Discussion Using other Fanfic Authors OC's and Plots

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by Briannakin, Jun 20, 2013.

Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade
  1. Lady_Misty Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 2007
    star 4
    I've loaned two different pairs of OCs out to two different authors.

    Two of them are Star Wars and the other two are from Star Trek Voyager.

    As long as permission is given and those that are using them says that this/these characters belong to so-and-so who was gracious enough to allow them to use the/these characters then that is fine. As long as credit is given to the real creator that's fine with me.
  2. Admiral Volshe Winner of SWC Best Patron Award

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 8
    In reality an OC is someone's intellectual property. Someone went through the effort to create it and they should be given credit.

    That being said we're all different people and have different styles.

    I personally wouldn't mind majority of my OCs being used (I would actually love for someone to take the characters who had a one chapter cameo and build them all a story), but there are some that I have plans for, even if it's just an unpublished drabble. My only stipulation for using those OCs would be that they would have to mention me in the author's note.

    I know some authors would be extremely upset by a person using their OC, even if credit etc. were given.

    I think the bottom line is that you should always ask.

    Should a person not respond, or is MIA, (as was mentioned before) then an author should make up their own.
    We're all writers and using our creativity is in the job description.
    Last edited by Admiral Volshe, Jun 21, 2013
    pronker likes this.
  3. Jedi_Lover Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    Why take anybody's OC? Unless you are friends with the fanfic author and they know what you are going to do with their OC and they are cool with that...you should really create your own original characters. It is bad enough we are borrowing from Lucas, if we then borrow from another fanfic writer...is there anything original in the fic? I wouldn't be happy if a person used my OC (unless it is ginchy-shine) in a story of theirs because I have plans for my characters and it may not involved some slash romp in a PWP fic (it may...but I would want to write it, not somebody else) :p

    I can understand taking a minor OC with a writer's permission. If the author doesn't have any more plans for this character, then sure, if a person asks, go at it. But my totally fleshed out OC's I don't want them wandering off into some strange fanfic. :(
    Last edited by Jedi_Lover, Jun 21, 2013
  4. pronker Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 28, 2007
    star 3
    Maybe in the vastness of the internet, some OCs are doing outrageous things in some story, and I, like you, want to know about it. I'm wondering if ever I'd discover it, if the emotions would be flattered, shocked or repulsed. Also, why 'bad enough'?
  5. Jedi_Lover Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    Meaning, we are already borrowing profic characters, ships, planets, aliens, organizations and an entire wookieepedia worth of stuff created by other people...why do we also have to borrow fanfic original characters? "Bad enough" as in "Isn't it enough".
  6. Tarsier Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2005
    star 3
    Wow, I gotta say, some of these responses sound exactly like someone who who knows nothing about fanfic complaining about how awful it is. As fanfic authors I think we are always fighting against this notion that all fanfic is terribly written smut, and yet as soon as the topic of borrowing OCs (which is essentially fanfic of fanfic) comes up, we're suddenly assuming it will all be awful smut. I guess it might help some of us understand why a lot of published authors object to fanfic. My reaction to that is that just because someone writes it, that doesn't make it true. If your character (published or not) is acting out of character in someone else's fic, then it's your prerogative to declare that isn't really your character and the writer is creating nonsense.

    I completely agree that you should seek permission if possible, but I believe that if you have genuinely tried to contact the author and been unable to, and you aren't writing smut or trying to drag the OC through the mud, it should be okay to borrow an OC. (If I was Queen of the internet I would outlaw all smut and character-bashing stories, so I suppose I mention those exceptions mostly because I would object to them in any context.) That said, doing so is clearly against the TOS here, so of course don't do it here. I also don't think I would ever do it myself, but I certainly wouldn't jump all over someone for asking a question about it. If someone asked to borrow one of my OCs (not to imply that I have any worth borrowing, but if I did...), I would likely say yes, but there's a good chance I wouldn't feel the need to include their work in my own personal canon. OCs can have AUs too.

    It is bad enough we are borrowing from Lucas, if we then borrow from another fanfic writer...is there anything original in the fic?
    Are you're saying it's fine to borrow characters from one author, but if you borrow from two authors that crosses some line? I don't see how adding one more character to the mix suddenly nullifies what could be a very unique story. Maybe someone has a really great OC that is shipped with a canon character. A writer likes the ship so much they can't picture the canon character with anyone else. Is it "unoriginal" to want to explore this relationship in their own work? More "unoriginal" than the thousands of Luke/Mara or Siri/Obi-Wan fics out there?
    Iverna likes this.
  7. Jedi_Lover Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    Exactly!

    My problem with it was taking an OC without permission. It can cause strife among fanfic writers. So don't do it. There is no need to do it with a million profic characters one can use already.

    And the only reason I mentioned PWP is it would be something that would bother me if somebody stole my OC. And I put a :p so people would know I wasn't all that serious.

