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89076 No. 89076
I'm not sure if we've had this before, but I feel that setting out a set of general advice on creating an OC might be helpful. Obviously, there are no specific rules to it, and who knows, your robot sparkles alicorn might come out amazing, but its much more likely "Princess Bubblegum" is going to crash and burn. In no particular order, here are some important things to remember. (these are just general suggestions based on experience, feel free to ignore them.)
1) The color scheme and physical appearance: It might not seem that important in a fic, but a OC that's designed in a physically unattractive way can be a major detractor. When creating one remember a few simple things: all ponies, without exception are guided by a pastel color scheme. (if you don't know what this is, grandmaster google will tell you.) If your OC is completely black, with a bright red mane you are already heading the wrong way. The physical traits are important too. Don't give your OC metal wings, or spiked neck chains, etc if you want it to seem legitimate. Do any ponies in the show have what you want to give it? No? Then its probably a bad idea.
2) Mental Traits: If you give your pony speical powers, (pyromancy, nutty magic, etc.) you are heading down a path that rapidly heads to bad, and more bad. A character can be interesting and deep without having a "dark past' or "speshul magix". The behaviors and actions should be what are singular, not gimics like these.

(clearly there's more, this is just off the top of my face thinggy; if you want to add more, you are more then welcome to._
Unspoiler all text  • Expand all images  • Reveal spoilers
>> No. 89078
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>> No. 89089
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How are you confused? This is a general, open guide to writing/creating a non shitty OC.
>> No. 89093
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I think a big problem many people have is trying to build a story around a character, rather than using a character to tell a story. If you go into a story thinking "How can I write a story about my OC," you're probably going to end up with crap.

It's important to know that there's a lot of information that the author can know about a character that doesn't need to be told to the reader. You've got a ten page dissertation of one minor character's life-story? Great! but don't waste the reader's time with it. Physical description very often falls into this category. Honestly, I often forget whatever "colour" people give their ponies unless it's relevant to the story, because I don't care and it doesn't matter.

Another thing to consider is the difference between a support character, minor character, and major character. The way these characters are set-up and introduced into a story are very different, and how much the author needs to know about the characters just the same. For example, most of the rules of "Mary Sue"s can be thrown out the window unless it's a character that we're actually supposed to relate to (e.g., the protag).

Most issues with original characters seem to stem from show vs. tell problems and special snowflake syndrome. Mark Twain sums it up well-enough: "The personages in a tale, both dead and alive, shall exhibit a sufficient excuse for being there."
>> No. 89094
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In the spirit of organization, I'd like to direct your attention to the thread at >>66380, our OC general. It could use some love. And a new roof.
>> No. 89101
Thanks, you reminded me that I have a character to put in there.
>> No. 89104
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Ooooookaaaaay, where to begin?

Firstly, I could have sworn there was a guide of some sort around here, but I think I had some issues with that as well. I think, OP, your guide puts too much emphasis on physical appearance--important, yes, but since fic writing isn't an image-oriented medium, you need to focus more on the character's personality and whatnot than their physical appearance (but if you describe your pony as having bat wings and being red and black, I will murder you). I think that first part really is something more appropriate for /art/ and, somewhat, for /rp/ (but /rp/ already has a character guide...somewhere).

To that end, personality is the biggest part of an OC. A good OC has an interesting personality--whether they're a good guy or a villain, a badass or a loser, a school kid or an office worker, there's got to be something about them that draws the reader in, lets them connect to the character, let's them give a rats ass about them, even if they hate the character. Now, there are multiple ways to go about having an interesting personality, but you have to remember that, like a real person, an OC must be balanced. They have to have beliefs, quirks, pet peeves, fears, goals, philosophies, shortcomings, strengths, and so forth. No one wants to read about a perfect character, or even one who has it all together (by which I mean that they're self actualized or something, not that they're a functional member of society without a bunch of deep-seated neuroses) because perfect characters aren't interesting at all; the reader can't connect and, to be honest, without some sort of trouble or potential for trouble, it's boring.

When making your OC, consider all of the things that go into a person and shape who they are. Where do they live? What kinds of friends do they have? What were their parents like, if they knew them? Did something really bad happen to them? Have they had it easy? What species are they (remember, not all OCs are ponies)? Background and backstory like this have a huge effect on the OC. A tragic or really ridiculous backstory is not inherently bad but must be handled with tact--it must add to the character in a logically consistent way, rather than just be there to make them "special". Your character's backstory may not even have to be all that exciting, or have any really outlandish events--small things in life that seem petty to others can seem dear to the individual. Think about those personal memories you have of small things that mean much to you but maybe not to anyone else. Your character should have those. In fact, you may think up tons of backstory for your character that never gets into the fic, and that's okay; you'll have a solid base of reference to judge your character's actions. The only thing I would warn against is making your character have an established relationship with any of the main characters, as that just screams Mary Sue--by this I mean saying your character is the brother of Twilight Sparkle, or son of Celestia.

