Hello everyone! Do you have an OC in your Fullmetal Alchemist fanfiction? Is she a State Alchemist at 13? Or is she the newest addition to the Homunculi? Don't tell me...you've been told that (s)he is a Mary Sue because of it, right? Hey, don't cry! You can still pull it off; with a bit of tweaking, that is. Or better yet, you don't even need it! (But 99.3% of the time, you need some work).

FMA Trope #1: State Alchemist for Hire

Okay guys, how many of us have seen this one before: "My OC is the Tidal Alchemist. She became a State Alchemist at teh age of 13, and she's almost as good as Edward (maybe better)! Oh! Oh! And she's teh 2nd-youngest State Alchemist..." oh God help me! Not another one! These Kiddie Alchemists are almost guarenteed to come from Edward Elric's or Alphonse Elric's fanbase (and if not theirs, then probably Roy Mustang's). But is an OC with Certification always a bad thing? Not nessacerily (ugh! I know I spelled that wrong!). Here are some things to keep in mind when dealing with this type of character:

1. The Military Isn't Fun, Kids! Edward didn't just say "Gee, I think it would be cool to become the youngest State Alchemist in all of history!" And sure, while it does have it's perks (the shiny pocket-watch, the uber-cool alias, that awesome uniform), keep in mind what you have to do to get it; join the military! Think about it; imagine joining the armed forces at the tender age of twelve (12/douze!). It's not some cool club. This means war, blood, guts, the thought that you might die on the battlefield...not so fun now, is it? That is exactly what Edward Elric did. Why did he do it? To aid in his search for the Philosopher's Stone. So my advice?
*Don't do it for fun. (S)he may have had some tragic event that triggered them having to join. Not 'lost mommy and tried to bring her back,' kind of thing, but more like 'an Ishbalan refugee who needed the extra money (it pays you know) to support his/her family.' That's just my example. Try to keep your motive and backstory different from Ed's, or else you've got a Clone Sue on your hands.

2. Why the Teeny-Boppers? I know this may be hard for you, but consider making your OC a twenty-something rather than a little teenager. Why? Well, two reasons; First off, it's true, we're kind of sick of all the teenage alchemist characters in FMA fanfiction. And secondly, for all you Roy fangirls, she'd have better luck with him if she were closer to his age. Besides, I don't know if you noticed, but out of all the State Alchemists in that show, not a single one of them is female! Lyra wanted to be one, but, well, that ended crappy for her (SPOILER?). Just the mere fact that you've got the '1st Lady Alchemist' would be enough, don't you agree?

3. Enough With the Pwnage-Powers! Please people, stop making your OC so damn uber-powerful that they're able to kick the ass of anyone else in the cast! '(S)he can transmute without a circle...' Whoa! Back the truck up! What? No hun, that's Ed's territory. Unless, like I said, you have a good reason for it (your OC would've had to see the Gate of Truth, and consequently lose a body part). I'd say being almost as good as (not just as good or even better than) Edward Elric is perfectly fine, but when you're stealing spotlight, expect a little retaliation.

4. Ed & Al's Sista! Yup, the famous 'Long Lost Sister' line. Hm...well, I guess it's okay, so long as you make her considerably distinct from her brothers (Edward and Alphonse are polar opposites for Pete's sakes!). Being the 'Other Elric Girl' doesn't mean going crazy when someone calls you short, nor does it mean going gaga for a wittle kitty. Besides, Ed and Al already have a long-lost sister...er, I mean, brother.

5. In the Eye of the Beholder. Oh, we've all heard this one before: she's soooooo beautiful! She's so hot that Ed and Roy are fighting over her, and all the guys think she's HAWT! Stop! Please just stop. I'm not saying she has to be ugly, but don't make the readers hear over and over and over and over and over how sexy she is! Keep in mind, beauty is a matter of opinion. Let the reader get some mental image of how attractive she is (since it's an anime setting, she's bound to be cute), and don't torture them with the emphasis. And even if she is really good-looking, don't have the guys gushing. People have different tastes. Some like a certain build; some prefer blondes, or brunettes, or redheads (or the adorable blue-haired girl, apparently). There are Jean Havocs (read: buxom is better), and those that like some junk in the trunk. And even if she appeals to at least one type of guy, he's not going to obsess over her! It's not like his mind is a Justin Bieber album, where every track is about his girl. He has other interests.

*Well folks, I hope this helped. Sorry if I slipped out any spoilers, and my apologies for the dig about Justin Bieber.*

Coming up: the Eighth Homunculus Trope!