dealt with her depression, I could relate, but on other areas of her coping, I would have acted differently.

    It's easier to write boys because they're emotions are far less difficult to convey, and you can convey them without giving the reader a feeling of digust.
    My boyfriend and I have the girl/guy emotion and thought conversation a lot because I want to know what he's thinking, he says nothing, I ask what he's feeling, he says he doesn't know . . . But the point is, he did tell me at one point that he simply, as a person, does not think as much as I do. Then, I realized he was right, and, maybe even if I was a guy, I would still have an active mind. Also, in Western society, guys have been taught to be macho and tough. However, there are over-emotional people and people who never display their emotions in either sex.

    With displaying those emotions, it does become difficult because we think of the steryotypical girl who whines, cries, and just talks on and on about her emotions. However, my one friend is very taciturn about her emotions, and I never see her cry. However, this girl is not 'gothic' or 'emo' either. She is a normal person. Yes, she's got her talents and her quirks, but we all have those. The tendancy to overexagerate flaws or talents is typically what makes an OC bad. Also, I'd like to say that, if the fanfic is not from the OC's POV, an OC is going to seem underdeveloped or Mary-Sueish because that's the way the author wants them to come off to someone who just met them. In additon, the level of focus on the OC during the fic will determine how well we, as readers, get to know their personality.

    If a girl is Harry's twin sister, the story immediately repulses me, and I move on. Harry's twin brother might be a bit more interesting, if well written, and I will probably pop in to have a look, so the boy story gets a better chance than the one with the OFC.
    This is a great example about the girl OCs to off set guys in fiction. When there's a guy and we want to give them a sibling, what do we do? Go for balance and give him a sister! Also, the add-in brother/sister is being cliched, and for fanfic writers, it's our job to work around the cliches to create a story we are remotely satisfied with and a story that is appealing to the readers.

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