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Original characters - Your opinion

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by EsperVeum, Jun 12, 2004.

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  1. EsperVeum

    EsperVeum Jedi Youngling star 1

    Registered:
    Jun 10, 2004
    I've seen people asking about writing fictions with pre-existing characters that we hardly know about, questionning themselves which personality should I give him/her? What background does he/she have? Where do they come from, etc..

    Well (after a couple of unpublished attempts) I'm about to write a story taking place before the saga, with original characters: it would be easier for psychological reasonning, making up interesting situations not affecting the SW timeline and context.
    Not forgetting that it's a fan fiction, it's also cool being free to create your own little plots inside that huge universe.

    Maybe it wouldn't appeal to a lot of people since everyone here has favorite SW characters, and want to read fictions with some of them in it...
    I haven't read a lot of the fictions posted by our fellows on these boards, so I might be writing either something awesome, or a huge pile of crap that nobody would understand.

    So anyone has suggestions, experience to share with this type of fanfix writing?
     
  2. Knight-Ander

    Knight-Ander Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 19, 2002
    The only thing I can think of to say is that fics circled around OCs don't have as high a following as fics circled around any of the characters already created, so don't get upset when nobody replies to your story right away.

    Give them time to find you. :)
     
  3. EsperVeum

    EsperVeum Jedi Youngling star 1

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    Jun 10, 2004
    That seems pretty much obvious to me! :p
    Thanks
     
  4. DarkDroid

    DarkDroid Jedi Youngling star 3

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    Feb 3, 2004
    This is coming from a fellow OC writer.

    I write in the far future era so it's nearly essential for me to use OCs (I think time-traveling is silly after all). I'm pretty careful that my fics don't contridict with the movies or the novels.

    It does seem sorta disappointing that the level of popularity with OCs isn't as high as pre-existing characters. But with OCs, they open a whole new world of imagination with limitless options for the writer. I love the freedom and I don't get the "So-and-so doesn't act like that" bit.

    Just don't turn them into Mary Sues/Gary Stus. [face_plain]

    Just keep writing and hopefully, you'll get some readers (that's what I did). :)
     
  5. Obi-Wan21

    Obi-Wan21 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 27, 2002
    What DD said. I mainly write OC fics. They're much more fun. Of course my time is mainly set during the Jedi Purge, within the 20 years between EPIII and ANH. Though I'm working on another set a while in the future. You're much more open and its just better, IMO. Anyway, I'll be checking out your fic (if you post it) something new that takes place pre-TPM would be kewl.
     
  6. EsperVeum

    EsperVeum Jedi Youngling star 1

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    Jun 10, 2004
    Thanks for your interest! I promise I'll check out you people's works once I've sorted all my ideas, I don't want to be influenced in any ways.
    And I also don't want to spoil anything too soon (especially if the result is going to suck) but I will post my fic here once it's completed. All I can say is that it's going to be like a crime novel...
     
  7. -Erela-

    -Erela- Jedi Youngling star 2

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    Jun 9, 2004
    I usually don't have my fics cenetered around OCs, but I can't think of anything I've written in which there wasn't an OC with at least a semi-important role. Maybe if you want an OC story to get a better following, you could try making an OC a supporting character in a fic involving known characters and then write one with the OC as the star. Obviously, this wouldn't work for stuff in the mega-past and mega-future, but for stuff during and around the saga it might.

    Actually, one of the best fics I've read centers around an OC. Just make sure your character's accessible. With the movie and EU chars, we don't have to do that as much, because most of us already know them, but with an OC it's crucial that the personality doesn't stay too hidden.
     
  8. EsperVeum

    EsperVeum Jedi Youngling star 1

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    Jun 10, 2004
    Just make sure your character's accessible. With the movie and EU chars, we don't have to do that as much, because most of us already know them, but with an OC it's crucial that the personality doesn't stay too hidden.

    Yes. Actually that's the most interesting part in writing with OC's... While using already known characters there's almost nothing left to do since, like you said, everybody knows them already. It's mainly like playing with your action figures.
     
  9. -Erela-

    -Erela- Jedi Youngling star 2

    Registered:
    Jun 9, 2004
    Action figures.... I like that.

    I disagree though, to an extent. I think there's a lot you can do even with people like Luke and Leia and Han. It just takes a good author.

    And then there are always the characters that have been written/shot into the galaxy that we know very little about. I mean, think of Boba Fett. Granted, we got more of his story in AOTC, but before that almost everything we knew of him came from the books. Those characters are sorta a compromise. They aren't the first people that come to mind when SW is mentioned, but they aren't complete strangers either. Fans always want to learn more about obscure characters caught on camera for less than a minute. Remember the Aurra Sing craze.

