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November 9, 2012
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There are people who feel that fan characters aren't original enough to be published among other original characters, which sometimes get called "original-original characters". Like, "Only original-original characters are allowed! NO fan characters!" and some openly downright look down on fan characters in comparasion to the other originals.

I don't understand. (And I want to make clear now, that I don't have any personal complaints about this matter, this is just something that interests me and I wish to offer food for thought to people who have that mind-set.)

Is it because fan characters are using elements and may or may not be following the rules, of a universe created by someone else as in of a pre-existing universe? Well, you know, THIS universe we live in is just as much pre-existing and has its rules as any fictional one. So, in the terms of originality, if you shut out fan characters, shouldn't you shut out any character created into our universe as well? But then again, maybe you do and feel that only characters created into a self-created universe are "original-originals".

I'm not so sure if the term "original-original" can ever be valid, at this point of published human creativity. But if you're determined to use such a term, I think it applies only to self-created species, such as the hobbits by Tolkien. Or unique type of pre-existing species, such as the Twilight vampires. (I personally categorize them as their own species called the meyerpire, because vampires do not sparkle.) As in I think "original-original" might apply not to a character in essence but only to its species.

As for a fictional character itself, I personally think that basically there never was anything but simply original characters:
- to begin with there are the original characters that are created into this universe or into a self-created fictional one.
- those characters get a second name; "canon character", when talked about in relation to fanfiction on them or their universe.
- "fan characters" are original characters created by a fan into a fictional universe/story that was created by someone else. They are the reason why the term "canon character" exists. But the name is the only aspect that gets complex, Because a fan character originates from a mind just like any other character.

Think about it. What would be different if fanfiction didn't exist, if no one ever created a character into someone else's universe/story? The characters that are now refered to as "original-original" would be exactly the same. The characters that are now refered to as "fan characters" would go through exactly the same creation process, only with a some other base; some other source of inspiration and some other universe to write it into. As for the rules of a universe...You know, one doesn't have to follow canon rules. That's the beauty of fanfiction; it can be alternate universe and therefore the character creation can be as free as you want to.

But even if you chose to stay strictly faithful to the canon rules...The way I see it, the universe  is only the setting for the character's developmental possibilities. It's the life story, the personality and the psychology that makes it a character. And those aspects origin from the characters creator's mind equally much no matter who created the setting/universe it's written into.

Therefore I really don't see how would the universe take anything away from a character's originality or worthiness. The only thing where I can see the universe matter, is if the original character's creator wanted to publish stories or other art about that character in that universe.
I don't know but I think the same would go for the universe's/original story's owner; if they wanted to publish stories or other art about a character created by a fan - even if it was created into their universe and story, they would first need a permission from that fan. Because the character itself and its personal story is intellectual property of its creator.

Hence, I believe all original characters are equally original. People just like to use different sets of tools for creation and development.

What do other fiction authors think about any of this?
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:iconheronwolf:
heronwolf Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I agree. Personally don't see the issue with people using existing pieces of art as inspiration. Isn't that how most art is made anyways? Where do you think Tolkien got most of the names for his dwarves and Gandalf? From a Norse poem hundreds of years old. Heck even the whole 50 Shades of Grey series was based on a fan fiction made of Twilight. Does it matter?
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:iconmetarex12:
Metarex12 Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012  Student General Artist
I kind of see both points, but I still think of them as an original character. You made them. It's just the universe they exsist in and the other characters they might encounter isn't original since it belongs to someone else. I do both fanfiction and original writing and love both.
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:iconulyferal:
ulyferal Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
You echo my thoughts on this subject though admittedly I hadn't taken the time to get that deep into the subject. Once your take a fan character and place them into a new situation as I do they become original stories at that moment. The only thing not original is the characters themselves because they were designed and developed by someone else and I stay faithful to their basic character design but I do go AU with a lot of their backgrounds and tweaked their behaviors considerably. I love doing it and it has helped me develop my voice and style of writing. The only downside is breaking free and developing my own characters which is where I am now. But I will always love and write fan fiction because I so love the characters of the fandom.
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:iconbendaimmortal:
BenDaImmortal Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012
Yeah. But I usually prefer writing about my original characters and include canon characters only on the side if needed, and if I do dig deeper into a canon character I usually choose someone who's not been told too much about 'cause I enjoy exploring and developing the character through the untold areas more than writing about the known ones. =P
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:iconulyferal:
ulyferal Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
And that's who I wrote all my fics about. One character who was always being put down and wasn't popular and wasn't the main characters. Everyone loves how I portray him in the some 100 stories I've written about him. I changed many things about him even his sex a couple of times. LOL Even made him an alien a few times as well.
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:iconbendaimmortal:
BenDaImmortal Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012
Lol. Well, you sure know how to have fun with a canon character. :D
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:iconknittingknots:
knittingknots Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012
I hear that...It's for love, and sometimes to stretch, getting immediate feedback if that idea is working...
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:iconxeg0:
XeG0 Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012  Student Writer
I have been on both sides of the fence. I made a lot of fan characters, but I discovered the reason that I was doing so was because I wanted something original, but became so enamored with an author's creation that I wanted it to exist in their universe. The reason I do not write fan fiction any more is because I cannot do anything with it in terms of wanting to be a writer; I can't really publish fan fiction unless I get exclusive permission. I found it immensely liberating to my creativity to build a world from the ground up, and furnish it with characters, than simply using another's. I generally tend to look at fan fiction as an important step towards originality and growing creativity, so I don't disregard it as a whole.

I do think, however, that it's a bit of a stretch to essentially claim that all human characters aren't original. The entire writing experience is focused on the humanity of characters, the humanness of their trials, no matter what species they are. In that sense, no writing is then original. It's true that presets exist, especially in fantasy writing, and I feel the challenge is breaking away from such tropes; for creativity, I've been told, is not spontaneity, but is taking existing pieces and creating something unique.

Looking down at the other comments, I see I may be classified as a "'realwriter' snob" simply for writing original fiction. if I come off that way, feel free to completely disregard my comment, as it was not my intention.
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:iconbendaimmortal:
BenDaImmortal Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012
"The reason I do not write fan fiction any more is because I cannot do anything with it in terms of wanting to be a writer; I can't really publish fan fiction unless I get exclusive permission."

I do't see how you can not do anything with it in terms of wanting to be a published writer. Because you can always ask the canon's creator for that permission. And even if you don't get the permission, the project still helped you to develop as a writer or in the least kept you from becoming rusty. I don't see fanfiction being useless just because you need a permission to get it published as a book. :)

"I do think, however, that it's a bit of a stretch to essentially claim that all human characters aren't original."

I never claimed they aren't. I was saying that if you want to say that your character is more original than someone else's original character, your character needs to actually have an original aspect that the compared characters don't have, such as to be of an original species or an original type of pre-existing species. And that isn't the case with most characters that get claimed "original-original" and "superior in originality" to fan created ones.
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:iconknittingknots:
knittingknots Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012
I do both; my fanfic world is sort of my escape from when the world sucks.
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