I have been seeing a lot of two types of OC's; the the male/female trope that contains the more aggressive and dominating males and the sweet and intelligent females and the direct cannon character copy(most common tends to be Mapleshade); while these are not bad per se they're ununique and tend to lead to uninteresting role-plays. I've also seen a fair bit of clashing personality traits and I will admit I am guilty of that.
I get that we all want our characters to be the main characters in our own stories, we want them to be complex and interesting so we pile things on even if they don't make too much sense and this can lead to an OC with so much piled on it's hard to keep track of, and frankly stressful to role-play as.
We don't need complexity to make our OC unique, what we need is a well thought out and coherent idea that makes up your character itself.
Here are some rules I would suggest keeping in mind(click)
- Do not add unnecessary elements, everything must be important (if you cannot figure out an aspect of your character from that element, get rid of it)
- Keep it simple, yet dynamic include a trait that stands out (multi-coloured eyes, a scar, a marking, unique iris shape, paw size, a skin disorder etc.)
- Avoid conflicting tropes (i.e kind but vicious under certain circumstances)
- Avoid overused tropes in general, don't create a Mapleshade/Firestar 2.0
- Your character doesn't have to be hyper-realistic but maintain some sense of an understanding of reality (try some unique pelt colours, but don't go neon yellow)
- Unless your characters realm or group forbids it, add something personal, like a flower crown, a collar, dog tags, hell even a prosthetic leg (that last one may be a neat plot point for your character, how would they care for it? how would other characters view it? what happens if it were to break?)
Now that that is over let's move onto picking out a design because this can be one of the hardest parts of character design.
(Feel free to swap back in between idea and this to help you)
You'd probably want to start by picking out a breed/species so here are some examples to get you going. __________________________________________________
British Columbia wolf
Great plains wolf
Alexander Archipelago wolf
Vancouver island wolf
African wild dog
Falklands island wolf
Now, you have a breed(s) picked out, which narrows down your design drastically, very helpful. Do a bit of browsing online to find something that you find appealing or find two images and mash them together to get your ultimate OC.
Eye-colour is a bit tricky, depending on what you've chosen, in Huskies heterochromia is more common than most others. Otherwise, the most common eye colour is a shade of brown.
Cats have a little more leeway but the most common eye-colour amongst them is yellow. Try to use a bit of colour-theory for the eyes. Or better yet assign an eye-colour based on your characters core emotion.
What is a core emotion?
We'll delve deeper into it in the personality section but as a basic example you have;
Brown; Dependable/Loyal (Comfort)
(Don't be afraid of using dynamic colours, we are a race of talking organized animals)
Here is a chart for eyes that may help
PELT & PATTERNS
There are a MULTITUDE of pelt patterns so instead of listing them, I will be borrowing images from Messybeast.com
(these are in no way owned by me and are being used for constructive purposes)
Alright, this is how I use colours to convey things in my characters, I will try and simplify it, but this could get complicated, I find it a fun method to use.
Lets take a look at this colour chart (Not mine, I will link back to the origional source)
COLOURS AND THEIR MEANINGS
NOTE: I have a personal way of seeing colours that probably isn't the same as other people but this guide is a starting point, not an end all be all, we will be categorizing colours into emotions too. These core emotions are sort of the building blocks of your character.
The moment you've all been waiting for!
BEFORE WE JUMP IN
Naming a character can be daunting! Especially if its a warrior cats character then you have to pick TWO names for them!
Here are some pointers for picking your OC's name!
- Does it fit their personality?
(If your character is as kind as can be, does a name like Wickedclaw fit? NO!)
- Does it flow nicely?
(Say the name out loud, as an EX Rainchaser flows better than Mulberrywhisper)
- Is it unique?
(A name like Littleberry is more unique than (Name)Claw/Pelt/Tail)
- (for those non-clanners) Is the name dynamic?
(A name like Salem or [insert cannon character name from tv show] has been overused to an extensive point, try something new like Gael, or Lumber)
Watcher (Tbh combining prefix's makes for better names)
HEY LOOK QUESTIONS
I suggest asking yourself these before giving your character a trait as serious as this.
- Does this illness contribute to your character?
(Is it there just to be there or is there a reason?)
- Is this illness why your character is evil?
(If your character goes through psychosis or has schizophrenia is this the reason why they do bad things? If so I suggest you be careful as to not generalize and recognize that most schizophrenics do not harm people and are almost always not a danger. Mapleshade is a complicated subject and I will be using her as an example in the future.)
- Are you basing their disability off of tropes or actual facts?
(It's fine to have fun with it but do not make it a stereotype it does more harm than help)
- How does this disability affect them and their peers?
(Surely this trait would affect how the world views and reacts to them in some way)
- How does your character think about themselves/their disability?
(Do they hate it? have they learned to live with it? does it not affect them much?)
BIG NOTE: Mental health is a serious subject, and I will not be attempting to explain it in depth because I am not a mental health professional; I am an obsessive 16-year-old. I am merely here to try and aid you with my slightly above average knowledge on the subject, and I will gladly accept any critisim as long as you can provide facts/sources to back your statement or I have the time to confirm or deny your statement.
MORE TBA; I'm back, but this update was mostly dedicated to fixing spelling and grammatical errors while I work on the next section I intend to put a lot of effort into it to make sure it is as helpful as possible <3