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OCs Paired up with Canon Characters

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OCs Paired up with Canon Characters



One look on my FanFiciton.Net account, and you’ll see that besides an avid Mary-Sue guru, I’m an avid CanonxOC shipper, so this complaint seems especially stupid to me because it‘s a little more personal.  So what if you’ve read a few bad CanonxOC stories, it doesn’t mean that everyone who writes those pairings is a bad writer or their OCs are Mary-Sues.  I like reading them, but it doesn’t mean I don’t run into ones that I end up hating.  Maybe it’s just not to your taste.    

As long as the character is balanced, follows the rules of the universe, has an explanation that works for the universe for anything abnormal about the character, and as long as the writer keeps everyone in as close to being in character as possible, it’s fine!

Then there’s those people that say “Why would [insert canon character here] like your OC?”

Uh, read the story and find out.  Stories usually come with plots and character development, so the answer is usually somewhere in there.  This also usually includes why a canon character would break up with, or not be in a relationship with, their original canon partner.  I get it.  You totally support the CanonxCanon pairing for a bunch of characters (“They are so perfect for each other, so why create an OC to disrupt that?”), and so do a lot of people who would create an OC for one or both of the characters; however there will always be at least a few who didn‘t like the pairing.  In my opinion, as long as there is a viable reason for an OC to break up a canon pairing, it’s fine.

“They always end up killing off a character!”

As much as I agree that it’s a dick move, and that it does annoy me from time to time, I think it‘s still OK for one of them to die, but you will get even more points if the character was killed off tastefully.  Did they have a secret enemy?  Maybe it was an unpredictable accident, or perhaps the character has a known mental or physical illness and couldn’t take it anymore, opting for suicide.  What will also get you more respect is when the other canon character, the one who didn’t die, is shown to mourn for their loss, and have time to mourn, move on, and develop another romantic bond with someone else.  If you plan on killing off a character, there should be time given for these, or else it’ll look like the canon character really didn’t love the other, and just makes them look like a player, cheap, and uninterested.  It ultimately depends on how the story is written, and if the reader likes the story or not.

Now what if the canon character met the OC first before their original canon partner?  That’s practically a separate string of events creating a new flow for a story.  The same amount of romantic development should be applied between the OC and the canon character, but, depending on the plot, it would also be nice to see how the originally intended canon partner reacts to it.  Maybe they used to hate the canon character and are glad they aren’t interested, and maybe falls in love with someone else, or maybe they get jealous and react badly to the relationship.  It still depends on the priorities of the story and the characters.

Another way would be for the original canon couple to break-up, for whatever reason that is deemed acceptable.  Even though they were perfect for each other, maybe one of them was manipulative and abusive, or maybe the love simply fizzled out.  It happens.  There could be thousands of ways to break-up a canon couple.

I actually had a close call about breaking up a canon couple, but in the end, I’m so glad I decided to write the story (I’m still writing it, but slowly).  The main inspiration for writing “Living in a World of Strangers”, my fan fiction revolving around Fruits Basket (Natsuki Takaya), is that I had never seen Akito Sohma in this specific kind of pairing.  In the manga version, Akito is a female, but in the anime version, he was declared a male (there were abundances of internet wars going around until it was finally accepted), and so because there was a male version of the character, if Akito was going to be paired with an OC, the OC would probably be female, while Akito would be male.  I didn’t like the male version of Akito because he didn’t have any background.  He was basically just an evil character who was angry because he was born sick and was probably going to die.  In the manga version, she had so much depth and development, that by the time I finished the series, I loved her—a rarity since I am quite choosy about female characters.  So, I paired a male OC with a female Akito, but that was the basis of why I wanted to write this fan fiction.

As much as I didn’t like Shigure (Akito’s canon partner in the manga), I respected that they would probably be good for each other, somehow; however I exploited Shigure’s manipulative and cold side to break them up, which didn’t happen in the first chapter, or the second, or even the third.  The break-up ended up taking place in the fourteenth chapter, but that was because it was what felt natural between the characters.  (Trust me, I wanted them broken up way sooner!)  Even when the break-up didn’t happen yet, I still fit in quite a bit of romantic development between Akito and the OC, and, because I think I wrote the story so far in a tasteful way, I didn’t make Akito seem like she would get into a relationship with just about anyone, because she wouldn‘t.  The only minor down side to taking the story slow (and in the realm of fan fiction, fourteen chapters to break-up the canon couple, let alone not having the intended fan fiction couple confess their love by then, is quite slow), is that the fans are usually impatient.  They love the development, but at the same time they want more, and because I still haven’t finished it yet, they can’t read everything in one sitting to the end.  However, through those “more Akki love please” comments, there is one I reread, and polish over because it fills me with pride, because it tells me that I’m doing something right, and I’m doing it well.

