Alright RWBY OC's LET'S GO! RWBY is probably my new fandom, and as you all know I luuurve OC’s!
Templates are a great visual short cut. I always recommend copy pasting the text underneath, but templates are preeeeettty!
But while having art is one thing, you can’t skimp on a good bio. I adore reading and reviewing bios. While they’re good to have in itself, if you’re writing a fic or an RP they’re a necessity for you and for others who want to play with you.
A good bio is a contingency plan. Just the act of writing it out, crystalising some ephemeral idea of your character onto paper, means they’re a stronger character, consistent character and thus easier to write. Take your time. Rome wasn’t built in a day and a good OC wasn’t written in one draft. They are nipped and nibbled and researched and scribbled on and erased and polished and crumpled up and thrown away and starting from scratch and gnawed at again. Until you have something you’re happy with… and even so you slink back to change the wording or a slight detail as the canon evolves just to be on the safe side.
So, I recommend copy and pasting this article into Word Document and saving somewhere safe. I also want to draw attention to a-flyer who has also done a brilliant bio tutorial. Read both because two opinions are better than one.
READ THESE FIRST!
Don’t be arrogant. Even if you think you know, give it a browse. Avoiding a Mary Sue isn’t enough, these articles are more about character building. Even if you say, Fuck the rest of this tute, read this and you will already be a better writer.
A template accommodating chibi sized figures can be found here.
FREE DIGITAL PROGRAMS
GIMP -> Great free art program.
Krita Studio -> This is a new free digital art program I’ve found. I’m still testing it to see if I prefer recommending it over GIMP but it is safe.
Name: Oh my god RWBY fandom. I get it, there isn’t a lot of information about our canon yet but there is one concrete piece of OC info given to us Monty Oum himself. EVERY CHARACTER AND TEAM NAME IS INFLUENCED BY COLOUR! And the internet falls over itself to give you baby name websites!
This awesome chickadee, ThanhnuFia made it even easier with this guideline!
If you don’t abide by this OC rule, turn in your pen and paper because you already have an F.
Origin & Influences: RWBY often tends to have wonderful influences, be it fairytale, mythology or history. Describe the meaning of your character’s name, its language origin and themes and story tales influencing your character.
Colour: The colour they represent look at all the beautiful colours….
Species: You have two choices, Human or Faunus. Human is straight forward, Faunus less so. Use this section to describe their animal features and senses.
Now the world is full of billions of incredibly cool animals…. And 75% of faunus are wolves. I get it, just like every six year old girl is magnetically drawn to ponies and horses, every sixteen year old thinks wolves are dark, mysterious lords of the night which totally reflects their lone wolf personality. It also means the fandom is flooded because everyone wants to be that cool.
Appearance: Like it or not RWBY is a very visual fandom, with lots of in depth outfit and weapon designs and practically the only fandom where I’ve felt having a piece of art of your character is a must. One of my pet peeves however is when people whine, ‘I want to join the fandom but I can’t draaaawwww!” Bullshit! I know you’re begging for art and it doesn’t fool us. The internet has a million and one solutions for you and if you’re not willing to compromise then clearly you’re not that interested in joining the fandom.
There are many, many solutions.
The first one I recommend are flash games! They’re just like the paper dolls we played with as kids, but much easier! Just point and click and bingo, you have a character. Many have literally millions of combinations; colours, hairstyles, tops and bottoms and scars and weapons! No, you may not get something exactly like you want, but you’re compromising convenience for an exact replica. It’s a jumping off place and helps potential fans get something in their mind’s eye.
My actual favourite method because it’s where you can let your imagination run wild. People forget you don’t need a digital art program to use a base. Back in my day we used a lead pencil, tracing paper and an eraser.
Step 1: Find a base, one that shows off the full body, preferably with arms away from the chest and in a pose that reflects your characters personality, but necessary.
Step 2: Print it out. If you can print it out in light grey lines.
Step 3: Draw over the top of it. Hair, skin, clothes… look to the internet for inspiration! Here, here and here! “To steal from one is plagiarism, to steal from many is research!” Take hair from one place, shoes from another. Hey I like his cape, and her chestplate. Damn, those pants are awesome! Your eraser is your friend, don’t be discouraged if it’s not the Mona Lisa, it’s better than nothing and better than all those people whining they can’t draw. Just by trying I think you’re a mother fucking wizard! Show me!
Step 4: Happy? Get a black pen and go over the final design. Get your colour pens and crayons and colour that bitch!
Step 5: Scan or take a picture of your final project.
Step 6: Celebrate being a proactive member of the OC fandom, you mother fucking wizard!
Step 7: Note Bushtuckapenguin your finished product. She rewards the proactive!
Got your OC? Copy paste that badass into the template. But what to write? The personal part that’s not conveyed by the image, common expressions, body language. Why means so much more than what. Her hair is messy because…. She’s lazy? She’s busy? She’s a whirlwind enthusiast? Why?