Going back to appearance, again, don't make things too gaudy, and if you can, have your character's appearance tell something about their personality. I don't give a crap if your character has the prettiest lavender mane this side of Equestria, but I most certainly care if she's missing a leg. It's a fine line between purple prose and meaningful description, and what decides that line is relevance: does your description give more insight into the character or otherwise important to the fic at hand, or is it just there to make them seem special?

Most people are going to be making pony OCs so I should point out that one of the big things about pony OCs is cutie marks. Most ponies have one unless they're foals or just really suck at life and it tells a lot about them. Choose a cutie mark that really tells a lot about the character--even if your character doesn't know what it means, you should. This is really more of a personality thing than anything.
>> No. 89105
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That'll teach me to make hugeass posts.

Also, like I said, generally with OCs the points you really want to sit down and think about to flesh out their personality are general demeanor, philosophies, goals, fears, hobbies, likes, dislikes, quirks, place of birth, family, friends if any, species, cutie mark (if applicable), current environment, and any past events that would have a profound affect on their development. Afterwards, you can try roleplaying with them or just throwing them into short unrelated scenes; the character might take off in a direction you didn't expect or flesh itself out as you write them more.
>> No. 89106
To be honest, when I read a story with OCs in it, I actually tend to ignore whatever the actual physical description says, and just substitute whatever I happened to imagine first.

It's not like it'll make any difference.
>> No. 89112
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Typically, I do too, but that's with any character in fiction since I'm actually really bad at visualizing things in my head, but you should least pick up on the important characteristics, such as species or if there's something wrong with them. I forget who said it, but you only need to really describe people after the first time if there's some significant change about them.
>> No. 89120
I like it when they remind me what the character looks like. I forget fairly quickly, and then the world is populated by a bunch of grey blobs >_>
>> No. 89133
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color scheme and physical appearance:
> Pic related

This is something I whipped out on my tumblr a few nights ago while I was passing out. I think it still applies.

When 75% of your character description is what a character looks like, you’ve done it wrong. In the first paragraph that’s just boring, and in the story outline that’s a crime.
What are his hopes and dreams? Has he ever been kissed? Does he have a favorite vacation spot? What does he do after work?
A character is more then the tint of their hair or the color of their skin. Fur. Coat. Whatever. You don’t have to put that kind of stuff in the story. But as a writer, if he’s opening his fridge and he offers the pony he’s crushing on a drink; you damn well better know if he’s pulling out lemonade, beer, or clamato juice.

To make a good OC, you have to first make a believable character.
Don't tell me your character is a green pegasus (I hate green too BTW), unfurl his wings and make him fly. Or make them bump into people as he walks down the road clumsily. Don't make Ember's horn glow when he's starting a camp fire, let his horn reach into the tinder, exciting the wood, making a tiny spark and letting it blossom. Tell a story, don't tell me about the story.

>>83432 is a good thread about names, but again, work on the character first.
For example, I have problems seeing Diamond Tiara making her own tiara. I can see her being a goldsmith super easily, but that's because she was probably obsessed with her tiara from a young age. Analyzing it, testing tensile strength, repairing it when it broke. Which is why her parents would name her after it.
She probably did make Silver Spoon's pearl necklace later on when she finally got her marking, but that's unrelated. Diamond Tiara's name is part of her character and it all rolls together in a cuddly ball of reasonable character interpretation.

John Killfist is NOT AN ACCEPTABLE PONY for so many, many reasons.
>> No. 89150
I disagree with the "dark" fur color in your macro. Male ponies are, for the most part, darker / less saturated than their female counterparts.

And those examples about describing race are... well, one's confusing if you don't know they're a pegasus in the first place, and the other is purple as hell. Does the fire serve an important role in the story? If it doesn't, "He conjured a fire to keep warm for the night" will suffice.

But either way, explaining that someone's a _____ pony after the first time they're introduced leads to confusion.
>> No. 89152
There's a reason I'll go through a work and say 'It's good, but it needs more purple'.

A little spice won't kill you. Doing it nonstop for twenty pages is more then enough to kill you though, so everything in moderation, even moderation.

> I disagree with the "dark" fur color in your macro.
While we're making other purely opinion based statements, I rather dislike the raw number of unicorn OCs in the fandom in general. I try not to hold it against anybody, but come on.
>> No. 89155
>unicorn OCs
And that's why I made my entire OC city an Earth Pony mining town. :)
>> No. 89159
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You actually can have a robot unicorn pony. Here's how I would write one.

You start the story off in the distant future where robot unicorns are commonplace. Then maybe a portal opens up and transports one to present-day Equestria. Now when the robot gets there, the other ponies should be scared of her (except maybe Twilight, but her friends would drag her away to safety if she tried to approach the robot.)

