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I’ve played both fandom and original characters in the past and was wondering what y’all’s opinion is! Do you prefer fandom or original rp, and why?

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I personally prefer original, I'm a big fan of world building and just aimlessly expanding on things I think are cool.

I also feel often times when people play a fandom character it become easy to lose sight of the character and who they are as a person. This isn't inherently a bad thing on its own but it becomes really easy to break character in this case.
I'm not sure if we're talking about fan characters, or canon characters. I've played a few fan characters as well as original characters not tied to a pre-existing universe, and like both for different reasons.

I don't think I would like playing a canon character very much because of the reason stated above: It's hard to keep track of who a character should be, and some people have different interpretations of who a character should be in the first place. If I were to play Tails from Sonic, I feel I could do that comfortably because he's one of my favorite characters in anything, but the way I might play him might not be how my partner sees him, especially as he has different interpretations in different versions of his canon and I disagree with the way he is portrayed in even the canon sources sometimes.

It's just easier to play a character that is mine, than to navigate the expectations of adopting someone else's baby, if that makes sense.
publius Topic Starter

Aardbei wrote:
I'm not sure if we're talking about fan characters, or canon characters. I've played a few fan characters as well as original characters not tied to a pre-existing universe, and like both for different reasons.

I don't think I would like playing a canon character very much because of the reason stated above: It's hard to keep track of who a character should be, and some people have different interpretations of who a character should be in the first place. If I were to play Tails from Sonic, I feel I could do that comfortably because he's one of my favorite characters in anything, but the way I might play him might not be how my partner sees him, especially as he has different interpretations in different versions of his canon and I disagree with the way he is portrayed in even the canon sources sometimes.

It's just easier to play a character that is mine, than to navigate the expectations of adopting someone else's baby, if that makes sense.

Fair enough. Being in character is something that people worry a lot about on platforms mostly catering to fandom character rp. For the most part I’ve found that people are fairly open to interpretation, but you always get somebody who doesn’t like how you play character XYZ.

I think the pros of fandom rp is that it lets you really expand on characters you like. As a fanfic writer, fandom rp is a great way to get into a character’s head and work out how to write about them.
I tend to stick to original mostly because of a mix of ingrained (and probably a little "self-righteous") fears and biases. Same reasons why I've never been one to read or write fanfiction (outside of very few parody-esque exceptions). I don't consciously view it as "lesser" or anything, but something about it continues to seem a little odd to me for some reason. And more importantly, specific to writing things myself, I get really worried about getting things right or ending up looking like an idiot. Uncertainty makes me uncomfortable, but it's harder to screw something up if you're just starting with whitespace. (There are plenty other contradictions in my brain that make even less sense.)

And... while its influence has waned, I also still have a bad memory regarding a sort-of fan character someone used in an RP, and because of my poor understanding of that property, I was blindsided by the insane level of godmodding tied up in that character on top of the player just generally being unpleasant to play with. I'd like to think that mess isn't still affecting my choices, but it was sorta a foundational RP memory for me, so it very well could be.
In the past, I heavily preferred fandom/canon characters. Today, my tastes have changed and I prefer OC's today. OC's provide so much more freedom to do what I want, without having to constantly worry whether I'm playing them out of character.

Of course, it also depends on who I am writing with. If they are a very understanding person and they grant me plenty of freedom then I'll be more than happy to play a fandom/canon character for them. I've done it before and I have had tons of fun. But it has to be with the right role-playing partner. There is always the risk of upsetting someone who thinks your playing canon characters the wrong way.
I prefer original characters - but that stems from my fear of not being able to play anyone else's characters 'properly'. The same reason I err away from writing commissions - I'm scared I can't do people's OCs justice! Exactly the same with canon characters.

That, and sometimes I find the pre-existing universe constraining. Certainly if I don't know the lore - but even if I do. Fitting my characters into an existing storyline, mainly. Mind you, I am a semi-realism fan, so I might be biased lol!

I do have huge respect for anyone who plays canon characters, though! It takes a lot of understanding and research.

Also - I'd personally find it weird to see someone playing the same character as me haha! But I can imagine if someone's playing a different character from the same canon, it's great.
I prefer OC's. I hate fandoms so much that I refuse to rp with them. I have barely a handful that I will make an exception for. My reasoning is that a lot of people don't play them correctly or even attempt to. Essentially they're using it as a faceclaim. That's also the reason I don't rp as them either. If I do then I'm making an alternate version so I don't need to be accurate.
Interesting replies so far!

I started text roleplay from its tabletop/video game perspective, with OCs in established IPs and settings, and wrote strictly original fiction all through school. You know Tina Belcher? Friend fictions? That was us, trading journals and notes and sketches believing we were creating something unique, self-inserts in every corner lmao.

But I got some exposure to media studies and creative discourse, and found out there's really no such thing as original. Stories are old, humanity is old, and what we read or watch or hear as 'new' is really just a remix of all the language and culture and themes to have come before.

My favorite parallel, when discussing original vs fanwork: DaVinci was a fanartist.

The use of the term 'canon' when discussing fanworks? Yeah, originally used in religious discussions to refer to proven texts vs the reading/listening public's interpretation of those texts. Not only is storytelling as old as humanity, but so is fandom discourse.
>B]

So I started writing fanfiction as a bridge -- fandoms cast wider readership nets, and original fiction is INCREDIBLY difficult to market to the internet, for free, especially if it doesn't serve a more viscerally fascinating niche like romance or horror (ask the creepypasta authors, listen to the NoSleep and LORE and WTNV, horror fandoms THRIVE on the internet). I found so many writers and artists sharing OCs and stories over the years, developed lasting friendships and chronicles of growth, migrated with the waning online galleries and forums. And, eventually, I found a writer with AMAZING prose and dialogue, but who only roleplayed fandoms, and I figured I could get over myself just a little, just this once, to cross the bridge between fandom and original here too, because bridges are made to connect things.

That writer eventually married me.

Didn't matter if I did a 'good job' at the fandom roleplay, I did a human job using human lore in a human-made IP, and got to connect with another human being over the characters' human flaws. Storytelling is as old as humanity, and so is fandom. The only difference is, fandom grows by the publishing money that's used to reach a broader audience -- and that's okay.
I'm damn notorious for playing as canon/licensed characters. I'm incredibly guilty for it and anyone who knows me knows I've been doing it for as long as I can remember. I find that taking a pre-existing character and attempting to fit within the brackets of their world, views, personality, standards, etc. is a challenge for me. And while I will occasionally take a canon and make alterations at my leisure, I only ever do so when that canon has been altered enough canonically. For example, I play Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock has undergone immense transformations -- my partner even made a joke at Books-a-Million about it once -- Sherlock was created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the character along with the books now belong to the public domain. Different variations of shows, writings, interpretations, theories, rhetoric, etc. have been done with the characters to a point, as my partner put it, that Sherlock has reached the stage where just about anyone can write fanfiction about him, and get it published.

Of course, I don't go crazy with this newfound artistic liberty. I enjoy staying as true to the character as I can possibly muster, but I do like taking the knowledge I've acquired from the literature and mixing it with the modern-era show. There have been some absolutely amazing theories and pieces I've read from people with PhDs that focus a humble amount of their life's work on understanding the character and his processes. I can only hope to glean from the surface of some of the material I've read and apply it to my portrayal. It's all pretty amazing -- the different perspectives and thoughts!

It all boils down to doing what makes you happy though. As a person who plays a crap ton of canon characters, I have had more than my fair share of being talked down to, told I was unimaginative, segregated from groups, harassed, demeaned, and what have you for being 'uncreative' or 'lazy' by choosing this route. But believe you me, if you want to play a canon, there is a heavy amount of research that goes into it, even if there are a lot of artistic liberties for some of them.

So there you have it! Sorry, it was so long-winded. I just enjoy the opportunity to say my piece and speak on behalf of the fandom side of things. I hope that everyone kindly accepts all forms of writing for what they are, particularly when the author is genuinely trying, because behind whatever character they are attempting to portray is someone who is connected to that role on some level and they want to share that with everyone else!
publius wrote:
Aardbei wrote:
I'm not sure if we're talking about fan characters, or canon characters. I've played a few fan characters as well as original characters not tied to a pre-existing universe, and like both for different reasons.

I don't think I would like playing a canon character very much because of the reason stated above: It's hard to keep track of who a character should be, and some people have different interpretations of who a character should be in the first place. If I were to play Tails from Sonic, I feel I could do that comfortably because he's one of my favorite characters in anything, but the way I might play him might not be how my partner sees him, especially as he has different interpretations in different versions of his canon and I disagree with the way he is portrayed in even the canon sources sometimes.

It's just easier to play a character that is mine, than to navigate the expectations of adopting someone else's baby, if that makes sense.

Fair enough. Being in character is something that people worry a lot about on platforms mostly catering to fandom character rp. For the most part I’ve found that people are fairly open to interpretation, but you always get somebody who doesn’t like how you play character XYZ.

I think the pros of fandom rp is that it lets you really expand on characters you like. As a fanfic writer, fandom rp is a great way to get into a character’s head and work out how to write about them.

Admittedly, I'd also be that way about characters I like. If someone "stole" a character I wanted to play as before I got the chance, especially, I'd be critical of their performance. Playing my own characters circumvents this entirely for me.

I'm also that person who only does fandom stuff if people can remain reasonably close to the canon though. I don't find wacky interpretations of Things I Already Like As They Are that appealing, and wonder why some people feel the need to "fix" them, or whatever. (Ex: Everyone who wants to play a Pokemon setting, but make it darker for some reason. I showed up to play Pokemon, you're getting a bit far from the pitch here.)
Ive been portraying canon characters for as long as I can remember. I firstly entered this roleplaying world with little to no knowledge of what this was about, all I knew was that I was meant to pick a character and write it, that I would have more people to interact that with their own characters. I was told I could either write one character entirely made up by me or any character of my liking from any series or movies I would fancy. So, my first character was Katherine Pierce from TVD(The Vampire Diaries). Call it crazy, but back in the days I thought it would be easier to grab an already existent character from some fandom and be the characters. I would try my hardest to be as loyal as possible to the character's essence, and do right by it(the character) as much as I could. I ebentually got accostumated to writing canon and for a long while I didn't have an oc of mine.

The canon I wrote for longer was Sam Winchester, and I can't say that I was totally what most expect of him, I would mostly portray according to my own perspective of the character, I put my best efforts into geting in the character's mind and think 'what would San do', and it was natural, because I would go throught his mindset, what I had seen of him at the show. Now I'm aware that no one will be able to please everyone with their own versions of canon characters, and it's pratically impossible to write a canon as accurate as the creator of the character. We gotta live with it and allow our creative minds to go with the flow. That's what I did. I love Sam and his brotherhood with Dean, I think Sam has his up and downs throughout the series and often desappoints Dean.... They are amazing characters who went throught well but stood together nothless.... Sam was a good charcater if you ask me cause he wasn't perfect, but he tries to change.


I have so much more to say about writing canons, but I won't and I can't put it all here. I just thought I could share my thoughts about the matters with all due respect to all the writers around here and their likings.
I'll have to throw my hat into the 'Original' circle.
I have in some fandom-based roleplays written some parts for a canon character, but they were always secondary and more as an NPC in the story, and never anything out of their character. My main character in a fandom is always an OC.
I'm definitely, 'original.' I used to really like playing canon characters but I just don't have the drive for it any more. I really prefer my own creations and building an original world with people.

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