Original characters are difficult. Some people like them, but others view them with dread, both as writers and readers. However, they are often necessary prior to Trio Era, because we just don’t have enough canon names or characters to flesh out narratives with.
Here are a few important things to remember about original characters:
The first challenge is to make the character fit into the Potter Universe. There has to be a reason why this character is there, and not in our world.
The second worry is self-insertion, as placing yourself in a story is usually of more interest to yourself then the reader, and you need to be wary of this.
Thirdly, there is interaction with canon characters. In interacting with canon characters, you need to make sure you don’t change them to suit the original character you have created, but instead to follow in their own characterisation and complement your original characterisation.
The final one, and perhaps most important, is to avoid writing Mary-Sues and Gary Stus. Perfect people are dull to read about. Likewise, an Anti-Mary-Sue given a tragic backstory merely to shock, is dull to read about. Imperfections are realistic, and flesh out characterisation. Do not be afraid of them.
I am away until the 28th of August. I did not realise this when I started the challenge, and so am very sorry. But as before, anything Jess/ToBeOrNotToBeAmazingAndWise says, goes.
And now for prompts....
The Lyric Prompt
Break some bread
The nights been blessed
With an never-endingness
End come too soon
End Come Too Soon, Wild Beasts.
This is a song about endings, which usually mean the beginning of something new, as well as the end. Your original character has to be undergoing an ending of some sort, and your characterisation should be about what they are experiencing and how the ending unfolds.
This one-shot has to be set at Hogwarts. While your character does not have to be a student, there has to be a logical reason for why they are at Hogwarts if they are not, either as a teacher, the parent of a student, a governor, or some other role. This should be clear within your story.
The Holiday Gone Wrong Prompt:
Your story has to be set in August and the weather has to be abnormal (whether abnormally hot or abnormally cold or some other way, it’s up to you). Bear in mind that this is abnormal in relation to the norm for the place where your story is set i.e if you set it on an Antipodean Opaleye Reserve in New Zealand, you will have to know what the normal weather is there in August.
For this story, your OC will be on holiday with at least one canon character and something has to go wrong. This can be as simple as arriving at the hotel and finding the room has been double booked, or far more complicated. What is important, is that your OC is characterised by the way they react (or do not react) to the situation they are confronted with, and the way they react with any other canon or original characters they might be with.
Fairy Tale Prompt:
Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.
Tremendous Trifles, GK Chesterton
For this prompt you can either use Muggle fairytales, folktales of any culture, or one from The Tales of Beedle the Bard. These stories are important parts of the childhood of people all over the world. They have a moralistic aspect, which can be your starting point, or you can use a motif from the fairy tale within your story. However, it should be clear which fairy tale you have used and how it relates to your story. If it is an obscurer tale, then I love fairy tales and so would be happy to read the original as long as you mention it in the summary, in order to see how it relates to your one-shot. If you want a more obscure fairy tale, then the surlalune website is very helpful archive.
The Shipping Prompt:
This is both the simplest and the hardest prompt. Your Original Character must have a relationship with a minor or major canon character. By relationship, I mean they must at least kiss. Whether this comes from friendship, hatred, is aborted after they touch lips, carries on into friendship, hatred or a loving and fulfilling relationship on both sides is entirely up to you. The two characters must start the story not in a relationship, however they can end it in whichever way you choose.
By ‘start’ I mean start of the chronology of your story i.e you can flashback to them not being in a relationship while they are in it/ out of it.
Be very careful with this one. An OC designed to be ‘the perfect partner’ to a canon character is almost doomed to fail. No one’s perfect. Further, your OC must exist as a character is his/her own right, and not merely as a foil to the canon character.
To help with this, the story must be told from the Original Character’s point of view (but in first, second or third person is your choice).
Please bear in mind that this prompt is not the only one where your character can be shipped with a canon character i.e if you choose prompt 1, 2 or 3 there is nothing stopping you from shipping your OC with a canon character. However if you choose prompt 4, then this has to be the focal point of the story.
And with that, go forth and write! I look forward to reading your entries and hope this is an enjoyable end to what has been for me a very interesting and enjoyable challenge.
As said before, I am away most of August. Jess/ ToBeOrNotToBeExcellent will answer any questions you might have, and what she says, goes. I will be here to lock it come the end of August, however.