    Also, there are dozens of profic authors on the Disallowed List for fanfiction. We respect their wishes when it comes to their OCs. I think fanfic authors should be given the same respect.
    Last edited by Jedi_Lover, Jun 21, 2013
  8. VanishingReality Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 21, 2013
    star 3
    I've seen on rare occasion OCs actually better than the canon characters. This is only when they fit into the story flawlessly and/or have an extremely interesting backstory. Usually the ones to impress me the most are villains. (I admit I get annoyed for how often love interest or heroic OCs smack of self-insert.)

    It seems like the most common OC that I encounter are Jedi that survived the purge during the galactic war. Yet, despite this experience none of the drawbacks of Obi-wan or Yoda, by having to go into hiding or living on the fringes of society. This bugs me a ton. Isn't Luke supposed to be the last Jedi?
  9. Tarsier Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2005
    star 3
    Agreed. But, correct me if I'm wrong, I understand that an author only gets on that list if they specifically say fanfic is not allowed. If they don't say one way or the other, it's not disallowed. Similarly, I think if a fanfic author is MIA, it might be okay to borrow their characters until they say differently (again, not here, but potentially elsewhere).

    What is PWP? I haven't heard that term before.
    Last edited by Tarsier, Jun 21, 2013
  10. EmeraldJediFire Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 23, 2012
    star 4
    Stands for porn without plot. Smut for the sake of smut..nothing more nothing less.
    Last edited by EmeraldJediFire, Jun 21, 2013
  11. Jedi_Lover Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    I understand where you are coming from and if the author is AWOL then they probably don't care. The thing is that author may have dozens and dozens of readers and those readers often get bent out of shape when their favorite fanfic author's OC or the fic itself is taken. They will complain even if it isn't their story. Then we have strife among the boards. Readers PM mods and now the writer who borrowed an OC is now faced with explaining why they thought it was okay to do what they just did.

    When I was discussing this earlier I wasn't focusing my remarks to Bri because I know she wouldn't do that. She said she wouldn't do it. So I assume we were talking hypothetically. I want to point out we have hundreds of new members who are lurking. We don't want to give them the impression that it is okay to do this for any reason. First of all it is against TOS and they may end up with a lot of readers upset and calling them on it.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but there isn't a Disallowed List for fanfic writers. We have no way to opt out. Therefore, I would think, one should assume all fanfiction borrowing is disallowed (when it comes to OCs and taking unfinished stories).
    Last edited by Jedi_Lover, Jun 21, 2013
  12. newdawn12 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2013
    star 4
    When you're working with someone's writing, it's best to make sure the original author gets credit, and to always ask the authors permission.
    Jedi_Lover likes this.
  13. Jedi_Lover Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 1, 2004
    star 5
    And if you can't get permission, I would say don't touch it. Some people think giving credit to the author is enough...but it's not. Believe me, I was a mod at another site and people get furious even if you have a similar plot point in your story as theirs. I had a fanfic writer demanding another author take their story off the boards, even when the author never read their story, it was a completely different story and only the basic plot was the same.
    Last edited by Jedi_Lover, Jun 21, 2013
  14. EmeraldJediFire Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 23, 2012
    star 4
    That's...ridiculous. Are people really so short-sighted they believe they're the only ones that would come up with that plot.
    Lady_Misty likes this.
  15. Skywalker_T-65 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 19, 2009
    star 6
    Sadly...yes.

    I am VERY careful what I post because of that.
  16. EmeraldJediFire Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 23, 2012
    star 4
    Well...I think we're all bound to think up similar plots once in awhile..the true defining moments are the twists we put on those plots.
    Last edited by EmeraldJediFire, Jun 21, 2013
  17. taramidala Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 18, 1999
    star 4

    If this is the incident that I think it is...the ticked off person was totally in the wrong, and calling them "nuts" is being generous. ;)

    But in all seriousness, I think this golden rule is a good one to follow: if you have to ask yourself if it's 'okay,' it's likely to be something you should check into. Do your due diligence and at least attempt to contact the original fic writer.
    Jedi_Lover likes this.
  18. Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Feb 25, 2010
    star 4
    That's a good rule to follow. I'm currently in the planing stages of an alternate reality fic where someone goes from canon to an alternate universe/reality. It is sort of inspired by another story (and I know the author) in it's basic premise, but it'll be totally different in the plot and the fact that I'll be showing what happens in both realities. I'm debating contacting the author, just to give them the heads up about it, just to be safe.
  19. VanishingReality Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 21, 2013
    star 3
    I recently asked someone for permission on a plot bunny, even though they submitted it years ago.

    I originally wanted to write Luke as an imperial AU which is common and general enough. But their plot added in many specific complex ideas on top of that, that I'd never think up for the life of me. (Leia as a Dark Jedi, Obi-wan's death, the whole thing from the perspective of a different party, etc).

    I could never start the fic only because I wanted to write at the same high quality level as the originator of the plot. It was too much at once. (I guess the moral of the story is only accept very general, vague plots or challenges, and don't read other people's take on the plots and challenges only to make yourself feel bad lol)
  20. Juliet316 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 27, 2005
    star 7
    My brain is pretty much mush from marathon graphic making the last few days, but I'll just offer my own thoughts on why one might want to borrow OCs: Sometimes you see a well - written OC and you think "I wonder how they'd do in this situation," or "I wonder how they'd get along with this character." Or somebody else's OC might fit a plot in your own writing better than an OC you maybe trying to come up with.

