|Synonyms:||OFC, OMC; fanon character|
|See also:||Mary Sue, A.N.Other, Original Character Do Not Steal|
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Original characters or OCs are characters in a fanwork that are not in the source media, but have been created by the fanwork's author. Sometimes the term can also 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.
The term "original character" can take on a broader meaning in communities where both fanworks and original works are present. On DeviantArt, artist-created characters who are not tied to any particular fandom are often referred to as original characters, while the term fan character (or occasionally FC) is sometimes used for characters created for a specific fandom. In either case, drawings and descriptions of original characters are often shared outside of the context of any specific work, although some original characters belong to an original species, particularly on sites popular among furries. Sites like Toyhouse and Weasyl provide functionality to allow artists to post and organize their characters.
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. See also Elyza Lex, Vas & Dex, and Tris/Alex.
- 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.
- Anita Blake, Buffy: Kiss of Death by glinda4thegood. A fishkeeping weredragon, Death, Giles, Anita Blake, try to stop a vampire orgy to bring back She Who Must Be Worshipped .
- Arrow (TV): Legacy series, a Next Gen fic. It's 2039, and Jonathan Queen cannot stop looking for trouble. Then trouble finds him and his family, and Jonny discovers that there is more to his parents than he ever suspected. He must learn to bear the weight of his parents' past, and he must learn fast, because time is running out for his mother.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Chosen series by snowpuppies. In every generation, a Slayer is Chosen. Every Slayer needs a Watcher.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Four Ghosts by hollimichele. By the end of your sophomore year of high school, you're pretty sure that Sunnydale High is haunted.
- Harry Potter: This Is An Essay by Dee_Laundry. Margaret would rather write the same thing a hundred times. Words: 2542
- Harry Potter: Twisted Loyalty by Ayla Pascal. I am a Hufflepuff. I am hardworking. I am loyal. I am also awaiting trial for the murder of eight Aurors, five students and one Albus Dumbledore
- The Lord of the Rings: Valiant by EverleighBain. The children of the Rangers of the North learn early the duty that so often keeps their fathers away, and their own roles as part of a scattered, diminishing people. But for one wilful daughter, it will take trial and devastation before she finds her place among the Dúnedain, and comes to understand the fealty that binds her father to an uncertain fate. Words: 73,533. Gen.
- Merlin: To Protect by anyssah. This is how Camelot protects Merlin.
- Sky High: Sol by tigriswolf. The day she entered the world is not recorded. It is not in any history book anywhere. She was not celebrated; there was no rejoicing because of her birth. Words: 2374. Gen.
- Stargate Atlantis: Legend by avampyre. The scientists returning from Atlantis have made McKay a legend on Earth.
- Supernatural: Accidental Documentaries by Tassos. Antonia is determined to make the best high school documentary ever, but the first few weeks of school bring to light more than expected when a freshman girl goes missing, the new kid Dean takes an interest, and old traumas may be the key to the present.
- Supernatural: The Brothers Winchester by ZanneS. Most people aren’t sure if the Winchester story is a tragedy, or a horrific fable shared to teach some moral lesson.
- Supernatural: Their Type by miss aprosexia. Ethyl knows their type, alright.
- Teen Wolf: You Have To Go To Them Sometimes by kellifer_fic. "Well, you're a werewolf," Stiles says. Kevin has always had a pretty good poker face, but Stiles takes him completely by surprise, enough that there's a tell-tale pause that lasts a beat too long for the, "No I'm not," to be believed. Gen.
- Teen Wolf: The Sum of Its Parts series introduces a lot of original characters in each of the series' installments.
- Ugly Betty: The Overnight Sensation by Samantha. With a personality like Betty’s, she’s not only going to make friends… she’s going to gain fans.
- X-Men Movieverse: Gypsy by QueenieMeanie. Carolina Castro’s a shy, weary girl who’s just looking for a place to call home. Unfortunately, when she finally thinks she’s found a place to belong, things don’t turn out so well for her.
- 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