Discussion Real vs. OC

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by JediDingo, Jan 24, 2014.

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Stories about Luke and the Gang or Original Characters?

Real Characters 1 vote(s) 11.1%
Original Characters 8 vote(s) 88.9%
Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade
  1. JediDingo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2005
    star 3
    One thing that I have noticed in particular with Star Wars fan fiction is that the Original Character stories aren't very popular. It seems the audience for fan fiction are much more interested in actual characters from Star Wars. To me, it really just depends on the quality of the story if I read it or not. But I like authors who want to step out and try making original characters, not relying on already created characters. So which do you prefer? Also, why do you think OC's don't seem to be as popular?
    Ceillean likes this.
  2. Jedi_Lover Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    Canon characters are more popular because the reader is more familiar with them. It takes some time to develop an OC to the point that people like them and will read. It is easier to break in an OC if that character is interacting with canon characters. You get readers who are interested in the canon characters and then eventually they learn to like the OC. My longest fanfics now involve OC characters.
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  3. Padawan Fangirl Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2013
    star 3
    I agree; it's easier to get into something you're familiar with than something new. I also think there's a fear of Mary Sues and self-insertion fics. Then there's worry of diverting from canon, or doing a totally original story in the Star Wars universe. So I'm not too surprised that Star Wars OC's aren't a big thing in the fandom.

    For me, I can enjoy either canon or OC stories as long as they're well-written and thought out. I'm going to do a slight overhaul of my own OC fic because I realized my OC was weaker than I wanted her to be. I haven't gotten a huge following on FF but all of my reviews except one have been positive, and I'm getting good traffic. There's also a girl on deviantART who's developed a good following with her own Star Wars OC.

    Sent from my stupid little astro droid using TapaTalk 2.
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  4. Jedi_Lover Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    I always hear about Mary Sue and self-insertion when discussing OCs, but aren't most SW characters Mary Sue or Gary Stu's? Anakin Skywalker is the Chosen One, Luke can walk on Lava (EU book), Thrawn is some genius strategists, Boba Fett is a mega fanboy badass, the Vong are resistant to the Force, lightsabers and just about anything a Jedi can throw at them, Jaina is the Sword of the Jedi who will eventually become Empress of the Imperial Remnant, Han marries a princess, Jacen knocks up a queen…the list goes on.

    Knowing that there are so many uber-powerful characters in the SW universe, I am somewhat forgiving when I see a Mary Sue. What people don't like is when an OC outperforms their favorite canon characters. So it is okay to have a Gary Stu OC Jedi as long as he isn't saving Luke Skywalker's butt all the time.
    Last edited by Jedi_Lover, Jan 24, 2014
  5. Goodwood Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2011
    star 4
    I prefer focusing on OCs, however it's good to be able to connect them with canon characters, especially when it comes to personal interactions. In the cases when this happens, I always strive to keep to the spirit of the canon character, especially when it comes to such things as master/student relationships and hostile encounters between an OC and a canon character. While my main OC has occasionally been called a Mary Sue, she really isn't—particularly compared to quite a number of Canon Sues (Corran Horn, Thrawn, Fett, et. al.).

    So, in answer to the question posted, I would personally prefer a mixture of canon characters and OCs, provided the author makes the effort to remain true to the source material(s).
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  6. Cushing's Admirer Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2006
    star 6
    For me it's the story and quality that counts.
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  7. Space_Wolf Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2007
    star 3
    I have always preferred writing original characters to canon ones. Why? Because I can write my own story, don't worry about having to get all the details of canon characters perfect, don't have to worry about having the story fit in with canon (though I do try to do that, most of the time) and I can write about aspects which interest me, or which have been neglected in canon. If I do write a story with a canon character in it, then it tends to be one of the minor ones. I find Star Wars to be a rich universe where people can write stories about original characters. I've also hardly ever seen the need to write stories with the main canon characters in them because (usually) the EU novels do a good job it.I also find writing Original Characters to be easier as I can make the back story anything I want it to be.