    That does not mean you just take the OC and write them into your own story without the author's permission (In the interest of disclosure: Yes I have used other people's OCs in the past [in another fandom and what feels like a lifetime ago] and yes, I have obtained their permission before using them and have made sure that is plain in the disclaimers when they were posted). But I do understand the urge to borrow somebody else's original creation and want to plant them in one of your own stories.
  21. Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Feb 25, 2010
    star 4
    ... That award moment when a mod steals your post(and other people's posts) and makes a discussion thread about stealing stuff out of it.....

    Lol. It's fine, @mavjade, you didn't really steal it, I was just confused when I saw that I created a thread that I didn't create, and I wanted to point out the irony.

    As for OC's go, I've only borrowed OCs once and I had the authors complete blessing. If I were to ever borrow an oc, I think it's a given that I'd make sure to get permission.

    As for plots, I think it's a fine line between being inspired by a plot and stealing a plot. If someone were to write an LM coma fic, I'd be alright with it, however, if that plot included Mara's evil half brother (as it did in my fic) then I might be peeved.
    mavjade likes this.
  22. TrakNar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2011
    star 5
    In terms of OCs, I only use the ones I've had at least some part in coming up with, or those in a shared universe. Otherwise, I avoid using other's characters. I see absolutely no reason why I would need to use them if they are not part of my fanfic continuity. Now, I may drop in nods to other OCs that I've seen, usually in the form of a shared first name, or a shared surname. These I see as not being a problem, as many people share names and it lends realism to the universe. Those characters would also be relatively minor, mainly there to fill in an empty seat.

    In terms of plots... The basic core of a plot is fair game, as many plots share a lot of the same basic qualities. The complexities of a plot, however, such as character traits, setting, etc, are off-limits. It's fine to use the same basic plot structure, lots of people do. We all do it, whether we realize it or not. It's how we learned how to construct plots, by building off of existing structures that we've either seen or read. Many of us are influenced by what we read, and our favorite writers will influence our prose. That's a given. But, taking someone else's plot whole cloth for your own use? That's a no-no.
  23. Lady_Misty Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 2007
    star 4
    @Briannakin

    If that plot bunny with a character from the movies ending up in an alternate universe was inspired by a fic I did I would quote Rhett Butler to convey about you using it but shouldn't be typing swears.

    I got the idea from either a Star Trek Voyager fic or the idea from the Star Trek series all together.

    Either way you have my permission to do so if it makes you feel better.
  24. darksideyesplease Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 12, 2005
    star 4
    I think being inspired by something and then sitting down and writing something that is original... is just that...original. I guess it depends on what your definition of inspiration is though.

    When I think of inspiration, I think more along the lines of motivation to want to sit down and create something as epic as I just saw or read. It doesn't necessarily mean I have to take any plot points and or characters from what I was inspired by.

    Of course it could mean just that. It inspired you to write, but you want to write about those characters and that plot or just in that universe.

    I firstly, just wanted to get that out of the way.


    I agree with the overall thought process, that of course it's better to ask and get permission. I can see where there could be a grey area here.. You can't really contact GL and ask, hey is it alright if I kill Luke in my fanfic? He let us play in his universe when it was still his, so we just had to assume okay, yeah we can write anything we want, so long as it isn't a copy and paste situation... i.e. as original as a fan fic can be... So if someone makes a character up and sticks them in a universe that the creator has deemed okay for fanfic to be written about it, I can see some people would say, well... too bad, I'm using it, you have no legal recourse... blah blah blah.

    In an online community such as this one though, of course that is just going to cause trouble between members. So of course it's just smart to ask and get permission, or just don't do it at all. I think more than anything that is the reason why people should ask and communicate. I'm not sure how I actually feel about the subject if you take out the equation of people not being able to flame each other and start internet war of words. But that is a part of the equation, so you have to take it into account.

    Off topic a little bit, I think writing can be very therapeutic and even reading can be at times. I am speaking for myself. So I'm assuming we all have fantasies about using lightsabers and flying space ships in the SW universe. I think that's what the PWP stuff comes in. I've written some God awful scenes in my early days in fan fiction, I admit, but I won't condemn it for other people to write or read. When it comes to that part of life, imagine what happens in those kinds of fics is just as likely to happen for some people, as them using a real life lightsaber. But again... don't take other's OC's and make them sexual deviants.

    Anyways, my two credits.
    Last edited by darksideyesplease, Jun 26, 2013
    Jedi_Lover likes this.
  25. NYCitygurl NSWFF Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2002
    star 9
    Someone once told me that there are only two basic plots anyway :p Taking an idea and spinning it your own, totally different way or being inspired by a story is, I think, fine, as long as it really is different.

    I think borrowing OCs is fine. I've seen plenty of people do it, and I've lent out one or two of mine. But borrowing them without permission is definitely stealing. IMO if you can't find the author, create your own character.

    Re: Disallowed List--the author has to forbid fanfic to get on it. Authors who don't any anything and haven't stopped it are fair game.
Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade