Remember to take everything with a grain of salt. These are just tips, not a code of law. Before I begin submitting more extensive guides to this blog, I thought I’d outline some basics first.
It’s helpful to have a basic understanding of Greek/Roman mythology. No, you don’t have to be an expert; the information from the original series should be enough. I’m not sure how much the movies can help you, but I remember they had Persephone chilling in the underworld when it was summer, so probably not much.
Ask yourself if the character works and makes sense in the universe. This can include obvious physical features, like giving your OC cat ears that shoot lasers or something, but this can also to relate to how your character behaves and interacts with the environment. Remember the rules put in place by the universe.
Do not make a character just for the sake of pairing them with a cannon character. Not only does this mean that the character’s existence depends on this relationship (thus making them less of a person), but often times these particular characters are just clones of whoever they’re paired with. Attraction doesn’t work that way. Annabeth isn’t a female version of Percy, and in some ways that’s why they work together. Develop your character as a person. Give them a chance to breathe, interact with the world and characters, and if they end up in a relationship, let it form naturally. Making an OC for the sake of romance with a cannon character also reeks of a self-insert.
Typically, a character has a fatal flaw. Use it. Fatal flaws are real drawbacks based on the character’s personality. They are not quirks and they will not just go away when it’s convenient. “They can’t sing” is not a fatal flaw, even if they are a siren. These are weaknesses that can cause the character’s downfall. Even “good” traits can be considered fatal flaws if they are pushed enough. If your character is “independent”, how independent are they? Are they unable to connect with people? Would they betray a loved one? Fatal flaws are meant to either bring about the character’s downfall, or for the character to overcome through effort.
A Mary Sue is not the same as a character who is pretty and/or talented. If that was the case, where would that put the Aphrodite cabin? A common misunderstanding is that a Mary Sue is a character who has neon rainbow hair that sparkles in the sunlight, purple and green eyes that change color with their moods, and the ability to do everything perfectly. However, it is possible to have a character who is very plain-looking, and still have them be a Mary Sue. It’s all about framing. This is why Mary Sue tests are often unreliable, because really it’s about how the character is presented to the audience. Often times, a Mary Sue character never grows or evolves as the story goes on. They have no real flaws to speak of, they seem to be perfect at everything, and the audience is told how to feel about them. It’s hard to describe what makes a character a Mary Sue without seeing them in action. Just let your character breathe. Let them screw up, let them make mistakes, let them grow as people. I can guarantee that the audience will find that a lot more interesting than a character being the best at everything.
Don’t get offended if someone critiques your character. A proper critique is structured so the creator can gain something from it, and not all of them will be pretty. A good critique will outline what works, what doesn’t work, stuff that’s missing, stuff that isn’t needed. A critique is not needlessly flaming, nor is it mindless worshiping. Just because someone says they’re confused about your character’s backstory does not mean that you’re being personally attacked. That being said, people are jerks and it isn’t uncommon to get comments full of personal attacks. This isn’t the same as a critique, though. Remember a critique is designed to help you.
Delethia Robinson opened the drawer of her desk and looked longingly
at the packet of Marlboro’s she had in there. She hadn’t felt the urge
to smoke since she was pregnant with her first son, Benjamin. And that
had been thirty years ago.
But then she had never had any students like the Pines triplets before.
With a shudder she shut the drawer and ran her fingers through her
rapidly graying afro. Hopefully things would change, one way or the
other, after this parent-teacher conference.
Speaking of which…
Mr. and Mrs. Pines entered the room. Mrs. Pines was five foot nothing,
had long brown hair pulled back in a head band, and despite easily being
in her mid-thirties at least, was wearing light up sneakers, a pink
sweater with five cats shooting lasers from their eyes, and earrings of
stars with wing like appendages from them. Her wrists jangled with the
weight of all the bracelets she had on them, and her nails were painted a
different color on each finger.
Mr. Pines, who had to duck to
come in the room, dwarfed his wife, having to be at least six and a half
feet. Like his children, he had both red curly hair and thick rimmed
glasses. He was dressed far more conservatively than his wife, in
slacks, a plaid collared button up, and a sweater vest. Though Mrs.
Robinson had never seen a sweater vest that had obviously been crocheted
at home before.
“Sorry we’re late! We stopped by the playground
on the way in to make sure the kids were okay!” Mrs. Pines exclaimed.
Mrs. Robinson had a feeling that that was the way that the triplets’
mother talked all the time.
“That is okay Mrs-”
call me Mabel! Mrs. Pines is my mom!” (And was it her or was there a
shadow that passed over Mrs. P-Mabel’s face as she said that?)
“I’m Henry,” Mr. Pines followed, smiling gently, as Mrs. Robinson shook both of their hands.
sat down, and after a minute of Henry trying to fit his frame in a desk
that usually contained third graders, Mrs. Robinson began.
of all, may I please assure you that your children are doing fine, and
are not in trouble,” Mrs. Robinson began. She didn’t miss the relieved
looks that passed between Mabel and Henry.
”However,” she went on, “there are some things they have done the last few weeks that gives me great cause for concern.”
Mabel reached for Henry’s hand, and he clasped it in his own. “Like what?” Mabel asked, her effervescence now muted slightly.
“I have reason to believe that your children are…are involved in demon summoning.”
Mr. and Mrs. Pines looked nowhere near as upset as she thought they would be (should be) but Mrs. Robinson continued on.
a sweater that Acacia constantly wears that has a summoning circle of
some type on it….a circle I fear is for one of the greater demons.”
Not only was there a lack of response, but she could have sworn that Mrs. Pines was trying her best not to smile.
“I’ve seen Hank and Willow floating in midair a
few times after school lets out for the day, Hank refers to trading
food at lunch as ‘making deals’, and then this morning I found this.”
distaste, she pulled out the paper with a rough circle on it that had
made Mrs. Robinson almost throw up when she saw it earlier that day and
recognized what it was.
She placed it on the desk between her and
the Pines so they could see the eight symbols, the roughly drawn eight
pointed star, the sigil which looked discomfortingly familiar to Mrs.
Pines’ earrings in the middle.
“This…” and she couldn’t help the
slight shake in her voice. “is for summoning Alcor, the Dreambender.
Third graders. I don’t wish to make any accusations against you two or
how you choose to parent, but this gives me great cause for concern.”
She looked up from the offending piece of paper to see that there was no concern at all on Mr. and Mrs. Pines’ faces.
they were feigning it really well, and Mr. Pines almost had it nailed
down, but Mrs. Robinson had been wrangling third graders for twenty five
years, and she knew a bullshit job when she saw one.
Pines said, “This is cause for concern indeed, and we will of course
bring it up with the kids, and see where they got this from.” But he
looked far too relaxed, and Mrs. Pines still had that maddening almost
smile on her face, looked like she was on the brink of laughter.
Robinson waited, silently. She had found when dealing with both
students and their parents it was best to give them enough rope to hang
“I really don’t know where they could have gotten
that from,” Mrs. Pines managed to get out, and in any other situation,
Mrs. Robinson would have grudgingly been impressed with the way Mabel
kept a snerk, giggle, or snort from her voice.
Mrs. Pines went to
take the piece of paper from the desk, getting out of her chair as she
did. “Well, we’ll make sure the kids realize how, how serious this is,
thanks for letting us know and-“
“Sit down Mabel Pines.”
Pines may have been in her mid-thirties, owner of a successful
business, married and with three children, but some voices went straight
to the spine and hind brain and demanded to be listened to.
Mr. Pines straightened out of his slump to loom a little taller.
Robinson was not so easily intimidated. “I have been teaching at this
school for thirty years,” she started, disgust dripping from her voice.
“And I have had to call CPS six times in my career on parents who abused
and neglected their children. But I have never, ever seen such callous
disregard in my life like I see in you two now. This isn’t just the
physical safety of your children at risk but their souls. Does that not even bother you? Do you two even care?”
Two spots of red had appeared on Mabel’s cheekbones, and Henry’s hands were shaking slightly, but Mrs. Robinson went on.
“Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t call Child Protective Services or the police right now.”
Mrs. Pines opened her mouth, probably to begin to shout, but Mr. Pines gently took her hand in his.
“Mabel….we should tell her.”
She looked in her husband’s eyes, completely ignoring Mrs. Robinson.
“I don’t want to make things worse,” she said quietly.
Mr. Pines raised an eyebrow. “Don’t think they can get any worse-“
Mrs. Robinson snapped her fingers between the two of them and they both turned to stare at her.
“This is not the time for fun or games, I want an explanation in the next thirty seconds or I call CPS in Bend.”
silently plucked the piece of paper from the desk. As she did so, Mrs.
Robinson noticed for the first time that her hands were covered in
calluses, scars, and scabs.
What kind of people were these parents?
She, oh god she was picking a scab on her thumb and placing it onto the paper-
Before Mrs. Robinson had a chance to react, Mrs. Pines simply said, “Bro-bro, can you come here for a second?”
There was no smoke, no roars, no smell of sulphur, no flash of fangs and claws.
Simply a desk that one minute was unoccupied and the next was filled with a man who looked remarkably similar to Mabel.
Though Mabel and the man had diametrically opposite senses of fashion.
And Mabel didn’t have bat wings springing from her back.
Or black sclera and gold irises.
“Mabes?” the man-no, the demon, asked. “Um, what’s going on? Also, I’m pretty sure I left the oven on so I may need to get back soon…”
Mabel looked at Mrs. Robinson.
“May I introduce you to my brother, Dipper Pines?”
The demon sheepishly waved. Mabel took a deep breath.
“Also known as Alcor the Dreambender.”
Robinson had seen everything the world could possibly throw at her over
thirty years of teaching elementary school, and that included the Great
Gerbil Eating Incident of 2002.
Mrs. Robinson fainted for the first and last time in her life.
they had a huge wedding that both their parents attended. The main goal was to ‘beat Petunia’s wedding’. James planned most of it only asking Lily for her opinions and she was always like ‘JaMES We don’t need to invite the entire Order to our weddING! Like there are a hundred people in the Order?!?!’ and he was just like- places finger on her lips, ‘shush love, this is going to be brilliant’ *sends out invitations* Lily *facepalms*.
Almost five hundred people attended their wedding (which was held in the Potter mansions backyard) from old school mates that they had barely spoken to, the entire Order, the whole Hogwarts staff - James even invited Filch as a joke…he didn’t come - their families, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents literally anyone they were related to be even the most distant form were invited - like his mother’s brother’s wife’s cousin’s daughter’s husband’s parents were invited.
The wedding was a hit though. Not one word of the war was mentioned and there was wizard and muggle music alike - Lily, Marlene, Alice, Sirius, James, Remus and Peter shouted the lyrics to We Will Rock You by QUEEN. Everyone got hammered and everyone was loud and laughing. The cake was chocolate and Lily smashed James’ head into it and then laughed her head off.
They moved into Godric’s Hollow immediately and Lily LOOVED it. Ever week she would come home from Diagon Alley or muggle London with something new for the house. She would come home with a lamp and be like it’s for our room and James would just be like ‘WHat? WE already have like three lamps in our room????!’ and she’d just shrug and say ‘fine we’ll put it in the living room’. Their bed was a mound of mismatching pillows and a patch quilt with crocheted blankets on top - James always complained that their bed was Satan’s den but Lily loooved it - she got cold easily.
They bought a white kitten and named it Beatle. Remus could never get over the irony of naming a cat after a beatle like ???? Sirius would always terrorise the cat by shooting a laser-like light out of his wand and charming the light to move around the room. Peter would always sneak more milk into it’s bowl.
James carried Lily out of a battle in his arms (bridal style) when Dolohov hexed her so badly she couldn’t feel her legs for days. Lily spent endless nights waiting up at Godric’s Hollow for James to get back from a mission - he always did, no matter how bruised and bloodied he always came back.
On the last day of each month, no matter if it was a Sunday or a Thursday, dinner was at James and Lily’s. They’d set up a huge table in the garden and everyone would help to cook in their too-small kitchen and they’d carry everything out and make jokes and laugh. No one ever talked about the war on those nights.
