Hello, all! I have returned from the land of the living! That is to say, I have returned from the mythical land of real life. And I will, again, be talking about more Mary Sues/Gary Stus.
I think I may have touched on this in the last chapter a bit, what with the talking about intelligence and all that, but a problem that I and many of my friends have with OCs is their ability to do anything without any effort at all. They start learning Russian, and they're fluent the next day. They pick up Calculus or Particle Physics, and they have their PhDs handy the next time someone asks. They just seem to be so impossibly capable that it's hard to believe, even for one second, that they are actual people in an actual story. And the most irritating thing is that they're humble about it. I mean, if I could do that, I think I might be pretty damn pleased with myself. But no, a lot of the time, they're really humble. Which isn't a bad thing, it's just that it's annoying coupled with the fact that the character is a Vulcan.
I admit freely that some people have a penchant for learning certain things. My family has a soft spot for mathematics, and my sister can do relatively hard problems within minutes. (If she's awake enough.) However, these people do have limitations on what they're good at. People, for the most part, are good at a few, specific things, and then they're average at most other things. They can't do everything right on the first try, and they're probably going to be proud of the certain things they can do right.
I feel like a lot of the time, the people who are writing fanfiction are writing it a self-insert fic disguised as an OC story, and they use these overdone and over exaggerated characteristics in order to cover up their flaws and make them feel better about themselves. I'm sorry, but this is not the way to feel better about yourself. That is a sure-fire way of making yourself miserable, because if you keep comparing yourself to a super perfect character, you're going to end up in the dumps.
To make your character believable, you have to be able to practice some sort of moderation with their abilities. For example, you may want to make a list of the things your character is good at, and a list of the things your character is not good at. If the benefits your character has outweigh the drawbacks, you may want to consider crossing off a few of the items off of your list.
In addition, you may want to make your character have to work for what they want to be good at, instead of them just being naturally good at it. This makes your character more relatable and likable: people will not be annoyed because this is something that most people do. They work for something they want to have. They work for their intelligence, they work for their jobs, and they work for everything they get in life. For example, if you want to make sure your character is good at fighting, you may want to include some context for why they learned fighting in the first place. An idea that you can steal is that they learned how to fight because they wanted to learn to defend them. (I know that I learned how to do martial arts as a young child for this reason.)
If you want your character able to handle a sword with ease, they have to practice for hours and hours, for years and years. Swords are not light objects; it takes years of practice for people to be able to hold them for extended periods of time, much less swing them in a specific way to deal a lot of damage. Swords also give you callouses and wiry muscle. They also make you sweaty and gross, but that's beside the matter. The point is that you're not going to be swinging a sword around and doing fancy tricks on the first day of your sword lessons, unless you want to lob your own head off.
Now, I would give you an example to sort of see how this would look in practice (even though I'm an amateur writer), but this sort of thing requires context, and a lot of it. It would have turned out to be something around three paragraphs or more, and that would just be annoying to read, so I won't both you with it.
Another thing I see a lot in fanfiction is the semi-horrifying romances that are written. (Many that I've read have contained semi-questionable relationships, that bordered on abusive because the author was trying to use their own fantasies of the character to suit their character. Not cool, kids. Possessiveness is cute sometimes, but when it gets all up in your grill, it's just a big no-no.)
I am going to use an example from the Katekyo Hitman Reborn fandom to explain this, because this is where I see it the most, unfortunately. (My beautiful anime… I love you.)
I see that people make this OC where they are loud, talkative, and, let's face it, annoying. However, they manage to get the infamous Namimori disciplinarian to fall in love with him/her! They get to call the bane of Nami-chuu Kyo-chan, tackle hug this demon, and do all sorts of crazy stuff around the guy that just makes readers feel uncomfortable and Amano Akira cry herself to sleep.
I see some problems with this. First of all, Kyoya is kind of a huge dick. (We love him anyway.) He does not tolerate anyone's bullcrap, and he definitely won't tolerate crap like this OC is spewing at him. He would probably bite this OC to death, and not in a sexy way, either. (If that can be construed as sexy. It sounds to me like Hibari sinking his teeth into an animal and snapping its neck. Kind of weird.)
Second, Hibari despises loud people! I don't know where you got the idea that he'd be happy with an extraordinarily loud partner, unless (s)he could defeat him in a fight (which is unlikely), but he'd probably bonk this character on the head a couple of times and hope that she got brain damage. He doesn't like people to disturb him. He's like a big, grouchy, black cat. He does whatever the fuck he wants. You don't own him. He owns you.
Third, why would he allow you to call him Kyo-chan? Why? He's not a girl. His name is not "Kyo". His name is Hibari Kyoya. And I'm relatively sure he'd like to be addressed as such. Or, at least, as respectfully as you can possibly manage, you peasant.
Your character cannot act like this around Hibari Kyoya, and then expect to not get bitten to death. And besides, I'd imagine that Mr. Dickwad—I mean, Hibari would like to find someone who could fight, who was quiet and submissive, and someone who was, above all, traditional. He seems to value traditional Japanese ideals, in my opinion. Not some wonky girl that glomps him and shows excessive displays of affection. Many people are uncomfortable with too much PDA, and Hibari would be no exception. Remember that the characters in your fandom are also modeled after people, and are not playthings for you to rip apart and destroy.
Okay, that's all I have to say today. Ciao!