July 6th, 2011


based on a novel

The 30 Days on Fanfic Meme
Day 8 – Do you write OCs? And if so, what do you do to make certain they're not Mary Sues, and if not, explain your thoughts on OCs.

I do, and I think you should, to keep a "world" from feeling too claustrophobic. Sure, sometimes you can have canon characters only interacting with each other, especially in short pieces, but if you're going to do any sort of longer, multi-chaptered effort, you're going to need some original characters to fill out the roster. Servants, teachers, shopkeepers, family members, neighbors, coworkers, antagonists, whatever the case may be.

My two biggest examples would be How Far and my Kaho RP journal. Both of these require several OCs. HF needs antagonists, because Guy and Nat need someone against them, and servants, because Guy can't rattle around in his big house all by himself, and because the princess can't be expected to do her own cleaning and cooking (especially cooking, dear heavens). Kaho's journal needed OCs because she worked in a school--she needed coworkers and students. Then when she was pregnant, she had doctors, and, oh yeah, a baby.

I don't write main character OCs, so that may be how I keep them from being Sueish. I think a good OC needs a distinctive personality, but it's like getting dressed. What was it Chanel said? Take off the last accessory you put on. Don't load too many accessories on your original characters. They don't need magic powers and a tragic past and a secret identity and a dozen love interests and unusual looks and mad skills at everything they do and a photographic memory and bullshit flaws like "tries too hard" or "cares too much" and whatever else. Pare it down. There's nothing wrong with not being awesome at everything and in every way.

I love some of my OCs. I love Merton and Maggie. The important thing is to not have OCs take over. They're there for flavor. You wouldn't dump an entire shaker of salt on your fries. You just sprinkle a little across the top.

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