Making Better OCs


I’m the notorious Marcus Wolfe. Well, perhaps I am not notorious, but you’ve probably heard of me. First, I would like to apologize in advance to anyone who feels degraded while reading this. I don’t really mean to hurt anybody’s feelings, but I simply have a very hard time being informative without being condescending. Blame it on the way I was raised.

Today, I’m going to help you construct an OC for shonen/Seinen works. This is also a process in which an OC should be changed, in case of Mary Sue. Creating an OC is not an easy process. Not for me, not for you, not for anyone. But this should make it easier.

Note: Most people already have some idea what their OC is like. If that is the case, use this as a refining process.

First, pick which anime your OC is going into. Let’s say the OC goes in Naruto.

Second, decide upon gender. Let’s say this one’s a girl. Remember, if the character is the opposite gender as you (which is true in this case) the character will be significantly harder to write/manga about, since it will be harder for you to consider things from the character’s perspective.

Pick attitude, beliefs, morals, etc for the character. At this time, you may wish to pick body type and other physical characteristics as well. I’ll make her a timid little thing, jumping at the snap of a twig. She’ll cling tightly to whoever first offers her protection, and will not leave them after that. Sort of like Hinata, but even more of a fraidy cat. Her eyes shall be a green tint, her hair a light blue, and in a ponytail.

Be careful; many fans (especially fan girls) will make characters that are self-insertions. While I am sure they are out there somewhere, I have yet to see fan work based on a self insertion that is actually interesting.

Set character’s power level. Be careful not to set it too high. In Naruto, few characters can compare to the natural strength of a jiinchuriki. Fewer still can stand up the wrath of a semi-possessed jiinchuriki. And to stand up to a jiinchuriki at full possession….you have to be a jiinchuriki. To avoid a Mary Sue, I will place her power level far below the natural strength of a jiinchuriki. Just for kicks, though, I’ll give her a bloodline ability.

Now power types and skills should be determined. Of course, when choosing powers, there are definitely some clichés/Mary Sue powers you want to stay away from: Communication with animals, immortality, flight (even worse without wings), mind reading, telekinesis, teleportation, irrational speed or strength (incredibly strong or fast for their size/lack of muscles) a beautiful singing voice (please don’t make me go there) and any other general form of being over powered.

A novice might debate whether to decide the bloodline or the jutsu types first. But they should actually be designed at the same time, so they can better play off each other. If one should be decided first, however, it is definitely the bloodline ability. Realistically, most characters with ‘natural’ or ‘inherited’ powers from any series will have had them since birth, so it makes sense that the fighting style be based on natural ability.

When picking natural abilities (of the decidedly unnatural sort) it is a good idea to steer clear of copying others (ie, don’t make a bloodline incredibly similar to the Byakugan or Sharingan) unless the natural abilities of others is very general.

An example of this is Inuyasha. Keen senses, astounding regenerative abilities, amazing strength, blinding speed, incredible endurance, awesome reflexes, the ability to jump great distances and claws/fangs are all traits he shares with other demons. He also (to some degree) shares them with Kiba from Naruto. In western comics, we have Wolverine, Sabretooth, and many others with similar powers.

What am I saying? I’m saying that if you create an animalistic character (this especially applies to canine based characters) with that set of powers, it won’t be considered original, but the theme’s been used so many times, it won’t be considered copying either. I did this myself, with my OC Okuri Okami. In situations like these, you have an opportunity to take a new spin on an old style. The new spin (such as giving Okuri influence over the wind) is what will make your idea original.

Getting back to the character in process, I’ve decided to give her a bloodline ability that allows her to slow down relatively unnecessary body functions to conserve energy and chakra.