Personality: I say it again and again, personality is the core of your character. You may like them, but why do we? How do we feel for them, empathise with their plight and their struggles? Personality influences every aspect of our lives; how why wear our hair, what we choose for lunch, how we walk and talk and dress. These characters are no less.
Start with a single defining trait, I like to begin with a Flaw (here and here) and grow them from there. This gives a character consistency and strength. Then break their personality into easy, flowing four paragraphs that, if someone were RPing with you, they could predict how your character will act in any circumstances. That is strength of character.
"Purple is selfish/ superstitious /rageaholic…. Because…."
"Being selfish/ superstitious /rageaholic positively affects his social life by…. and negatively affects his social life."
"Being selfish/ superstitious /rageaholic positively affects his fighting by…. and negatively affects his fight."
"Although he’s selfish/lucky/rageaholic, these are the exceptions…"
Aura and Semblance: Right now everyone is pretty much in the dark about aura and semblances so until we get more info from the canon I don’t feel right lecturing like some old fogey professor. But what we can do is look at the Semblances we do have and extrapolate from there. What we do know is everyone only has ONE semblance, any more and you’re Cartman from South Park.
Ruby has speed, Pyrrha has magnetism, Glynda and Weiss have Glyphs that appear to distort gravity. Jaune perhaps has healing. Ren seems to have an Aura blast. Yang’s Aura ignites into flames and Blake creates short lived clones of herself.
Fuuuck! You know, there’s such variety and no apparent rules I have no advice…
Weapon: Weapons in Remnant are another extension of the character’s personality, combining melee with firearms with such beautiful variety and creativity. Some weapons I see turn up more often than not, and while common isn’t bad it isn’t going to attract attention in the same way.
The worst thing you can character’s weapons. I’m honestly surprised by how often I see Sniper Scythes out there when it’s specifically said that only two people wield that design- Ruby and Qrow. Also I see a lot of modifications to Myrtenaster’s design, a sword with twisting dust canisters. In fanfiction term’s your OC has been “Beaten with the Canon-Stick” and is boring and unoriginal.
Again the first thing you can do is RESEARCH. Step 1, look at the canon weapons.
Thing’s also to consider include dust and ammo. Not all weapon’s need to be part gun, Jaune’s sword and shield are effect against an Ursa.
Fighting Style: Again an extension of your character’s personality. It should flow and reflect, not be a sudden schizophrenic schism, it weakens a character’s strength. Long range or close combat? Dust or artillery? Offensive or defensive?
I’m going to talk take a moment to talk about a common trope- the shy girl who suddenly turns into a confident, offensive team player. I don’t like it because you have a great flaw, one that truly affects them and a strong motivation to evolve as a character and you suddenly you nullify it at the first hurdle. It is boring, but also overdone. I will poke a stick in any direction and find myself a shy student turned strong soldier… Leave room for growth, make their personality stable and congruous.
Affiliation: For most this is easy, Beacon and Team. Describe their school and what it means to them, why they wanted or didn’t want to go there. And as for Team don’t list, explain! Who is on their team and what is their relationship with the members, how do they rub against each other or knit seamlessly together in battle?
Backstory: While a backstory is important to who they are, it isn’t all they are and that’s where people make the mistake.
Remnant is a dangerous world, there’s bound to be a few orphans around the place, but reading bio after bio I feel like I’ve watched a marathon of all the worst Nicholas Sparks movies, and it becomes a joke. So many ‘Clans’ have been wiped out the ‘Clans’ are now extinct from Remnant because there sure as hell aren’t any in canon. And those five year old orphans hanging around, living off the streets, somehow literate and weapons masters…. Yeah…
The tragedy after tragedy that befalls some OC’s is a joke.
Blinkin: I thought it felt a bit drafty. Cor, this never would have happened if your father was alive.
Robin Hood: He's dead?
Robin Hood: And my mother?
Blinkin: She died of pneumonia while...
Blinkin: Oh, you were away!
Robin Hood: My brothers?
Blinkin: There were all killed by the plague.
Robin Hood: My dog, Pongo?
Blinkin: Run over by a carriage.
Robin Hood: My goldfish, Goldie?
Blinkin: Eaten by the cat.
Robin Hood: [on the verge of tears] My cat?
Blinkin: Choked on the goldfish….Oh, it's good to be home, ain't it, Master Robin?
Ruby has lost her mother. Blake grew up on the picket line, a stigmatized Faunus. Weiss’s father was possibly abusive and at least neglectful… and it’s not their whole life and whole personality. They’re still happy, rounded people and characters.
A twagic backstory is like dragging a bridal train after you, getting caught on things and making progress is slow because the story and the character are always dwelling on the past. I always feel the best characters come from a normal, stable background because it means the reader isn’t trying to pull itself out of this quagmire before the story goes anywhere.
A reader grows and struggles with a character through the story.
The best thing you can do for yourself when creating an OC is don’t do it in a vacuum. Immerse yourself, read and review other OCs and resources!
Find a niche and have fun with it!
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