Discussion Real vs. OC

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

?

Stories about Luke and the Gang or Original Characters?

Real Characters 4 vote(s) 22.2%
Original Characters 14 vote(s) 77.8%
Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade
  1. moosemousse CR - FF:UK South

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2004
    star 6
    I've just realised something interesting. When it comes to published works, I will read any number of books to catch up. Take the Song of Ice and Fire, I have all the books and they are huge. The same goes for the Sharpe books, the Bond books, and the Tru Blood books. The difference with these though is that there's a definite starting point. I think it'd help if writers do an index in the opening post of their fics, like how novels have the books in the series in the front. It'd be as easy as clicking a link to get to the beginning.
    jcgoble3 likes this.
  2. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 7
    I enjoy OCs blended with canon characters reading or writing. In the stuff I write, I do concentrate on canon, just because they are well-established. If I like an OC enough in a fic I'm reading, :* eventually they come to feel like canon characters. They fit. :cool:
  3. Jedi_Lover Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    I know I mentioned all of the fanfics that led up to my current stories and say the links are in my signature. Since I have too many stories I can't put all the links in my signature so I post all my stories at FFN and use that site as an archive. Their site doesn't have the social aspect as TFN, but they are better at cataloging and searching for stories. I wish there was a similar system here. It would be nice to have an index pinned to the top with a list of authors and links to their stories. The trouble with this is a somebody would have to keep that thread updated.
    Last edited by Jedi_Lover, Jan 25, 2014
    JediDingo likes this.
  4. moosemousse CR - FF:UK South

    Chapter Rep
    Member Since:
    Oct 3, 2004
    star 6
    It'd also be very long. Lazy had a database of fics but I don't know what happened to that.
  5. Ewok_Slayer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 24, 2004
    star 2
    It would be less long if only active writers are on the list. Meaning the database caretaker doesn't do the research, but the writers supply the caretaker with a list of their fanfics with all the links.

    I am writing a journal with canon characters but most people don't know the characters (Jax Pavan, Den Dhur and I-Five) so it is like writing OCs when it comes to providing background information. It is a lot harder than writing a L/M story.
    Last edited by Ewok_Slayer, Jan 25, 2014
  6. MsLanna Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2005
    star 6
    There was an index like that in each era forum before the move, actually.
    What happened to those? Don't tell me the indeces have vanished in the move?

    I remember putting the little infos at the top of the first post of each story for indexing. [face_nostalgia]
  7. Ewok_Slayer Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 24, 2004
    star 2
    We still have them but most are locked and the unlocked ones have not been updated since before the move.
  8. mavjade It's so FLUFFY Fanfic & New Movies Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 10, 2005
    star 6
    Nope, they are still around but got truncated and hadn't been used in years before the move. We put out several calls to see if anyone wanted to run a new version and asked in a state of the fanfic what people thought about them, and there was no response, so we let them fall off of being stickied.

    The Prolific Authors index, I feel like was great, where authors could have one post with the links to all of their threads/stories. Unfortunately with the move, the old links don't work, but if someone wants to start a new one, that would be great.
    JediDingo likes this.
  9. Kahara Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2001
    star 4
    There is a preference among readers for canon character fiction, though I do think it's slightly overestimated by the fandom -- I know that a check of the actual stories posted and commented surprised me and challenged what I had previously believed, that only canon fics got comments on any regular basis. Canon romance definitely leads the way, but when you look at what is actually receiving the most comments you find a mix of different things.

    Canon character fics are not a unified block. Some feature only major canon characters, some also include minor canons (some of which are so minor that when put into a starring role, the fleshing-out required is much like that of an OC), and some include OC's in significant roles as well. There is also a long tradition of giving minor EU characters the spotlight (one of my all-time favorite fanfics actually is an AU narrated by Corran Horn's father, Hal Horn.)

    Interestingly enough, given the perception that it "doesn't get read" (there's some truth to that, but less than I once thought), about a quarter of the fanfic posted to the boards seems to be OC-centered. If you count the stories that star canon characters but also have at least one heavily-featured OC, the number rises higher. I think there is something extremely appealing about writing OC's. Most of my work tends to be OC or minor EU based, because I really like the freedom to design large chunks of the character and their history. Canon characters can be very challenging to capture and there is more of the "would X actually say that?" worry when I'm writing them.

    My theory on why OC's are less read is that with canon characters, the bare bones of the personality is tried and tested -- you know going in that this character is likable and interesting with a proper writer -- and that canon fic gives you the further adventures of someone you already care about. With an OC, you can get anything from a fascinating, well-rounded character to something that is definitely not. I like OC's well enough to wade through the slush with glee, but not everyone does.
    Nyota's Heart, Jedi_Lover and TrakNar like this.
  10. Sith-I-5 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2002
    star 5
    I don't know about NOW, but when I first discovered SW fanfic, pre-internet days when the medium were 100 page, fan-produced, storyzines, there was a noticeable geographical divide.

    US writers were primarily canon, eg. Han, etc., and the UK writers, it was generally OCs.
  11. Ewok Poet Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2014
    star 4
    Hmmm, and the rest of us? I guess we were cooler and therefore able to write both. :p
    TrakNar and whiskers like this.
  12. whiskers Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    I've always preferred to write about original characters than I have canon ones. I don't really know why, except maybe I love that little bit more creative freedom that I get.
    Nyota's Heart and Ewok Poet like this.
  13. Ewok Poet Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2014
    star 4
    That maaaay be one of the reasons why all of your stuff is on my reading-
    list.
  14. earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    I started writing canon characters but those meeting with my OC's had me beginning on OC-centric fics
    Nyota's Heart and Ewok Poet like this.
  15. Gahmah Raan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 2, 2015
    star 1
    As far as my current story is concerned, I'm mostly OC-focused right now. Whenever I brought canon characters into the mix, they're usually not that plot relevant, they're usually dropped by reference or someone to look to as an example of history repeating itself (for example, I have Luke Skywalker - while being mission control most of the time - someone that can relate his experiences to the OC protagonist). And I'll admit, most of the canon character appearances in my story were in the first few chapters (and sometimes, I do regret that, but after reading through this thread, that might not be entirely a bad thing), and then it was almost all original characters barring Luke Skywalker.