     
  10. EsperVeum

    EsperVeum Jedi Youngling star 1

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    Jun 10, 2004
    Ok, I agree the comparison with action figures was a bit extreme.

    But now you made me think about the "cought on camera" effect for background characters who end up heroes in books... Making an OC taking primary roles is like doing the opposite process and it's like, having the balls to claim yourself as a contributor to the EU because you're making something original....

    The idea is pretentious, but I like that :cool:
     
  11. -Erela-

    -Erela- Jedi Youngling star 2

    Registered:
    Jun 9, 2004
    So do I!

    Ben Skywalker's my favorite character to write fics about (even though I've never actually finished one because of a combo of perfectionism, writer's block, and lack of time) and I came up with him several years before Rebirth did. In fact, when they wrote him in, I was somewhat annoyed. He's my character. Mine. And he doesn't have reddish-blond hair. ;-)

    But yeah, I see what you're saying. You just have to hope people like your OC enough to read a whole fic.

     
  12. EsperVeum

    EsperVeum Jedi Youngling star 1

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    Jun 10, 2004
    I won't just hope for it, I'll be working my ass on it!

    The problem is that I'm very very self criticizing... So this is going to take a hell of a time to be released. That's why I haven't published anything yet, but on another hand, writing stuff for my own didn't help me in being very rigorous in keeping a good plot from start to end.
     
  13. -Erela-

    -Erela- Jedi Youngling star 2

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    Jun 9, 2004
    I get either stuck or bored. Actually, I often have the entire plot set but just have trouble writing it well. I want to write a "good" fanfic, not just something that people will read because it involves a catchy plot. I have a little vignette I'm working on (not OC though. Obi-Ben.) that'll hopefully get good enough to be archieved.

    The nice thing about OC writers is that, unless their stories are Mary Sues, they sorta have to be good, because they don't have the luxury of a main character with a fan base.
     
  14. EsperVeum

    EsperVeum Jedi Youngling star 1

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    Jun 10, 2004
    Yep, that's true. But the reason why I wanted to write with OC's is because I can't do otherwise: the plot I have in head wouldn't fit any of the SW or EU characters (unless I missed something, which is very possible) but then again, I can't reveal anything in fear to see someone else popping a fanfic out with the same ideas [face_worried]
    I should stop talking about it and get to serious working instead!
     
  15. -Erela-

    -Erela- Jedi Youngling star 2

    Registered:
    Jun 9, 2004
    I'm sure it'll be great. Good luck.
     
  16. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    Well, I love to write OCs. My main advice is two part: one -- know things about your OC that your readers don't know even if there is no reason to put them into the story. My main OC, Rendell Trett, loves spicy food, for example. I've never put that into one of my fics, because there's never been a reason to. But I know it, and it helps round him out for me.

    Two -- give them faults and weaknesses. Nothing is more boring to me than a SW story where the hero is able to beat up fifty bad guys while getting one picturesque cut on his cheek, and uses the Force somehow to do ANYTHING. Even Jedi don't always succeed with the Force.

    Definitely focus on plot, plot, plot. Keep your readers guessing.

    And yes, you'll never get an army of readers. But if you get a loyal few, that's enough.
     
  17. Keeper_of_Swords

    Keeper_of_Swords Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Sep 20, 2003
    I think what's important with original characters is that you've got to be more careful in describing the characters in detail, because as they're not seen in the movies its more difficult for the reader to imagine them.

    However, I prefer writing stories with original characters. What I kept in mind while writing a story on these boards is that I didn't include too many main characters (only two) and the rest are mostly background which appear in only one part of the fic, or have a simple role in the story.

    I've got stories which I write for myself with lots of original characters and a complex storyline, but when posting on these boards I think it's important to keep in mind the reader and the fact that your story's being read in sections and one may forget certain events that took place previously.

    Also, I don't think that a story which is relativaley easy to understand and which doesn't have too much characters hinders the quality as long as it's well paced and balances out action, characterization and description.


    Nothing is more boring to me than a SW story where the hero is able to beat up fifty bad guys while getting one picturesque cut on his cheek, and uses the Force somehow to do ANYTHING.

    I partly agree and partly disagree with that.

    I totally agree with not making the characters seem invincible. I give that lots of importance while writing, and the characters go through a hard time to defeat the villians.

    But then, I don't see what's wrong with one or two main character being able to defeat lots of enemies as long as it's credibly written.