At the time, I only had eight chapters in, so there wasn’t much development as of yet, and this person, whom I’ve chosen not to give out their name, is a complete AkitoxShigure fan, and would only accept it (she even had that on her profile page), left this in the reviews:

“I hate OC

I hate Akito paired with an OC

I would have loved to hate this story.

I started to read this story only to flame you, my points were:

1. The Sohma are rich, they could afford to stay in a hotel

2. Why should Tohru be living first in a tent and later with some strangers if her cousin is such a guy?

So this story must suck.

But I must admit the story is good, kind of realistic (they aren't crazy in love after 1 chapter) and most of all original.

So I had to change my mind, it’s not my cup of tea, but you are doing a really fine job.”


“But why ruin something that’s already good?  They don’t need to ruin it with their OC!”

Well, for one, because I personally like doing it, depending on the character I want to pair an OC with.  I do respect canon material, whether I like it or hate it, and I know that my desires and whims will never change the canon, but fan fiction is just for fun.  A “what if” scenario.  Writing with a CanonxOC story is just more enjoyable for me personally, and I don‘t find as much pleasure writing CanonxCanon stories.  I get to explore my favorite characters without another canon character getting in the way, because in most canon pairings, I‘m usually far more interested in only one of the partners instead of both, and at the same time, I feel I can express more creativity with a OC as a major character.  That’s why I write CanonxOC romance stories—it’s more character driven and character focused.

In “Living in a World of Strangers”, I wanted to explore Akito because the manga ended before we could see her change like she said she was going to.  She did change, but we didn’t get to see how much.  “Living in a World of Strangers” satisfies me that way, but because I didn’t like Shigure, and because I enjoy writing with OCs more, I couldn’t bring myself to write a ShigurexAkito story.  I just wouldn’t enjoy it, even though that meant risking angering a lot of canon couple fans, angering OC haters, risking calling my OC a Gary-Stu, and a whole lot of other complaints just because I broke a canon couple up so an OC can be paired up with one of the canon characters.  Luckily, that never happened (and that’s why I reread that review with a smile).

Other fan fiction writers, whether they use OCs as major characters, or write in second person, will probably have more reasons that very much differ than mine.  Whatever the reason, if they enjoy it, it’s written well, following the rules of the universe, and the canon characters are in-character, it should be fine.  Whether you like the additional character or the story is completely your opinion, but just because you might not like it, it doesn’t mean that the fan fiction writer has to stop their story that they are working hard enjoying their writing, and enjoying entertaining other people with their writing.

So now that we’ve established that it’s perfectly fine to pair up Canon characters and OCs, what’s to stop them from having sex and having children?  Are they supposed to finally declare their love and then live an asexual life for the remainder of their lives?

“You just want to fantasize having sex with a fictional character!”

If I just wanted that, I wouldn’t have bothered writing a romance at all, and just went straight to smut, not that anyone writing pure smut is only writing it to have sex with a canon character; they could be writing it to practice writing sex scenes for all I know.  In addition, if I wrote several chapters of him/her having sex with my OC, which I would have just chosen a random name and not even bother thinking about personality or character development, I wouldn’t have even bothered making the female (whether it be the canon or the OC) pregnant, just to have sex over and over and not have to worry about that stuff.

If you’re going to say that to every CanonxOC shipper who writes in sex, you may as well tell that to people who also write sex in their original stories—claim that they want to have sex with their own character—which would also be a stupid thing to say to a writer.  Why all the hate specifically on OCs in fan fiction though?

Because the canon character comes off as out of character (OOC)?  Everyone has a different interpretation of a canon character, so the amount of OOCness varies and is bound to be somewhere in there.  No one besides the original creator knows how the character would react—all fan fiction writers can do is give it a best guess.  Then there are some people who slash (heterosexual characters are homosexuals, and homosexuals are heterosexual).  Of course the characters would be OOC!—but if there is “slash” somewhere in the summary, warnings, or author note, then the readers were given a fair warning and have to expect some OOCness.

Some authors, including original and fan fiction, want to write romance, but don’t know how to pace themselves.  They know they want sex in their story, but either don’t know how to write them and want to get it over with and hope for the best, or don’t know when to put the scenes in, and put it in the first instance when the two characters figure out they love each other, which tends to be still too early for it.  Another reason, especially on the internet, is when the writer’s reviewers keep asking for sex, so to appease them, the writer puts it in, probably even when he or she wanted to hold off on it until a better time.
If you haven't, please read my Mary-Sue: Who is She? Series first.

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MetalByakko's avatar
I guess the problem with breaking up canonpairings in favour for an OC is that many people write one of the canonchars too much OOC, which means he/she becomes a total douchebag and nothing like he was in canon. Otherwise your thoughts are pretty good.