Now at this point the robot should be frightened, he's never been to this place before. You could ether have him be sad because he's alone or angry and DESTROY ALL LIFE FORMS!
>> No. 89174
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I once thought of making a trollfic wherein Prince Blueblood gets a robot unicorn servant for his birthday, but the ghost of Rainbow Dash, having recently died pulling a stunt, possesses it and it runs off with its own agenda à la RVB. Robot Dash reunites with her friends and goes to the competition she'd killed herself training for - blasting through metal hoops in an extreme obstacle course arena. Blueblood finds out that's where his toy had run off to and shows up at the event. Rainbow Dash dies again, and Blueblood mourns with RD's friends, the disembodied robot unicorn head in his hooves. You can't win in life, because when the end comes, you've lost the game.
>> No. 89179
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Tags: adventure
Syn: Adventure
33 ( 75 )
A Nameless stallion posessed with Umbra, an embodiment of Malice, recreating the once destroyed Elements of Malice in order to have his revenge on the world, the roots of which has been lost 1500 years ago. Meanwhile, Twilight Sparkle finds ancient pony wizard, who has sealed himself into a book and put himself in a coma in order to once and for all defeat his ancient foe when it returns. This wizard, Stargale, finds the world he knew drastically, and he, with mare 6, begins his quest to find a way to dispel his book self-imprisontment...
Link: http://www.fimfiction.net/story/14034/Word-of-Malice
Chapter required reviewing and critic.
You will need to have them look at everything, the entire story does look like it is filled with show don't tell issues as well as various awkward phrasings and such" - Equestria Daily
>> No. 89195
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Hello! You might want to bring this to The Training Grounds thread, or one of the independent review threads.

The Training Grounds: >>87698
A review thread: >>85249
Another review thread: >>72525
And here's another: >>84364
>> No. 89203
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*snicker* Oh my, you missed a little bit there though. I'm just going to... oh my.
If you noticed, this is a discussion thread, not a reviewer thread. Yes, there are reviewers and writers in it, but we're discussing things. While you're here you could do some reviewing too, it's good for the soul to help others, and it's good for the mind to work proof reading other works. >>87698 has the most information about that wonderful experiance.

Ooh, nice to see you more often. The sticky has these references as well:
Post your story in a review thread if you are seeking feedback or criticism. (see the list of review threads: http://derpy.me/S1nFp or the list of reviewers: http://bit.ly/rtOSx7)
>> No. 89204
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Now now guys, don't be hatin' on the noobie.
>> No. 89206
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I try to be more active. I'm failing horribly! I must rectify this.

But... but I was nice! Wasn't I?
>> No. 89207
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I think it's okay to post this here since someone else in the thread asked if there was a guide on OCs elsewhere on the site

There's an OC guide in /rp/'s sticky
And There's also an OC discussion in /ooc/
>> No. 89208
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I'm just messin with ya, plus I wanted an excuse to use that pic.
>> No. 89211
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Perfect. Because I just wanted an excuse to post mine.

And this one.

Really. You can never get a good opportunity to post pictures like these.
>> No. 89212
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Been dyin' for an oppurtunity to pull this one out.
>> No. 89270
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you see how it says #discussion? That means its discussion!
The problem with these is that they are too physical and appearance based. Yes, they focus on character, but not really how to WRITE a believable, non shudder-worthy OC.
You know what pastel colors are, right? There's such thing a pastel brown, and such. The male ponies might have darker colors, but the shades are much lighter, and PASTEL
Here we see the rare species known as intelligent, polite, cool guy. Thank you!
>> No. 89283

StarmanTheta, you have it right there. I was going to bring in some points, but it looks like you beat me to the punch. Well said!
>> No. 89318
OK, so here's my idea for my new OC.

Dull grey in color and nondescript in appearance. He's of average intellect with no special talents at all. He doesn't have any deep passions about anything in particular, although he doesn't dislike very many things either. He's average at mostly everything he does, and is pretty freaking boring at parties because of it.

So based on what most people want to see, this pony would be a "good OC pony". Well, good. I'll just name him Blandy McPlain, and have him walk around doing a mediocre job at the super market bagging groceries. Then he'll go home and watch TV until he falls asleep, after which he wakes up to go to work again. People will love it because it's so true to life!

... this made my heart hurt to write it that way.
>> No. 89321
Finding the value and beauty in small, nondescript aspects of life really does make for good stories.

I like them anyway.
>> No. 89322
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>> No. 89333
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And then, at night, he hits the local clubs and is transformed into his secret dance-sona: a latin lover with glorious long locks and a flamboyant purple dressy coat with tight black pants (showing off his colthood?) as well as shiny gold necklaces plus gold bracelets... like a pony version of Stanley Tucci in 'Shall We Dance?'

But can he keep his secret from his normal life friends? And what about these usurping dancer ponies such as Fluttershy and Twilight that have their own dance-sonas... and are trying to steal his title as 'king of the dance floor'?




Oddly enough, what you just wrote worked perfectly with an idea that I already had.
>> No. 89340

Heh, I see what you're getting at, but that ain't what we're saying at all. Like I said, a character has to be interesting--the problem most people have is that they try to make their character interesting in ways that are incredibly shallow and cliche as opposed to building a relatable character. Your character doesn't have to be bland...in fact, bland is bad. Your character has to have that certain something about them that's unique to them for us to care, whether it be a particular belief or a personality trait, they have to have something that not only makes us remember them a week later, but doesn't make us cringe when we remember them.
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