    After all this is fantasy. At the end of Fellowship of the Ring we see Aragorn defeat a whole clan of Orcs, Qui-Gon and Obi-wan defeat lots of droids alone, and also Han, Leia, and Luke fight Troopers in the death star.

    However as I said before, there's got to be incidents when the good characters go through bad times and get defeated.
     
  18. Lilith Demodae

    Lilith Demodae Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 1, 1999
    OC's are definitely more fun to write, since they allow for more scope, more discovery, more freedom than the CC's. This is only partly because everyone has a slightly different take on them and so there's always someone who won't like the way you portray their favorite canon char.
     
  19. Raven

    Raven Administrator Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Oct 5, 1998
    I?ve written about OC?s and about existing characters and read a lot of stories about both, and I?m of mixed opinion. Generally speaking, I think that I prefer stories that use OC?s if the story is going to try to fit into existing continuity, and I prefer it when existing characters are used when the story is an AU. The fun in an AU for me is seeing existing characters in different circumstance. The fun with OC?s is opening up never before seen parts of the GFFA.
     
  20. Herman Snerd

    Herman Snerd Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 31, 1999
    Count me as another who prefers to see OC's used as main characters with the established characters in secondary roles.

    It's important to fully establish any original character in your head before you start writing. If you start making up character history on the fly you're bound to run into trouble contradicting yourself if you use the character long enough.

    But if you take the time to really create a personality for your OC, when the story starts unfolding, you'll have a good idea what that character would realistically do.
     
  21. -Erela-

    -Erela- Jedi Youngling star 2

    Registered:
    Jun 9, 2004
    Actually, in terms of developing an OC, I'd suggest informal roleplay. Just grab a friend, invent some situation your character might find him/herself in, and go. IM, talk it out, whatever. I've been informally rping for several years and often a character meant to just play a minor role has become developed enough to play a major part. You'd be surprised how much obscure background will fly into your head when you're trying to play a character you don't know.
     
  22. DarkDroid

    DarkDroid Jedi Youngling star 3

    Registered:
    Feb 3, 2004
    Roleplaying in general helps out a great deal. I've been text roleplaying since 2001 (and just now I decided to quit). It allows you to develop new and original characters over time, and forces you to act and think quickly in tough situations using what abilities your character has. I myself had been RPing with the same character since I began, and so, that character happens to be my main villian in my fics (not to mention RPing got me into fan fic altogether).

    It helps out A LOT.
     
  23. -Erela-

    -Erela- Jedi Youngling star 2

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    Jun 9, 2004
    Ditto for RPing proceeding fanfic stuff. I've been playing Ben Skywalker since maybe.... late 2000? He's mine. Mine, I tell you. NJO can just.... :p

    At first he just came in for one plot, but now I know far more about him than about any other SW character.

    So yeah, if you aren't sure about some aspect of an OC, roleplay it out.
     
  24. Schurke_Canaille

    Schurke_Canaille Jedi Youngling star 1

    Registered:
    Oct 17, 2003
    Well, as an OC myself, I thought I'd add in my two credits.

    We OC's can breath life into your works. Yes, Anakin, Luke (my he has grown!) Obi-Wan et all are all well and good, but unless you're writing an AU, they are pretty much stuck in their groove. They have certain limitations that can't really allow them as much freedom if they are only interacting with each other. (Not to say that Ob-Anakin-Luke et all are bad or predictable by a long chalk, but they need some fresh perspective to bounce things off of.) Also, by exploring OC's, you writers have a chance to expand on the GFFA, it may be the Skywalker saga, but there is a whole universe out there and even they don't live in a bubble.
     
  25. anakin_girl

    anakin_girl Jedi Knight star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 8, 2000
    It's important to fully establish any original character in your head before you start writing. If you start making up character history on the fly you're bound to run into trouble contradicting yourself if you use the character long enough.

    I agree with this. I also think it's important to listen to the Muse, to allow your characters to talk to you, to let you know what they're like.

    For this reason it's more fun to use OCs, although I have a tendency to use canon characters (mainly because Anakin has demanded that I tell what could have happened to him in a better universe). You have more leeway with their story. They come into their own personalities and you aren't limited by a personality already given to them in the films.

    At the moment I do have one more-developed OC, a healer who is demanding a larger role in the companion piece I'm now writing to "The Anakin Skywalker Diaries".

    EDIT: Schurke: Good post. :*

    If you really want to see an OC come into his own personality and give a work a life of it's own, read DarthBreezy's "Knights and Eros Bound", which features Schurke and two of his OC friends as main characters.
     
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