    There used to be a thriving community of writers who wrote all original character stories before the boards moved, but I've noticed that they don't seem to be around now, so I wouldn't say that they are less popular. (It has been a while since I was on here regularly...)

    I also wouldn't worry too much about your OCs being Sues and Stus, either. As long as they aren't relatives of main canon characters or romantic partners, then I find most OCs to be likeable. (And realises I'm a hypocrite with that statement considering the current Tolkien story I'm working on...).
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  8. Jedi_Lover Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    That "Usually" should be in italics and bold…and probably should be changed to 'Almost never'. Sorry, I can't stand what they did with Jacen, Anakin & Mara to name a few.
  9. TrakNar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2011
    star 5
    I tend to prefer writing existing characters, usually those who have far less literary baggage than the main characters. With secondary characters, I have more room to play around, and I can pin down their characterization better. It gives me a chance to explore these characters' lives, as they're not usually documented.

    I have a few OCs, but I don't write them often. OCs tend to be written when I need another cast member, some extras, or to fill in a few seats. Some are written because I need victims. Their sole purpose is to show up, garner attention, and then die. If I have main OCs, then they're usually in a story already populated by OCs. Otherwise, OCs are relegated to extras, guest-stars, seat-fillers, and redshirts.
  10. Katarn's Beard Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 21, 2014
    I prefer writing OC's. I write fanfiction mostly to practice character building, if I write stories in original universes I do too much world building and they read more like an encyclopedia than a novel.

    I also prefer to write "average Joe" type characters- people who really don't have much special about them.
  11. JediDingo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2005
    star 3
    Okay, most of you prefer OC...then where are all the OC fics? ;) I mostly see journals, AU, and Slash fics galore.
  12. Jedi_Lover Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    @JediDingo They're out there. I know I have two OC stories and three OC journals. The OCs are the main characters, but they do interact with canon characters. They are all AU though. I don't like what the profic authors did to the EU.

    Go to the Fanfiction forum-Before, Saga & Beyond and go to the search box in the upper right hand corner. Type in OC and click the box that says, "Search Titles Only" and hit Search. You will find plenty of stories with OCs.

    Slash fics are not allowed on this site, so I am not sure where you are looking.
    Last edited by Jedi_Lover, Jan 24, 2014
  13. mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic & New Movies Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2005
    star 5
    While I don't mind a story with OC's in it, I'm usually not the biggest fan of all OC fanfic. I read fanfic because for the most part, I want the characters I know and I want to see them in different situations.

    A good OC in a story with canon characters is great, but when I want to learn all new characters I read a new book. Fanfic for me is kinda like comfort food and all OC's don't make it that way for me.

    And Jedi_Lover's advice is the best I can give you about finding them on here... there are certainly plenty. She is also right that slash isn't allowed (except in very vague references and only with OC's) so you shouldn't be finding that here.
  14. Cushing's Admirer Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2006
    star 6
    I think one of the reasons why OC tales aren't done more is because they hardly get read. I know I co-authored one in my sole fanfic attempt.
  15. Padawan Fangirl Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2013
    star 3
    The cool thing with OCs is you can fiddle with their biographies however you like. You can make them whatever you want, so it gives you more writing freedom IMO. :)

    I'm already planning a journal for my OC's daughter for the 2015 challenge. ;) :p

    Sent from my stupid little astro droid using TapaTalk 2.
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  16. Goodwood Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2011
    star 4
    My current journal is about an original character and while it has yet to mention any canon characters, they will be mentioned briefly. Were my OC for that piece to actually meet and interact with any canon characters from the time period, given his career and rank, that would definitely put him within arm's reach of becoming a Gary Stu. But for my purposes, that's the whole point: to show a canonical event of great importance from the perspective of a lowly minion (relatively speaking, of course).
  17. K'Tai qel Letta-Tanku Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 18, 2000
    star 2
    I've always written OCs that interact with cannon characters. The cannon characters help bring readers, and they take the pressure off by giving you a stable of go-to characters that you already know. Cannon characters can be easier to write in a sense because their histories (and futures) are somewhat established. Good characters take time to develop, and even then OCs take some time to get to know as an author. I know mine have evolved over the years, becoming less Mary Sue and more flawed. I like to read stories with cannon characters, but when I write, I don't want to be constrained to them. My first experience as an author was in a round-robin where the stipulation was that you write an OC, so I have always written that way.

