As a Wiki centered around the creation of OC's, it is important that you should have a general idea to assist in answering any problems about making OC's. Good writing is what makes a memorable OC among the community. This guide will be going through what an OC by dividing into two things: OC's made for an original verse not connected to any other existing verse, and OC's made for an existing verse itself. OC's stands for Original Character. Harry Potter, Mario, Mary Poppins, all of these started out as OCs.
Antagonist: The character who is opposing the Main Character/Protagonist.
Canon Character: An existing character that is recognized as genuine. Such as Percy Jackson, Legolas Greenleaf, Ichigo Kurosaki, Son Goku (Dragon Ball), Naruto, and so on.
Gary Sue: A perfect male character.
Mary Sue: A perfect female character.
OC: Original Character
Protagonist: The main character. The character that the story's perspective is based off of.
Verse: A universe. A world that one's characters dwell in.
OC's made for an existing franchise
Out of the two, these kinds of character are typically far easier to write, as you have an already existing universe and other preexisting characters to work with. However, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind as you're making your OC.
Here are the things to look out for:
The Canon Universe
- Where does your character fit in in the grand scheme of things?
- Are they a new antagonist? A rising star? A new ally to the protagonist?
- Where do they come from?
- Where are they going?
- What drives them?
- What are they like?
- How have/will their experiences shape them?
These are all questions you should ask yourself while making your character. Poorly developed characters can fall flat, resulting in a character that more or less appears from nowhere and goes back, making no real impact to the viewer. Meanwhile, a well developed character will form a stronger connection, usually having some mystery around their origin which makes viewers interested in them. Ultimately, a well developed character allows for a better connection from character to viewer. Essentially, a viewer will care about a character more if they are well developed.
Powers and Abilities
How are your character's abilities in comparison to others in the universe? If you find yourself copying the exact same abilities as another character, take some time to stop and justify it. For instance, your character has the same powers as Superman. Why?
What is also important is that you respect established character limits. Usually, the main protagonist of a universe will define the limit for all characters within the universe. For instance, Sonic is the fastest in his universe, so characters should be as fast, if not, slower than Sonic. As a standard, justification is necessary for any and all powers that surpass or are equal to that of a protagonist of a universe.
Attempt to avoid boring justifications. Such as, 'she/he has the same powers because they're a clone of X', especially in the case of a protagonist working alongside the hero. In the case of a villainous foil (a character who mirrors the hero in some ways), this can be much more well played, such as Shadow the Hedgehog or Owlman to Batman. Never describe that a OC as something like this: 'has the powers of X, only better!'. Doing so may result in consequences outside of even the Wiki page.
Relations to Canon Characters
It is completely unacceptable to make a carbon copy of an existing character under the excuse of the following:
- Resembling Relative
- Other pseudo-methods of similarities to the protagonist
Fiction and Reality are parallel in the concept of relationships. Many characters will get along with others and many characters will not be a perfect match. If everyone likes your character, even those who normally would not, or even the villains who hate even the most pure-hearted heroes, you may have a problem. A lot of this overlaps with Mary Sue/Gary Sue. Another thing to keep in mind is that your character will have to build a relationship with the others. A character with firmly guarded secrets is not going to tell them to your character within an hour of meeting them.
Original Characters for Original Verse's
OC's of this kind, on the other hand, are extremely difficult to write for they usually pertain to the following:
- A Universe
- Other characters (Supporting characters, antagonists, protagonists.)
Nothing is completely original and inspiration is what protects that right. However, there is a difference between drawing inspiration from a character archetype and making your character a blatant rip-off. Your character has superhuman flight, speed, bullet proof skin, laser beams, and hides their identity by wearing glasses and working a news job. Obviously a rip-off of Superman. Don't solely base your character around something else, that's squandering the opportunities making what your own universe provides.
Powers and Weapons
Do not make OC's so ridiculously overpowered that everything is a joke to them. It is relatively unpreferable to have a character that has not experienced character development due to never having to face a real challenge. Furthermore, explanations are paramount. Consider asking these questions:
- How did they get these weapons and powers?
- If your character is from a planet or universe where everyone has powers, what makes them so special, and why?
Also, your characters are not created just to win every fight. A character is not a mere machine built for competition. Original Characters are the creative personification of the visionary. This means that your characters are a creative reflection of who you are.
Limitations and Weaknesses
An essential part for your character. Not all characters must have an obvious or physical weakness, however, consider that your character may fall prey to any of the following:
- Relationships with others (Threatening a close friend, betrayal, etc.)
- A weakness that opposes their nature (Elemental, spiritual, physical, mental.)
- Morals, values and motives.
- Events (A scarring past event is the most common.)
The stronger your character means that opposing characters are just as strong. Specific weaknesses are not preferable as weaknesses, such as Superman's weakness to Kryptonite. A character's personal flaws or morals may also prove as a weakness.. How will your character respond to a moral dilemma? Save the kitten in the tree or the puppy in the hole?
Mary Sue/Gary Sue
Mary Sues and Gary Sues. A thousand writers just turned over in their graves. There is nothing more boring than a perfect character, and a perfect character is what Mary Sue/Gary Sue is. Mary/Gary Sue has no flaw, everyone loves him/her. Anyone who disagrees with him/her turns out to be evil, jealous, or wrong for any other reason. Mary/Gary can do anything. Often, these are stereotyped to be Author Avatars living out their dreams of being in another world, but this is not always the case. Keep in mind, Mary/Gary Sue is not ALWAYS bad. Only when poorly written, which is annoyingly easy. There are tolerable and well written Mary/Gary Sues in fiction, which will not be named to avoid flame wars. But usually, Mary/Gary Sues are hated by the reader and despised by fans of the series who have to watch their favorite characters endure flanderization at the Sue's talons.
Questions to ask 'Is my character a Mary/Gary Sue?'
- Do I pit my character against 'strawmen' to prove a point I personally believe?
- Does my character share the same ideas, opinions, and preferences as me?
- Does description of my character get oddly specific, especially when compared with others?
- Does my character steal the hearts of characters and the story when they walk in?
- Can my character master things almost instantly, especially things it would take weeks of practice for others to perfect?
- In conjunction with the above, does a mentor character congratulate them and/or call them a natural?
- Are they the Chosen One? Even if the Chosen One has already been established as someone else?
- How much do they resemble myself?
- If they are a mix of two species/races/etc., do they have all the strengths of both with no drawbacks?
There are dozens more, and several guides and tests are available on the internet to test and see if your character is a Mary/Gary Sue.
GOOD LUCK ON YOUR OC WRITING! Godspeed.