OOC - Out of character

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OOC - Out of character
by NaathyLara

We have already talked about two types of characters: Original and Canon so, this time we'll stand in common ground, one that can give your story that little twist to make it stand out from the rest.

The OOC is the little thread that ties Original and Canon together, although it needs to be explored and approached quite carefully. If not taken seriously enough, it can all end in complete disaster, which would be a real pity because once you get the hang of it, OOC it's very fun to work with.

But what does OOC really stand for?

In FanFiction, signaling that the way the author chose to portray the characters (or perhaps unintentionally portrayed them) may not be consistent with how the characters act, think, or speak in the original work on which the fanfiction is based. (1)

From this, we have two stand points: When we actually decide to play with our character or when we don't yet fully understand the character, resulting in a terrible OOC. Either way, calm down and breathe, nobody was born knowing everything from the very beginning and the main objective of all this is to help you use it to your advantage.

The first premise of deciding to play with the character might sound a bit too farfetched but is not, believe me. In my own fanfiction, I've dared to do just that because I have explored hidden parts of the Canon character. How? I have given my character a reason, a very strong and substantiated one.

So, the very first rule is to learn how to deconstruct your character and for that purpose you need a very well informed view of said character or characters. You have already read or watched them in their original environment (whatever universe you which to write about) so don't let the major developing plot distract you anymore, focus solely on the character, learn all about him/her and go from there on.

Second rule. The base on which the character stands is not untouchable. There are always these little holes that you can play with and your readers won't punish you for it. Don't over do it though or there will be blood (Not literal, of course).

I'll give you an example (I will mention my story once more):

My main character is well known for being over confident, sometimes very bold and he is portrayed as a living legend within the sport he competes in, only once did the series show him crying or brooding about something. He mainly laughs and keeps a very positive attitude.

I wanted to give my story a twist so I chose to explore his dark side, his OOC side. In real life, there are many sides to one person. Sadness and happiness, joy and sorrow and so on, thus we take his flamboyant personality and a very unstoppable hardship.

This way if I write him angry and in denial, it fits, it is a real person's response to something as hard as what he is facing. He even shuts himself out from the world and my readers, instead of hating the idea, empathized with his situation.

Thus the third rule, the key to all this: make your character a real person in your mind. Flesh and bone or if they already are a real person, then don't glorify him/her and forget that he/she is famous. He/she is as mortal as you and me.

Now, going back to our premises, the second one is pretty self-explanatory, if you wish to throw yourself out there with no real concept of what your main character really is, you won't succeed. Fanfiction is well known to be loved amongst people because they wish to read more about the character they've grown to love from whatever media they have found it through. Therefore, destroying it won't earn you many positive views.

A bad OOC doesn't mean changing the character's hair color or its length; even though physical changes do disturb the readers a bit, they are a little more opened to it than to changing the character's entire essence without reason at all.

A hero can become a villain, but tell us why? What happened? How did it happen? When did it happen? You can rely on saying it is an AU yet it won't be enough. Set your ground for the AU and maybe then your new OOC will fit in.

There's no need of real experience to write a bad OOC; everyone can do that. And by experience, I don't mean being a published author, anyone that doesn't really grasp the very base in which the original author created their character will do just that, bad OOC. This includes real people, if you aren't well informed about their lives, behaviors and so on, the result will be a bad OOC yet again.

The end game here is to take your time, take these rules as guides, work with them and bend them as you see fit, keep writing and fail at it because that's the only way you will be able to navigate through the harshest weather.

Fail but rise again, write an OOC worthy of love and it will never be forgotten.

(1) OCC definition: www.urbandictionary.com

Do you like to write or read about OOC characters?

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