|See also:||Mary Sue, A.N.Other|
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Original Characters or OCs are the characters in a fanwork that are not in the source media, but have been created by the fanwork's author. Sometimes the term can refer to characters who are only mentioned in passing in the source but are developed by fan authors, such as names from the Family Trees in the Appendices of The Lord of the Rings.
An OFC is an Original Female Character, while an OMC is an Original Male Character. Often, mention of an OFC in the header will be enough to raise suspicions that she is a Mary Sue, with no further evidence. An OMC is less likely to have to deal with this allegation.
On Fiction Alley, devoted to Harry Potter stories, the acronyms are expanded to distinguish not just gender but between wizards and muggles, so that "OMC_W" means "original male character wizard", "OFC_M" "original female character muggle" etc.
In some fandoms, an OC may be shared by several authors, and re-used by other works inspired by the one that introduced the OC. This is particularly common in Shared Universes, and can also lead to debates about plagiarism of fanfic if later authors don't get permission from the first author. An example of shared OCs is Clan Mitchell in Stargate SG-1 fandom.
- "The Other Observer" by Kelly Boyd. "I firmly believe that there are many female characters who are neither plot devices nor Mary Sues. I like an interesting, solidly developed original character, either male or female. I really like Kelly Boyd's The Other Observer. Her character Mavis... isn't perfect, and she doesn't think the guys are, either. In fact, she thinks Jim is—well, old. She's only interested in Blair as long as he can keep up with her free-spirited ways. She's such the embodiment of young women today, all shockingly red hair and piercings and a cool self-possession I'll never really understand. Mavis has certainly stuck with me. Not to mention that Jim and Blair get together in this story in such a sweet, sweet, tender way that it's worth reading even if you're not that crazy about OFCs." 
- The Vulcan opera singer Salene, in the Jeu-Parti series by Macedon. Astridv writes: Salene, the Vulcan, is so three-dimensional and fascinating a character that he can carry his share of the story, easily.
- Dorian the Archivist appears in several Forever Knight stories by Susan M. Garrett, starting with False Heart. He proved so popular that his fans created their own faction, the Archivist's Assistants.
- Who's Afraid of the Mary-Sue? In Defence of OCs, by Firerose (2002) -- Rehearses arguments for & against writing OCs and gives some examples of successful ones