: This is a 'test rant' from a journal project that I have been working on for a bit. If I start posting some of these rants here, it'd be more of a once in a while kind of thing. These rants are based off of my experiences and viewpoints while I've been in fandoms.
From the Journal of "Miss Rant" Entry 1: Three Common Stereotypes in One Piece OCs
During my time observing the OP OC fandom I've noticed that in the OC part of the fandom people have a tendency in following common stereotypes or themes. Three of these stereotypes that I have seen the most of are what I call 'the pure maiden', 'Strong Silent Type', and 'the crazy bitch'. These three stereotypes can actually take quite a few forms, but what I am bringing to you today is the overall general idea of each. Whenever you have time, take a look around and see just how many you can spot. You may be surprised, even your own OCs might end up under one of these categories.
The Pure Maiden:
OCs that are the typical 'pure hearted' girl that can basically do nothing that is usually considered wrong or at least anything that's really illegal (sadly, this does not include fashion crimes). They are often very naive and seem to have abilities/clothing/traits/and so on that often follow this theme of 'purity' and 'goodness'. I guess some characters that you can to attribute this idea to are characters like Kaya and even Vivi (to an extent).
The problem with this type is that these characters are most of the time 'pirates'. I can see if someone may be trying to go for irony, but more often than not I don't see it played out as well as it could be. It's also a concept that has a tendency to be over done or not explained very well at all. Most of the time I end up seeing them as girl trying to play pirate and failing pretty badly.
You can look at other Characters on the pirate crews in OP and notice that they are not 'pure' at all. For example, Nami, she's greedy, knows how to use her looks to her advantage, and is tricky as a fox. Robin, though highly intelligent and calm, she admits to having done a lot of stuff before she settled down with the Strawhats. With this kind of stuff in mind when making an OC you have to take the idea that no one is absolutely 'pure' into account. When making a character a pirate you have to take a moment to ask, 'just what is this OC's business being a pirate'? Keep in mind that reasons like 'their love interest is a pirate' or 'they are a 'good' pirate' is really weak and may earn you some criticism. It comes down to how you play it out and if it can make sense.
Suggestions from Miss Rant:
-Consider making OC a marine or another kind of law abiding figure (Hell, even a civilian or a priest). Perhaps as they develop or go through changes through their story, they may find their way to the path of the pirate. It all depends on how you work it, but keep in mind that in the end try to aim for it to make sense.
-One interesting idea to consider is making a 'pure hearted' OC a villain. The ideas of purity and goodness can lead to disaster and evil just as much as anything else. As the saying goes, 'the road to Hell is paved with good intentions'.
-Characters under this type tend to have the same personality. You can look at several of these kinds of characters and find that they have very similar personailties and traits. This can cause OCs to blur together, and this is often something that gets poked at and parodied. I'd suggest looking around and compare others OCs. You have to find a proper balance between good traits and bad traits. In bad traits things like 'being clumsy' isn't exactly a flaw or a 'bad trait'. The kind of traits would be things like: bad temper, jealousy, greed, self centeredness, and so on. The character can't be only good, they need a little bit of negative traits to make the OCs more human.
The Strong Silent Type:
'The Strong Silent Type' is often the OCs that hide their feelings or seem to have little or none to speak of. They are tough, often don't like help from others, and often act like they have a stick permanently shoved up their ass. More often than not they are pretty strong in their own right or on some occasions are over powered. OP characters that you can attribute this to are characters like Smoker and Zoro (to an extent).
The dangers for characters under this category is that more often than not they can be really hard to connect to, they can overwhelmingly come across as assholes (If this is absolutely intended then it's not as bad), or will have as much personality as a rock. These issues can make your OC come across as being weakly made, and if you were to suddenly play up emotion in the character, then it can come across as unnatural or pretty awkward.
Suggestions from Miss Rant:
-One aspect to think about with a character that has a hard time showing or even comprehending emotion is the question: 'why?' Is it a protection mechanism that they developed from a traumatic even in their past? Could it be that they grew up without learning the skills that it takes to handle or deal with emotions? These are just two examples, but when you think about the 'why?' that goes into a situation like this you might find yourself able to get a little creative.
- An idea to consider is that the OC may in fact be unable to feel emotions. This kind of option can be good for a villain, especially with the lack of inhibitors that can come with having no emotions to worry about getting in your way. This can make for a very cold and creepy villain, but keep in mind that not all villains can be this way either. Just think about what you'd personally would like to go for and how you can make it work.
-My final suggestion on this topic would be to allow your character some emotion, even if it is very subtle. It could be inner thoughts, facial expressions, or maybe they slowly start to show more emotion over time. This can be important because you want to tell a story about a person, not a rock.
The Crazy Bitch:
Other than 'The Pure Maiden', I think I can say that this is the second most common kind of OC that I have come across. These kinds of characters are often inflicted with a disorder of some sort, very hyper, or acts with little to no common sense. I think the issue that I have often had with characters like this is that they are pretty common and that there are often a lot of similarities. This is another aspect that can be compared to the 'The Pure Maiden', there are a lot of both of these types of OCs and they often blur together with too many similarities to other OCs of their kind. While I get the idea that some may try this to break away from the 'The Pure Maiden' stereotype, it's easy to forget that pretty much the same problems can still happen on the opposite side of the spectrum.
Characters that can have some ties with this type are characters such as Luffy, Ace, Franky, Brook, and Buggy. However what is missed is that all these characters have their own limits and levels of common sense. From my own personal encounters I've seen little of this in many OCs of this type. Quite a few creators tend to make them overly outrageous and (believe it or not) pretty boring. I'm given no reason to sympathize or feel any connection to the character, and I'll more than likely end up rooting against them rather than for them.
Suggestions from Miss Rant:
-If you are considering on making use of a mental disorder or something of the like for an OC then it may be a good idea to do research. The fact is that people can get offended due to the stigmas that can come from having a disorder. Often they get dramatized or glamorized in fiction, so doing your research may help in getting things more accurate and knowing what one can and can't do in situations like this.
-Probably one of the biggest issues with this stereotype that I have when I see it is that the character can be so wild and out there that they can become really boring pretty quick. There has to be personality beyond the crazy, through this you make the character an individual rather that a dime a dozen 'wild child'.
-Try to take a step back and determine what is the right amount of 'crazy' and what is stepping over the line. You have to try to find a good balance or else all people will see is the crazy and not the actual character.
All three of these stereotypes can have similar problems and problems completely of their own. The thing is that when you are developing a character (or are revising them) try to keep an eye out for the trap of falling into one of these stereotypes. The notes that I have put down here are things that I have noticed and decided to point out from my own observations. I suggest looking around and doing a little more research on your own time to come to your own conclusions.
Also keep note that this lecture is not aimed at anyone in particular, but it an observation that I have made over my time in the OP fandom. This is all made up of personal opinions and you can take it as you will. With this being said though, you must also remember that as a creator of an OC, a fic, or art that it is not the viewers' job to like your work. It is your job as a creator of such goodies to earn this from your viewers.
That is all from me today, Miss Rant signing out. See you next time!
: That was a test rant. If you liked it I might do more now and then. You can vote at this poll ladymischievous.deviantart.com… , give an opinion, and tell me what you think. Either way, I'd appreciate it.