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Writing Your Own OC Spinoffs

Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, Jan. 5, 2019

I'm not sure how many creators do it, but I often place my original characters in different settings, writing out stories about them very much like I'd write fanfiction about some established franchise.

It's even more fun when I do it mixing them up with characters from other creators! Pit-Face and I for example have written bookshelves' worth of stories with characters from all our webcomics, spanning all possible ages, dimensions and genres.

It's deliciously addictive, and amazing fun.

But apart from that, what else does it offer to our writing and story telling, if anything?

In my opinion, it's tremendous help and practice, not only of creative writing and story telling in general (all great authors advise to write even a little bit every day to enhance one's craft) but also in terms of fleshing out and perfecting the original characters themselves.

By placing our OC's in different settings or different situations not supported by the canon story we're creating, we're effectively getting to know them more as personalities. All those lists for character sheets that we're urged to fill out with our OC's data (always a good start) when doing the character design now get put to practice, are allowed to manifest and be experienced by us as the OC's creator.

The character thus is getting naturally fleshed out by the sheer practice we get writing them. Often, we are surprised by the choices they make, and learn something new about them that the canon story itself wouldn't be able to reveal- but by knowing it we are then able to add more flavor to that canon story, despite the fact that we will never get to directly show the elements we now know from our spinoff writings.

Sometimes, we may even get new ideas, or our characters may get new ideas, and they react unexpectedly in canon, and then the story takes a different turn than what we'd meticulously pre-crafted, and things spin into chaos!

But it's a lovely chaos, and and engaging chaos- because the more we know our characters intimately as real people, the more their story begins to feel like real life.

What do you think? Have you ever done it and if so, did it help with your canon writing?

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AmeliaP at 6:23PM, Jan. 12, 2019

"Have you ever done it and if so, did it help with your canon writing?" I did it a lot. Try to make your story a RPG theme to play GURPS with your friends and you'll see how crazy spin-offs can be :)

AnubicDarqueStudios at 12:35PM, Jan. 6, 2019

I kinda did that with the Aboms, sorta a prequal of their origins rather than a spin off, though in my mind there is a story, when BloodBound comes to an end. who know.....

JaymonRising at 11:07AM, Jan. 5, 2019

It also serves as a good reason to bring your characters out of retirement/back from the dead (Then again, in the words of the great Philip Jackson "Artists don't retire, they expire"), as well as make amends with any character you...might've...pushed around throughout the series (little Heigie Periwinkle has all the rights in the world to hold a grudge against me).

usedbooks at 9:13AM, Jan. 5, 2019

I'd like to do it more often. It can be fun, and I don't write "just for fun" as much as I used to.

bravo1102 at 6:51AM, Jan. 5, 2019

All I have to do is ask myself, just how much of herself does Belinda Brandon put into her performance this time? More and more I'm writing about a troupe of actors who are doing all kinds of stuff. And I have written pieces where the fantasy becomes all too real (like when Belinda Brandon ran into a real bunch of robofemoids) I have a very big universe. There's always a what-if planet someone could end up on. I'm always asking "what-if" and have folders of alternate stories for various OCs.

cdmalcolm1 at 2:55AM, Jan. 5, 2019

I don’t do it often but it tends to grow with me as I age. My thoughts change about the story I’ve wrote.

Wolva at 2:00AM, Jan. 5, 2019

It's commonly called AU (alternate universe, for example putting them in a military setting is Military!AU) and I have made tons of these with my characters, whether all by myself or with friends XD I agree that it's a lot of fun and gives me opportunities to get to know my OCs more, especially when I throw them in situations and relationships that would never happen in canon. Also it's very convenient, because I don't have to go through the process of creating new OCs from scratch over and over again when I already have characters from previous stories that fit the new universe perfectly.

Ozoneocean at 1:21AM, Jan. 5, 2019

When we played with our characters we had a lot of fun and I discovered more about their personalities that I hadn't really thought through before.

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