    I didn't necessarily worry about my protagonist being a Gary Stu when the SW universe is already full of them by making sure he got an ongoing character development arc. First, he starts off inexperienced (and even some non-Force users or barely Force Sensitive can put up a fight against him) and is willing to use other technology in his battles. When he does discover an ability that could put him in Gary Stu territory (after becoming more experienced, battle-hardened and having gone through a lot of trauma), I made sure that A) it was a temporary power-up that only work under certain circumstances and he is normally not that powerful otherwise and B) said power-up is potentially corrupting and destructive if not properly mastered and thus he ends up scared to use this power most of the time.
  16. leiamoody Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2005
    star 4
    I wonder what that made us writers who happened to write both on equal terms. Geographically confused? :p

    Seriously, I noticed a similar divide in the pre-Internet era. There were more fanzines devoted to specific characters or character pairings. But even the character specific ones managed to have some interesting OC's.
    Kahara and Ewok Poet like this.
  17. Ewok Poet Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2014
    star 4
    Since I was not there at that time, can you tell me more about how it was like? :)

    *It's not that we could not receive mail during the sanctions, bet there were local fanzines and all, but I was a kid. Not that I did not write my own comics for myself...
  18. leiamoody Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2005
    star 4
    Dear Force, I'm suddenly Grandma gathering the younglings around the fire and telling them about how things were before fire was discovered. :p

    Fanzines were something you had to find out about either by going to conventions or, if you were lucky and had a bookstore that actually stocked genre magazines, by reading a list of fanzines in the back of magazines like Starlog (an American sci-fi magazine). There was a certain purity in finding out about them from conventions...which I never did, because there weren't too many conventions in my area (not any I could get to, since I was still a teenager and didn't have my license). But I did manage to find my way into a small community by finding one in the back of Starlog, and managed to find my way to a couple more fanzines through that one. (Networking fan style ;)).

    It was definitely interesting reading and writing for the zines. We were using the regular postal mail for receiving the zines and sending off stories, so patience was definitely required. Publishing a story might take months depending on the editorial standards of the person(s) running the zine, and how good you were at writing an error-free story or poem. Beta readers in your real life were VERY important, but that was dependent upon having access to a strong fan network in your area. But it wasn't that difficult to publish something in a zine as long as you stayed within the particular zines' guidelines.

    One element I was fortunate to experience was seeing a couple of the zines I wrote for make their way across the Atlantic and into Europe...even Russia. Seriously, somebody from Russia wrote a fan letter that was published in one of the zines saying they liked something I wrote for the previous issue. :DThat doesn't sound like a big deal, but this was 1991, so in the late pre-Internet era. That was huge for someone landlocked in the US.
    Findswoman, Goodwood, Kahara and 5 others like this.
  19. ekrolo2 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 17, 2014
    star 1
    I prefer reading about established characters getting put in new (put plausible) situations, although I can read something totally bat s*it if it's done well. However, from a writing perspective I think taking a real but not really well-developed character is a good in-between of these two options. Gives you the "legitimacy" of said character existing for real and enough room to develop him/her as you see fit. I mean, who's gonna complain that Falon Grey has a different personality from his tiny appearance in Battlefronts PSP game ;)
    whiskers likes this.
  20. whiskers Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    You never know. :p
    Kahara and ekrolo2 like this.
  21. Sith-I-5 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 14, 2002
    star 5
    Storyzine discovery:

    I went to a Star Wars convention in Italy, and there discovered the existence of fanzines containing fanfic from across the globe. They in turn advertised other zines, and although I think purchasing an edition and getting it sent to you through the post was about US$20, it was hard enough getting material, that I believe it had become an accepted custom that if you donated a picture or a story of your own, you would get a free copy.

    As leiamoody says, this could take months, and a lot a patience was required.

    I ran my own little club in Britain, so my own members could get their stories published bi-monthly, but the storyzines were a whole different league, and you really felt a sense of accomplishment, getting something published in one of those.

    I cannot draw to save my life, so I donated fiction, though to get a foot in the door, I found that the subject matter had to be canon in some way; rocking up as a new writer with something OC-related would get rejected and ignored. Canon, or OCs in a canon setting, got you acceptance.

    Italy had two clubs, Alliance, and Cloud City, which were staunchly Rebel, and Imperial, respectfully, so for them, fic needed to be styled for their tastes.

    Well done! =D=

    I had similar. I did an OC series, the ISB Chronicles, and the fourth one featured my agents helping Darth Vader on Cloud City. The Italian club...., 'ello, I just now twigged that the club and the story had the same name, *shrugs* anyway, they saw my piece, and with my permission, reprinted it in Italian in their own zine.
    Last edited by Sith-I-5, Apr 19, 2015
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  22. Obi-Wan21 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 27, 2002
    star 4
    OC is an amazing freedom that can offer a fresh perspective on your fan fiction, but yeah, if I'm honest, I want to see canon characters. I will very rarely read an all OC fan fiction, and that's primarily because I have no bond with them. But if I follow a story and an OC is introduced and is well integrated with the cast, then I could follow that OC into a spin-off. It's all a matter of introductions.
    Nyota's Heart likes this.
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