Lily found out she was pregnant on a Tuesday. It was the morning and a sudden urge to vomit had woken her. Knowing she hadn’t eaten anything bad and not feeling particularly sick, just nauseas, she started doing the math. ‘JAMeS!’ ‘Yes, love’ ‘You got me pregnant in the middle of a bloody war’ ‘I-WHAT!?’ ‘Pregnant, love’ ‘as in-’ ‘yes as in we’re having a baby’ ‘but we’re in a war’ ‘i know’ they stood loooking at each other for eternity. Lily was pregnant. ‘I hope it has your eyes’ James grinned and Lily crashed into James, giving him the most bone crushing hug because she didn’t know whether to feel scared, anxious, excited, terrified, happy or all of the above.
Suddenly, Lily had around the clock care. She wasn’t allowed to go in missions anymore - she was more of a behind the scenes person, help forming plans and assigning missions to people. James caught on that she was giving him the least risky ones after a while. Someone would come past the house so often Lily thought there wasn’t a point to the front door anymore - they didn’t knock anyways. Marlene, Alice, Sirius, Remus, Peter and even people they’d gotten close to from the Order like Benjy, Dorcas, Emmeline, Fabian and Gideon, would pop in. The Potter’s house had basically become a second Headquarter’s whilst Lily was pregnant. Everyone loved the muffins and pastries and cakes Lily would cook and there was always a spare bedroom if anyone wanted to crash the night.
Harry was born on the evening of 31 June 1980 and Lily and James both cried tears of joy the first time they held their son in their arms. ‘Look what we made’ Lily had said to James,
The birth of their son only increased the amount of visitors to their home. Everyone loooooved Harry. They would come and play with him and buy him toys - though when nappy time came he would often be passsed to Lily without hesitation.
The Potter house only closed to most visitors in January of 1981. Dumbledore had informed them that Voldemort was after Harry. They went into hiding immediately. The brilliant plan that Peter would become Secret Keeper - telling others it was Sirius as to distract Voldemort and send him on a goose chase.
James stopped going to missions and they stayed in the house. They managed to make their own fun. Lily and James would play all sorts of games ranging from hide and seek to wizard’s chess to UNO - ‘YOU BLOODY PRAT!’ Lily would scream waking the baby when James would draw 4 her three times in a row. Sirius brought them a TV one day and Lily and James got hooked to re-runs of Doctor Who and Lily started knitting the infamous scarves for them. Remus and Peter always brought Harry cute clothes to wear - mini leather jackets, bear onesies with a hoodie, reindeer ears - and they had fun dressing him up and taking photos of him.
‘His first word is gonna be dada’ James insisted. ‘I carried him in my womb for nine months and then pushed him out of a very small hole in my body, his first word better be mama or I’m putting him back in there’. James turning to harry and being like ‘Say ‘mama’’.
Easter came around and they dressed Harry in a bunny onesie and all their friends came over and they ate in the garden and everything felt normal. Sirius made jokes, Remus helped Lily with the dishes, Marlene changed Harry’s diaper.
It was Mid-July and Remus visited. Marlene McKinnon and her entire family had been murdered in their home. Lily couldn’t stop crying.
Then it was Harry’s birthday! James and Lily baked a cake and Bathilda Bagshot came over for tea. Presents for Harry arrived in the post - his favourite by far was the toy broomstick Sirius had sent. He knocked over Petunia’s vase within five minutes.
James would read Harry fairytales before bed every night and Harry always tried to take off James’ glasses. Lily suggested a sticking charm and James glared at her like, ‘this is your child woman, control him!’ as Harry waved James’ glasses around almost poking James’ eye out.
James and Harry were playing on the couch, James was shooting smoke out of his wand and the bubbling baby tried to catch it. Lily came in and asked, ‘what is dada doing to you bubba?’ Harry babbled at her and Lily laughed. ‘Come on, time for bed,’ lily said leaning down to pick up her little child. James said, ‘Horror movies, tonight?’ and lily smiled, “It is halloween after all. Set it up!” she said not knowing that at that very moment her life was becoming a horror show.
The door opened. James fell. Lily fell. Voldemort fell. Harry lived.
[4/22/16, 8:39:18 PM] Maccus: Yoda riding a t-rex through a rainbow astro-field as an army of flaming cat heads chase them shooting laser hot dogs from their cat eyes [4/22/16, 8:39:26 PM] Issie: thank you
Prompt or Summary: The simple truth is, they need each other. A perspective on how Barry and Iris went from strangers to family to a potential for something more, told over the course of three Christmases.