    My perception is that there were more OC fics when neither the EU or cannon was as extensive. There were fewer big name cannon characters to play with, so you had to write OCs to make the stories work. Also, there were more OCs when round-robins were more common. Quite often the OCs were introduced in the round-robins, found a following, and then launched on their own. Some of my favorite stories have OCs as the main characters with cannon characters as supporting cast.
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  18. Goodwood Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2011
    star 4
  19. TrakNar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2011
    star 5
    I know for a fact that Star Wars Fanon is rife with OCs. Lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of OCs.
  20. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    I write mostly OC 's and canon characters will appear. Or I do the minor characters mentioned once in a book and give them more background and development
  21. moosemousse CR - FF:UK South

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2004
    star 6
    For me it seems that canon characters is what people look for when they start looking for fan fiction. These characters are known to them from the films and the series, so they're looking for more adventures with them in. Once they're reading fan fiction then they'll probably try OCs or read some OC fics by a writer they like. One drawback of OCs is that they're built up over time and sometimes relevant bits of their backstory are missing from a fic because the writer assumes that the reader knows it. I'm not saying this happens a lot, just that it can. It'd be like watching Empire Strikes Back without watching A New Hope first.

    As to what I prefer, it really depends. I like a good OC as they vary a lot and can have some really interesting personalities or habits or backgrounds, but I'll read about canon characters as well. For me, it isn't really about who's in it (unless it's a character I don't like or it's more Luke/Mara), it's more to do with what the fic is about.
  22. Jedi_Lover Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    This is probably the biggest drawback when it comes to attracting new readers. I am now working on a story that surrounds an OC this is the grandson of the original OC I created. It is hard to regurgitate the key plot points from the five fanfics that came earlier that covered the life of this character's father and grandfather. For the people who are following the series of fanfics it makes sense, but I don't know many new readers who are willing to read 400,000 words of previous fanfics to understand my current story. I try to write it so everybody can understand but it is hard. What I usually need to do is have another character come into the fanfic that is just as clueless so the main character can explain the situation.
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
  23. MsLanna Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2005
    star 6
    I like a mix. OCs in a good story with canon for background was my fave. (I kinda stopped reading, sorry.)
    I was part of the OC group back in the day™. It was great fun, but I had the feeling that who read your stories was the otehrs from the group. TI always got the impression that OCs were a side effect of fanfic.

    And it is understandable. People turn to fanfic for more material on people they love. Rarely do they look for material to expand the universe they like.

    Still, I can't deny acute (painful) nostaliga thinking back on Vadey, Luton, Ale, oqi, et.al. :(
  24. Lady_Misty Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 2007
    star 4
    I don't mind OCs but it depends on some factors.

    I have written fics with just OCs and they aren't as popular as some of my other fics. I think my fics "The Chosen One" and "Who am I?" are my most popular fics and both of them are AU or go AU after a certain point.

    I do think a fear with OCs is are they Mary Sues/Gary Stus. I worry that with a pair of my OCs are a Mary Sue and a Gary Stu. I sometimes worry when I open a fic with just OCs if they are just going to be a Sue/Stu especially if they are paired with a canon character.

    I usually use OCs as supporting characters or if I need a Healer/officer/Jedi/random citizen then I create an OC.
  25. Cushing's Admirer Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2006
    star 6
    I have to admit it's rather annoying that so many seem to assume that is what an OC is. To me, a writer ought to be able to write as they choose if it's their own chars. However, I've always fretted over fanfic. Many it seems don't even try to keep established characters in character or at least feasibly explain why they become so different. That can be frustrating.
Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade