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Touhou OC guides by Morachu


Submitted on
September 9, 2012


49 (who?)
Updated November 2, 2012: Added excuses 11-13, changed some of the language.

I've been getting a boat-load of messages lately about stories "inspired" by Diamond In The Rough, and by "inspired," I mean 20% drawing ideas from (like ChibiChen's rather nice "Mind The Gap" fic) and 80% blatantly ripping off (these fics are mostly unpublished to my knowledge because they never make it past my criticisms). Also in the wake of DitR and the riff I co-opped with Stevothehuman about Lost In Gensokyo is militant anti-Gappy tendencies. I write this to put to rest some concerns about Touhou OCs, address some issues that many people have overlooked, and perhaps inspire others in the ways DitR or Lost In Gensokyo did or did not.

There are four kinds of Touhou OCs:
1. Outsiders
2. Natives
3. Outsider Sues/Stus
4. Native Sues/Stus

The first two are good. The second two are bad if unintentional and good if taken apart like in DitR or Mind The Gap.

1. Outsiders: Characters who have been gapped into Gensokyo, entered on their own, broke into Gensokyo, came on a mission/trip from another fantasy realm, and so on. They go to Gensokyo and exist among the canon characters, but still let the canon characters shine. The humans often treat Gensokyo as any of us would treat a foreign country: bewilderment, isolation, curiosity, some fear and surprise, and they try to adapt to this world rather than have the world adapt to them. If they stay long enough, they eventually get over the weirdness and run with the fantasy setting. The non-humans will often create incidents upon arrival, but still get their butts kicked by Reimu and Marisa and have tea with them in the end.
2. Natives: Characters who have existed in Gensokyo for some time. They can be humans who have lived there since birth, former outsiders who have since naturalized into Gensokyo, youkai who have lived there forever, or youkai who have traveled to Gensokyo and naturalized. If they are related to a canon character, they are either equal in power or slightly less powerful (which is why you never heard of them). They may partake in incidents, but if they're in the way of the main cast, they will get annihilated either directly (like in the games) or indirectly (like in the canon comics).
3. Outsider Sues/Stus: Similar to the regular outsider, but with a more sinister twist: they go to Gensokyo as their personal vacation spot, or to emotionally manipulate one or more of the women, to conquer its people to show how "heroic" or "powerful" they are, or to prove some kind of point. Instead of existing among the canon characters, the canon characters exist among them: the only purpose of the canon cast is to take care of the Stus/Sues, love them, explain the world to them, give them a guided tour of Gensokyo, or hate them and subsequently get their ass kicked by them. They do not let the canon cast shine, because they absolutely MUST be in the spotlight at all times, and even if the canon cast is alone, all they'll do is talk about the Stu/Sue. They win every battle: even if they're unarmed and fighting Flandre, they'll dodge all of her attacks and punch her out in one hit. These characters make it their personal mission to go to every single location in Gensokyo before they leave, even though it's their first time there. They are permanently bewildered by everything they see: even though they've seen weird thing after weird thing, they never seem to realize they are in another world. Yet, for some reason, they *NEVER* feel fear: they go into every battle with anger and determination, knowing they will win, which is always the case. Non-human outsider Stus/Sues are a rarity, because most bad writers simply have themselves gapped in because they have no imagination: they can only think of how *they* would get to Gensokyo, and since they're often from another country (especially in the English-speaking Touhou world), they have to resort to Yukari because it would never occur to them to write the character as being from Japan or a youkai journeying to Gensokyo like many of the canon bosses. Predictably, outsider youkai Stus/Sues are almost always invincible villains that will maliciously kill canon characters unceremoniously. If they are "good," they will most likely fix everything in Gensokyo, turning it into a twisted dystopian faux paradise where everyone worships this new being. Either way, they all carry a creepy subtext: these are all the things the writers want to do if they were to go Gensokyo, no matter how sexually devious or violent it may seem. When these archetypes are taking apart, they serve to show how selfish, immature, sociopathic, and impulsive these kinds of characters are.
4. Native Sue/Stu: Characters who have lived in Gensokyo their whole lives or naturalized into Gensokyo, but are so ridiculous in backstory and power that it's a wonder why we haven't heard of these beings before, except there *is* a reason why: they're not believable or likeable to anyone but the writer. They are often directly related to canon characters because the writer is not imaginative enough to think of the character existing without leeching off another character's fame, and they are always more powerful than the character they are related to. When they partake in incidents, they often cause the "biggest incident in Gensokyo" or they solve it easily after the other characters fail, often because the writers wants to prove the Sue/Stu is better than the canon cast. When they are taken apart, they serve the same purpose as the previous archetype.

People write the first two archetypes because...
-They love Touhou, its characters, and its settings.
-They're interested in adding a character who would make a great addition to the cast without gutting the original cast.
-They like telling stories for the sake of entertaining others and explore creative possibilities.
-They want to explore the creative possibilities of the Touhou setting and combination of characters.
-They want to test the character traits of canon characters against unfamiliar characters.
-They want to create original Touhou scenarios not seen in the games.
-It's fun for both them and the audience.

People who write the latter two archetypes unintentionally have more sinister reasons...
-They secretly hate Touhou, its characters, and its setting, and they believe they can do better. If not, they can at least humiliate the strong female cast by turning them into whining, helpless damsels in distress who must be saved by the big, strong man from the outside world (sexism AND light racism).
-They want to make a character BETTER than the original cast to show how poorly written the canon cast are.
-They tell stories so others will praise them, and/or so they can express their ideas, no matter how twisted they may be.
-They want the cast of Touhou praising their character, who is often a fictional version of themselves. In other words, they want the cast of Touhou praising them.
-They want the world to see how awesome their character is based solely on costume or backstory, not personality or psychology. The writer is too shallow to understand that the character is not their powers, but what they do with their powers.
-They do not want to create original scenarios, but show how they can "improve" on familiar settings or concepts. To develop an original idea would be too much work.
-It's fun for *them only*. If you disagree, they believe you are a moron.

"But wait," I hear you saying if you fall into the second half, "I have an excuse." No, you don't. Allow me to destroy them:

Excuse #1: I *like* Touhou! I just like my character way, way, way, waaay, waaaaaay more.
Response: Then don't shoehorn that character into the Touhou universe. As fellow Walfaser/fanfic conasuir/bad fic riffer/awesome dude Stevothehuman says, HONOR THE ORIGINAL SERIES, because that's why we *read* fanfics to begin with. Your character may compel you to write the fic, but it's the series that brings *us* into it. If you think your character is more important than Touhou, we will pick this up in the reading and detest you and your character for it, because we like Touhou: NOT your character.
Remedy: Remember that your character is an addition to the cast, not someone to steal the spotlight from more established characters. If you can, do this exercise: write a Touhou fanfic using only the canon cast. If you don't want to because that would require research, read the next excuse...

Excuse #2: I know *my* character, and writing other characters is so hard!
Response: Stories are about the actions and reactions of *all* of the characters. The Touhou cast are not simply mouthpieces for exposition or ideas, but living, breathing beings with their own sets of ideas and values. Use Touhou Wiki (not Wikia, but the English Touhou Wiki) to gather research for your characters, and read their in-game transcripts to get a feel for the characters (and if you have games where they are playable characters, watch their endings to find their deepest character traits). There is no one way to interpret a character, so feel free to give your own spin on the characters. Besides, if you can't write the psychologies of the rest of the cast, how can you write the psychology for your own character, let alone design it to compliment/contrast the rest of the cast?
Remedy: Understand the concept of cast dynamics and character traits. Characterization is what your character looks like and acts without any pressure, while Deep Character is who the character is underneath the characterization and how they act under pressure, revealing either desperation, cowardice, heroism, kindness, or evil underneath. Cast dynamics pits character traits against eachother so each character brings out eachother's emotions, like fear, anger, happiness, loyalty, admiration, or jealousy.

Excuse #3: My character deserves to be liked because they have a tragic backstory where-
Response: Stop right there. Backstory is only a tool to help you write the character, not dump into the story for "why" we should like the character. For example, Dumbledore from the Harry Potter series is apparently gay, but this was only known to J.K. Rowling to write his character and mannerisms. If backstory was all that mattered for making character sympathetic, listen to this story: once upon a time there was an art student who got rejected from art school and sent to prison, but then one day, he became the leader of his country and tried uniting Europe under his rule. He also loved his dog and had a youth group named after him. Using the logic of your argument, the man I just described, Adolf Hitler, is a sympathetic character. But wait: isn't he responsible for the death of millions? YES! Once we see what the character does in the main story, World War 2, the backstory ceases to be interesting.
Remedy: See the previous exercises, but also do this: write the fic using as little exposition as possible. Write the story as if the reader already knows the setting and cast (which they probably will) and pretend they know your original character as well.

Excuse #4: Although my character is facing the same events, my character is different because...
Response: No. It's not different. If your character is an ordinary boy who is gapped into Gensokyo by Yukari, doesn't remember a thing, is apparently the "chosen one" or something to solve some big incident, he goes to the Hakurei shrine for tea with Marisa spouting "ze" a lot, and then goes on a grand tour of Gensokyo with no clear goal until you've hit a certain self-imposed length requirement, giving him a different costume will not make him different. If you want to be different, give your character one specific goal that takes place in only one or two specific locations and a handful of characters. The more characters you include, the more scenes you must write for those characters, seriously increasing the length and diminishing how much we know of the rest of the cast.
Remedy: Define the characters (characterization, deep character), define the goal (what do they want and what will they do to get it?), and forget about hitting those "beats" typical of bad fanfics. Instead, give the original character one goal in one setting with only a few characters maximum. As the classic proverb goes, "Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial." Just because you can do anything in a fic doesn't mean it's a good idea: limit the events to only that of the genre or concept you are doing. In other words, if it's a horror, stick to the scenes where the character's safety is at stake; if it's a romance, stick to scenes about the push-pull of the character's relationship; if it's a tragedy, stick to scenes where the main character either comes closer to safety or falling into despair. That way, we can avoid another unnecessary "Tea with Reimu and Marisa" scene.

Excuse #5: My character isn't overpowered. I just heard that good guys aren't supposed to lose.
Response: WRONG!!! Good guys lose all the time, and it is often the most dramatic point in the story. Tragedies are all about good guys losing. While they must not *always* lose, it's the push-pull between victory and defeat, pleasure and pain, getting close to the goal and further away that drives stories and makes them fun and emotionally powerful.
Remedy: Know your characters weakness and let them succumb to it at every opportunity. In fact, great character arcs are often built out of giving characters a weakness and having them overcome that weakness. You can also practice The Paradigm in story structure: developed by Syd Field and shortened by Dan Wells, it goes like this (in the order of which you write it, numbered chronologically):
7. Epilogue: How the story ends. The character is now the opposite of the beginning.
1. Prologue: How the story starts. The opposite of the Epilogue. If the character ends a humble hero, start him as a headstrong jerk.
4. Midpoint: A significant event that links the Prologue and Epilogue.
2. Plot Point 1: The first event that drives the character to the Epilogue.
6. Plot Point 2: The final event that drives the character to the Epilogue, finalizing the character's arc. This is pulled out of the previous crisis in Pinch Point 2, to be discussed.
3. Pinch Point 1: The first major conflict the character must face to transition from the Prologue to the Epilogue.
5. Pinch Point 2: The worst thing that can happen to the character, just before pulling himself/herself together in Plot Point 2. This is often the moment where the character's behavior from the Prologue gets them into HUGE trouble.

In order, it looks like this...
1. Prologue
2. Plot Point 1
3. Pinch Point 1
4. Midpoint
5. Pinch Point 2
6. Plot Point 2
7. Epilogue

For example, let's use this old classic which requires no introduction...
1. Prologue: Once upon a time, there was a whiny farmboy looking for adventure. Also, the galaxy is at war: it's an evil Empire against a bunch of rather decent Rebels.
2. Plot Point 1: That whiny farmboy gets two robots who secretly house a distress call from a princess to a local Jedi knight.
3. Pinch Point 1: Unfortunately, the Empire knows the whiny farmboy has the robots and seek him out.
4. Midpoint: Aboard the planet-sized space station, the whiny farmboy must learn to trust his skills to save the princess and battle his way out. Also, the Princess, a stand-in for the Rebels, must stop running away and start bringing the pain (and she does).
5. Pinch Point 2: The Empire kills his Jedi knight teacher, they track him, the princess, and the robots back to the hidden base, and the attack on the station is a suicide mission.
6. Plot Point 2: The whiny farmboy finally trusts in both himself and The Force and destroys the space station, saving the Rebel Alliance.
7. Epilogue: The whiny farmboy is now a freaking hero, and the Rebels are safe... for now...

Also, let's use Diamond In The Rough, since it's based on the story of a typical Gappy Stu (minor spoilers, but this only concern's Brolli's story: the heartwrenching subplots are not included)...
1. Prologue: Brolli Diamondback is a selfish jerk who never thinks through his actions.
2. Plot Point 1: Brolli gets a call to go Gensokyo where can gain infinite power.
3. Pinch Point 1: Gensokyo is horribly dangerous, and his behavior scares the residents.
4. Midpoint: The death of Ferin makes him realize gaining power is not everything. Instead, he should think about what he has and try to protect it.
5. Pinch Point 2: Just about everyone in Gensokyo wants Brolli dead, and it's caused an incident large enough to virtually destroy it.
6. Plot Point 2: With nothing to lose (or rather, nothing to gain if he does survive), Brolli sacrifices himself in a fight with Tenshi, just so the people of Gensokyo will feel safe without him AND stop the incident in one blow.
7. Epilogue: Brolli Diamondback is finally self-aware of his actions, remorseful to others over the things he's done.

Excuse #6: Well, my friends really like my work, and my parents think I'm a good writer. Besides, I like the character, and that's what matters the most, right?
Response: Your parents are genetically inclined to like your work and your friends are either too nice to tell you that your character comes off as a despicable jerk or they like how you gave them a character cameo. Sure, you may like the character now, but when you delve into the character's psychology, you may come to find you hate them, and a few rewrites will make you love them more than before. Don't let your loved ones blind you from catering to the rest of us: by improving your stories for everyone else, your loved ones will really, REALLY like your work.
Remedy: First, let's dash your little view of how much you think your friends and family write your work: write the worst story you can and show it to them. Deliberately create plot holes, overpower the character, screw up the timeline, everything. Nine times out of ten, the people you personally know will still love it and call you "talented." Then, do all the other exercises, improve until people who don't know you are floored by your work, and THEN show your loved ones your work. Again, nine times out of ten, they will replace their stone-faced, "It's good," remarks and replace them with, "Holy crap, this is amazing! You've really, really, REALLY improved," remarks.

Excuses 7-10 submitted by Stevothehuman (:iconstevosstuff:).

Excuse #7: I spent weeks, even months, on this character!
Response: You can also spend weeks, even months, writing a concerto that only consists of one note played at random intervals. If this is the fruit of your labor, it will anger people when they realize you spent weeks, even months, on a character who is essentially a bunch of powers, weapons, and costumes pasted onto a name. This is one of the cases where, "Don't work smarter, work HARDER," is not true: it's not about how long it takes you to develop this character, but *WHAT* you put on this character that matters. I must reiterate that is the character's psychology and behavior, not their weapons or powers or backstory, that make them what they are. Spending five hours fleshing out a character's morals, ticks, beliefs, and fears is far, far more efficient than spending weeks, even months, finding the right kind of hat or the backstory of how they got their house-sized sword.
Remedy: Spend more time writing the psychology and behavior of the character! Don't even think about adding costumes or backstory or anything until you understand how that character will react to everything and anything. You'll find that defining the psychology first will influence the character's costume, choice of weapons, and so on later.

Excuse #8: My character has flaws! Look, I wrote it in their bio!
Response: Like Excuse #3, the main story will always trump the backstory or other notes. If we can't see the flaws in-story, we simply don't see them. More importantly, if we can't see the flaws affect the character in-story, the flaw is more of a character gimmick. For example, Bella Swan in Twilight is supposed to be extremely clumsy, but this never comes to harm her, even while hanging out on the treetops with Edward. On the other hand, look at Tony Stark, aka Iron Man: he's uncooperative, selfish, lazy, and narcissistic on the surface, and this gets him in a lot of trouble very often. Luckily, Tony also has Deep Character traits: under pressure, he is self-sacrificing, heroic, and badass. Not only do you have to display flaws within the story itself, but the heroics as well.
Remedy: Like with Excuse #5, let the hero lose within the story itself. Write scenes where your characters succumb to their flaws. Take publisher Donald Maass's advice and give your character something they'd never say or do and make them say or do it at one point or another in the story. Take Pixar's advice and find your character's flaw and thrust them into a situation that plays that flaw to full capacity. Remember: if we can't see the flaw, we don't know it's there. Let us see those flaws within the story.

