yarroway: (NW1)
yarroway ([personal profile] yarroway) wrote2016-08-14 03:11 pm
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Original Characters

The What If interviews have been reminding me of old fics, and between that and some re-reading I've been doing I've focussed in on my conflicted feelings about original characters.

I often shy away from stories with OCs because they tend to take over the stories they appear in, and I'm here to read fanfiction not original fiction. OCs also tend to slither their way into an uncanny resemblance to the author, even if that was never the intent. I have a tendency to steer clear of any story with a summary about anyone's OC child or romantic partner.

Yet--there's always exceptions. OCs that capture the imagination without taking over the story. OCs who do not intrude, who do not resemble idealized versions of the writer, who read like actual people who come into the story with history and motivations of their own. Imperfect, human, characters who do not demand that the story be all about them. Some of them are just present as local color, people who appear briefly and then exit the stage. Some become compelling secondary characters.

The other version of not-really-but-sort-of OC is one I generally like--the exploration of characters barely seen or mentioned. House's parents, the Chen-Lupino couple, Grace, the man Kutner used to bully--these are examples of canon characters who aren't given much attention and I am interested in reading about them. I like to see how they fit into the canon universe. I like to see how understanding them changes (or doesn't) my understanding of canon.

All this brought me to wonder what all of you think of original characters in fanfiction. Are there some you like and some you don't? What differentiates the two? How do you handle them in your writing? Do you steer far clear of any hint of OC in your writing and reading?

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