Excuse #9: Who the heck wants to read about a weak character?
Response: HUMAN BEINGS! Mythologist Joseph Campell, who studied the very origins of storytelling, says we tell stories to make sense of mortal life: all of us are stuck on a hostile planet with limited time, and even though we will *all* die, how should we live this transient life? Essayist Jean-Paul Sartre expressed that life is about scarcity: there's never enough time, money, love, justice, and so on. The Japanese have a concept called "the pathos of things," or "mono no aware," wherein there is a bittersweet beauty in the passing of huge events, and that even though something monumental may happen, the world goes on. That is why characters struggling against conflict is so compelling: we are all struggling for survival, and we admire characters who embody that struggle. Even the so-called invincible heroes are not immune: the archetypal hero Gilgamesh, told back in ancient Sumeria, was nearly perfect, but he was still mortal, and his quest for immortality gets him killed. Besides, if your character starts out as "perfect," we automatically know he is going to win every battle, so where's the tension in that? Perfect beings aren't human, and we don't care about things that aren't relatable to humanity: make your character human, make your character flawed.
Remedy: See Excuse 8's remedy. Give your character a displayable flaw and let them be affected by it. Also, power down the character significantly: let them feel fear, anxiety, or sadness when put in situations that would elicit those emotions in us normal people, and most of the time, we'll feel those emotions, too. If your character is apathetic throughout the whole thing because their powers will protect them, we will also feel apathetic. Don't let us feel apathetic: excite us by putting your characters in real danger, which is the same danger we all experience.

Excuse #10: Just wait and read on! My character will grow on you!
Response: The average attention span these days is about eight seconds, and less so if you grew up with an abundance of electronics or distractions. You may know that the character will become better as the story goes on because you have written it, but not us: we're going in blind, and we're bored to tears. As previously mentioned, stories are about our very survival, so if the story you're telling us has no effect on our survival, why should we listen? Scientific stuff aside, if you know why your character is so awesome, put it at the beginning of the story so we'll have an excuse to stick around. Remember: psychology and behavior is always more interesting than props or backstory, so don't think a cool costume or action scene will get us to like a character. Both a hero and a villain can throw a guy into a pit in a badass way, but it's the context that makes us care for the character: Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers series will throw people into a pit because they made his cat Mr. Bigglesworth upset, but Leonidus from 300 can do it and become awesome because he's protecting his people (why do you think the simple line "THIS - IS - SPARTA!!!," is so awesome?).
Remedy: Find your character's biggest emotional or moral strength and put it right near the beginning. This may include self-awareness, a modest sense of justice, or high standards or morals. Notice that costumes, powers, or action set pieces are not included. These are all character motivations. Also, any character can do good things with bad motivation or bad things with good motivation. In the otherwise bad film On Deadly Ground, the "hero," a Canon Marty Stu, unintentionally comes off as a bloodthirsty environmentalist when he kills dozens of people trying to stop an oil rig from explosion. Meanwhile, the villain comes off as an antivillain as he tries to open his oil rig before losing it and his business, so you can see why he's under pressure this compelling scene:…

Excuse #11: I can't help it. This writing stuff is hard!
Response: Now that you know what you're doing wrong, change. When you were learning to count, you didn't just give up numbers altogether when you got something out of order and tell the teacher, "I can't help it. Counting it hard!" No. You eventually figured out 2 came after 1, 3 came after 2, 2 + 2 = 4, 4 + 4 = 8, 8 x 8 = 64, and so on. You might have made mistakes, but you can help it. Trust me: even my first stories were terrible, and I would have given just about anything to have an easily accessible guide like this. You have the guide and a slew of people telling you what you're doing wrong without the fear of getting banned or exiled like me when I first started, so use the information everyone is providing.
Remedy: Stop telling yourself you can't write, because you can (or at least could). You may need a few tutorials or lessons, but the realm of fanfiction is a great place to practice because you can get an abundance of blind feedback (i.e. people who can give you an opinion on your writing without being tainted by previously knowing you). Use feedback to find out what you're doing right and wrong: If enough people respond with negative comments, stop doing it, and if enough people respond with positive comments, keep doing it. Be careful of responding to individual comments: if one person states an idea, it's just an opinion; if multiple people state/agree to an idea, it's a strong opinion and one to be taken seriously; and if everyone states an idea, it's a fact. Basically, take the most common feedback comments and use them to pinpoint what you're doing right and wrong.

Excuse #12: You better watch your words, because my OC will wipe the walls with you!
Response: No. Your OC, like all OCs, is a fictional character. Making a revenge story involving your Sue/Stu will do nothing but make you look like a jerk, and don't be surprised if a million people come out to make responses that break down your character. First, we have to care about your character for us to react to it, so telling us your OC will kick our asses is the equivalent to telling the cops that your imaginery friend will help you get away with shoplifting: you will look unjustified, and your imaginary friend will not come to help you.
Remedy: When making an OC, assume everyone will either hate or ignore that OC until proven otherwise, which is often the case when somebody comes up with an OC they think everyone will like. There's also the classic advice for all relationships, "Don't be interesting: be interested." We're not going to like your character if you make us like it: we'll only like it if the character itself entertains us on its own.

Excuse #13: Wait a minute: you've disobeyed some of your own advice! And I've seen others get away with breaking the rules, too! Why can't I?
Response: You cannot break a rule until you understand why the rule is in place. For example, your story has an open ending because you believe it's a perfectly acceptable ending when you have run out of ideas. You've seen others do it and get away with it, so you believe you can, too. Unfortunately, you get a bunch of bad reviews asking, "What the hell happened?!" You do this a few more times, and the reviews get worse and worse and people yell at you, "COME UP WITH A CLOSED ENDING YOU MORON!" Why? It turns out that the purpose of a closed ending to is bring closure to a story and an open ending is not used because you ran out of ideas, but to leave it up to the audience what happened after the open ending. Or what about stories where the characters really are overpowered? It turns out that rather than facing physical conflict, characters who are physically strong face internal/psychological conflict: they can easily win all of those battles, but do they really feel good or fulfilled about them? For every "exception to the rule," there is always an underlying reason behind those creative decisions.
Remedy: Don't just stick to the basics, but understand the basics. The phrase, "first make a successful story, then you can break the rules/do things your way," is poisonous because it assumes people will understand the basics once they apply them. This is not true: just ask George Lucas or M. Night Shyamalan, who both gained full creative control and, without the guiding help of the story department, made terrible films. This is not to say full creative control is bad: just look at the Albert Brooks' "Defending Your Life," Zach Braff's "Garden State," or roughly all of Woody Allen's films (though, being as neurotic as he is, he occasionally falls to the whims of impulse as well). All of these films were written by, directed by, and starring one person, and yet they're amazingly good because they either follow the principles (especially "Defending Your Life," which has only four major characters, a distinct setting with very tiny setpeices, and follows three-act structure perfectly) or understand the principles (especially the latter examples, which are more minimalist in nature). If you can grasp why we say things like, "Limit the size of your cast," or, "Make your character do something likeable or interesting early in the story," then perhaps you can remedy all of the other problems listed in this article as well.

Excuses 14 and 15 submitted by oldewine (:iconoldewine:).

Excuse #14:
But I'm just too lazy to make a detailed OC or research the Characters…

Oldwine's Response: That's if you think of it as a chore. Did you not enjoy the original series? If you don't then how can you make a good story everyone will love? The phrase "You cannot love others if you cannot love yourself," can be applied to this situation: How can others love your stories if you yourself don't love it? If you do, then put some love to the process of its creation. Not to mention, each fandom has their own 'tolerance' to say that if you don't research the material, you will get chewed by the fans so it saves you in the long run. Also, if you are too lazy to even research, then how can you be not lazy enough to write a story—a good story—that often requires a lot of thinkings, searching for inspirations, and hours, if not days of writings, re-checking, and editing?

Spaztique's Response: Adding onto Oldwine's response, there's a common misconception that writing requires no effort, but that is a lie: famed screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan once said, "Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life." To write without research destroys the authenticity of what you're writing. Saying you're too lazy to research the very characters and setting you're about to work with is like saying you're too lazy to add brakes to your car: you think it'll save time so you can speed along, only to crash at the first intersection.

Oldwine and Spaztique's Remedy
: Don't think of research as a chore and use your story as a way to become a better person. We can both attest that research can be fun if you love the original series, settings, and characters (and you can learn a lot of new interesting facts). There are people who says that a good art requires 'love' in its making. In addition, research helps create what Robert McKee calls Creative Limitations: not the kind of limitations that box you off from making good choices, but act as guard rails to keep you from making bad choices. Creative Limitations do not hinder you; they inspire you. Perhaps something might became hard or impossible to do, but then you find a better alternative instead! If you are having fun, then you won't feel lazy, and that is why you should have fun when you are writing and researching. (Of course don't let "having fun" make you be lazy or do some things without thinking as it would backfire instead. There is a balance.)

Excuse #15: Don't like, don't read.

Response: Don't like how nobody is reading your story because it's terrible and you don't accept feedback? Don't complain about it! Huzzuh! In order for us to tell if your story is good or not, we need to read it, and we're not going to read something that essentially says, "My story is about my author avatar collecting things with nothing to stop him while musing over philosophical crap, and I don't take negative reviews." All feedback is there to tell you what you audience is finding wrong, and you use it to make your story better. Animal trainers have the same mentality: they punish bad behaviors (even if it's just ignoring the animal) and reward good behaviors. Reviewers and audiences steer you from bad decisions through complaints, criticism, and ignoring you, but good reviews are your reward for doing something right: especially when they tell you what you did right.

Remedy: Use complaints as feedback to story your story onto the right track. If your audience is telling you the story is taking forever, cut the fat and stick to the important stuff. If your audience is telling you the character is overpowered, pull the rug out from under the character and have them struggle for a goal. If your audience is telling you, "This is awesome! Keep it up!," then do just that. Do not fear bad reviews: they're free advice that will take your writing to the next level.

I can't think of any more excuses, but go ahead and throw them at me if you dare.

Additional tips can be found in my Walfas Satire Folder here:…
Specifically, be sure to read "A Tale of Two Writers," "Wilhiemthe2nd's Gappy Stu: REDUX," and, "Completely Missing The Point."

Good luck/Happy writing,
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MyNameIsAlreadyInUse Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2014  Student Writer
Well, I can definitely say this was a nice basic guide on writing good Touhou fic. I've been working with a fic on as of late and been melding this with the Sue Litmus test to try and keep away from Sue-dom. I like to think that I'm doing well (mostly positive reviews, save one from when I was being an idiot, hopefully I'm getting better), especially with the help of a friend to beta-read.

However, after reading the guide (particularly #6 and #14), I'm not sure how much faith I can put into his views on my chapters. On one hand, he's just about my best friend I've known for years now and also writes fic of his own, though he doesn't publish them. He's also been writing for much longer (seven years!) than I have to boot. But because we're friends, I don't know how much of his input can be trusted before posting a chapter, partly because he might be mincing his words, but also because he's very cynical. Brutal honesty is kind of his thing... kind of like a few sections of this guide. But that's good! A little cruel, but a solid wake-up call.

Gah, where am I going with this? I'm just asking about how much input from friends I can accept, judging on history, experience, and personality, I suppose. He tells me that the fact that I'm concerned about my fic in the first place is a solid barrier against Sue-dom, though he does follow it up with a fresh batch of impending cliches I used. Just how much stock can I put into him?

And as a final note, I thought of two things that weren't on this list (though I might have just missed it); what about people who defend themselves by saying they've been writing for a while and/or researched their characters? I know this does have overlap with excuse 7, but I feel they're still different.

As for the second one - the Anti-Sue. Effectively the antithesis to Mary Sue in that they have only flaws and minimal redeeming qualities and yet everyone in the story grows on them anyways. Wouldn't they merit a mention here?

... I am so sorry for this massive wall of text.
LeGaspYaoi Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2014
This is a very useful guide, and will probably help me not muck up (well, not that much) when I design an OC in the future. I have a question though: Are you allowed to make your character a Stu/Sue just for something that resembles a parody, like overemphasising how 'perfect' they are to make it so cringe inducing that it's funny how bad it is? 
BloodyKangaroo Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2013
On excuse 15. There are actually a few times I've seen that one take legitimate forms.

A reader who had suggested nothing helpful and just popped in at chapter five to demand the cheerful, friendly,balanced, and forgiving protagonist be changed to hate filled, unforgiving,brokenly powerful, and angsty when everyone else liked the approach. Other cases where the complaint was the tone, the author was clearly going for comedy most people with a problem were complaining it wasn't action packed or dark enough. and the ever problematic OTP complainer who hovers around the story whining that there isn't enough of there favorite pairing running around. 

I'd actually throw out the suggestion. Look at the general reaction. If it's mostly complaints coming from a smaller minority who demand massive change if you want them to read while the majority like things the way they're going. Then polity suggest if they don't like the story stop reading it and find one they do. You can't make a story to please everyone or you'll just get a jumbled mess.
AlgaeNymph Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2013
"People who write the latter two archetypes unintentionally have more sinister reasons...
-They secretly hate [the series], its characters, and its setting, and they believe they can do better."

Reminds me of the idea for a Bratz suefic I had, the idea being I could get away with a Sue if she's showing-up a despised series.

I wonder if it's still relevant anymore.
bablet Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
:D Aw yeah! Looks like this is exactly what I'll be needing!
TouhouShake Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2013   Artist
Whenever I make a new comic, I always worry about what people think and try to advertise it like heck. It kinda makes me feel like it's a bad story line(to most people who nitpick or want to see a more, original storyline) from start to finish. I still try to enjoy it, and yeah I do. Though I keep losing faith in that ability in which I thought I had.

That, and I keep getting off of the story's TRUE meaning. (IT'SAHABIT,ABAAAAAAAAAAAADONE).
PMiller1 Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2013
Excuse #P1: Why should I put my OCs into Touhou Canons?

My Response: Now, Now, We didn't say in Touhon Canon. Infarct Just have your OCs set in Gensokyo, You can have Touhou's Canon have by the sideline. That is why my or maybe any OCs don't take part of any of the Canon's Incident, sure your need to give a really good reason why your OCs don't take part of that Incident wild all maybe some Canon Cast take part your own Incident.

Excuse #P2: I don't know anything about Touhou, Nor play Touhou.

My Response: SO?! They like Wiki, TV tropes and YouTube about them. Do some research, Also if you didn't know about Touhou them why do your have Walfas.

Excuse #P3: My OCs is the most Powerful in another game (like Magic: The Gathering)...

My Response: Yeah, Yeah, Just because he most powerful in one plane of existent doesn't mean you are in here.
After all this is what the spell card are for, a fair battle where you cast bullet after bullet wild you move away from the opponent's bullet. You wouldn't used your power.
PMiller1 Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2013
I get it now your Four are Touhou OCs.

Trevor is your Outsider.
Chouko is your Native.
Jack, Outsider Stu.
Nadia, Native Sue.
LightningLord3 Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2013
I highly disagree calling the new Star Wars trilogy terrible - sure, Episode I was flawed in several aspects, but he took the hint from his fans to correct these mistakes in the next two films (by not wasting too much time on secondary characters, especially Jar-Jar). Also, this whole ordeal about bad storywriting is little more than beating a dead horse - with the staggering amount of guides, Sue bashings and new approval control, I'm more irritated by people complaining about bad stories than the people writing them. And the major problem with OCs nowadays I see is that they're extremely bland and uninteresting because people are so scared of making them Sues.
deadturtle1 Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2013
"And the major problem with OCs nowadays I see is that they're extremely bland and uninteresting because people are so scared of making them Sues"

Nope. The problem is that people don't really know what they're doing with their OCs. Or they do know but the execution is abysmal.
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