I'm writing a storygame for the fanfiction category and I'm questioning what kinds of characters to add. I'm thinking the player character will be an original character (if not, I'll really have to rehaul my plans) but what about the characters the player character meets?
I know personally I prefer fanfiction that's about the canon characters. However, I this is a Star Wars story, and Star Wars is different from most fandoms, because it's so vast. It's probably the one exception where I occasionally like stories about original characters too. Most of the Star Wars storygames on here seem to about original characters. There's a lot of freedom for character creation in Star Wars, but on the other hand there's also a wealth of canon characters to pull from and use. It's technically possible for me to shoehorn in any character from the Wookieepedia database for the roles I need filled, but I'm not exactly thrilled at that aspect.
I do know that Luke Skywalker is going to be a big character in the story. There are other canon characters I'm probably going to end up using who will have a big part in it too. Would it be weird for me to mix the cast of story with canon and original characters? For example I really want a sassy blue Twi'lek, a la Mission Vao and Vette from KotOR and SW:TOR.
You guys are the readers, so your opinions are what matter. Yay or nay on original characters. Yay or nay on a heavy mix of both original characters and canon character.
I know very little about the Star Wars universe, so take what I have to say however you will. To answer your question in short, yay to heavy mix of both original and canon characters.
That isn't to say I'm absolutely clueless on fanfiction in general. One thing is to consider the time period you're setting your story in. Is it during (forgive me for my lack of knowledge) Darth Vader's reign of terror? Is it during a canon part of the Star Wars Universe? A prequel? A sequel? This is important, as depending on the time period you have more or less freedom on how to write canon characters. For example, if it takes place after the events of canon Star Wars, then you can have characters deviate from their 'canon' archetype. From a minor thing to [blank evil character turned into neutral/good character] to something drastic, like the enslavement of the entire Wookie species to which Chewbacca is now the leader of, this is a way you can breathe new life into canon characters.
If the time period is something specific to the Star Wars universe, then you probably would want to stay to the roots of the character. Unless you're doing an 'alternate universe', but if so, that's your problem you can solve.
You said you aren't thrilled about shoehorning in characters, so your mind is pretty much already made. Writing should be fun, and if you aren't enjoying what you write, it'll reflect in the quality and overall passion you have.
As you're making original characters, just please give proper development. Obviously a character that appears in five pages doesn't need as much as a character that is a foil. What I'm trying to say is that describing the shade of blue skin and illustrious, stunning pink hair that shines brilliantly under the moonlight's bright gleam for a character that'll die in random battle 152 isn't necessary. You know that, just putting it out there.
As a last note, I'd just briefly brush up on round, static, flat, etc character types. Just so you have a basic understanding or review on how characters are classically written.
Good luck on crafting your story.
Additionally, is it within the existing reality, or an alternate reality (for example where Luke becomes Darth Vader and Anakin was the Obi-wan). I'm fairly well versed with the SW lore, so which period are you setting it in? Old Empire (the Glory of Revan, the best of the entire EU, imo), Prequels (The ... meh?), in between (Luke as a kid, Rogue One, The Force Unleashed before they removed it from canon), Original Series (Luke as an adult), Continuity (The Force Awakens, Luke as a grouchy recluse who's forgot how to talk), the old expanded universe before Disney threw it all out (Thrawn, and many good stories). If you want to get creative, how about throwing in random time travel to allow characters meet from those multiple timelines and have a discussion/fight (Mandalore vs Boba Fett, my vote's on Mandalore).
If you want to go with canon characters that go off script (do things not in the continuity), e.g. make Anakin not kill Padme, then you have more tools to work with (instead of having to imagine everything) - basically an Alternate Character Interpretation / Continuity. Otherwise, throwing in your own characters suffers from the celebrity syndrome (Luke makes a cameo, or the sort, which does justice to neither the story nor the characters). Figure out what story you want to tell, and work from there. The SW Universe is particularly rich in soft-sci-fi stories and interesting flashpoints (as long as you leave real science out of things and stick to rule of cool).
My story takes place after Return of the Jedi, but it's diverged from both the Disney canon and the Legends EU and is basically a 3rd possible outcome post-Endor. It will be influenced by canon and Legends. I'm a big fan of divergent AUs, they're pretty much all I write when it comes to fanfiction. I hope that doesn't make it confusing for readers.
I have a very plausible reason for the player character meeting Luke. Luke is trying to rebuild the Jedi Order. The player character is a force user. Luke's part is a lot larger than a cameo and has a mentor role in the player character's life. I want to include a lot of the characters from Legends too, to fill out the order. The player character will logically meet Han, Leia and Chewie through Luke. Perhaps even Lando.
My story takes place after Return of the Jedi. Luke is rebuilding the Jedi Order and the player character is one of the first Jedi of the New Republic.
I think with big name characters like Luke, Leia, Han and Chewie they're personalities are going to stay pretty static. Most of the characters I'm pulling from are from the now non-canon Legends EU. If I get around to using him (he might be a little to young) I'll totally rewrite Kyp Durron's personality and make him less...punchable and rage-inducing...I hate Kyp Durron. Somehow I also see his potential, though.
One of the problems I have is most of my favorite characters aren't even alive at the point the story starts (Jacen, Jaina, Anakin Solo, Tenel Ka). But the idea for this story has to occur shortly after Endor, so I don't have a choice in the matter.
Nah, they're not even born yet, lol. Jacen, Jaina and Anakin Solo are Han and Leia's kids and Tenel Ka is Jacen and Jaina's friend from the Jedi Praxeum. None of the Solo's can logically be born yet, because this takes place so close after RotJ and Han and Leia didn't have kids yet in that movie. Tenel Ka has to be Jacen and Jaina's age too because she and Jacen totally are in love and it would be creepy if they're was an age difference (like when Kyp got all flirty with Jaina, a girl 14 years his junior. Ew!)
Lol. Don't worry, your geek cred is still intact.
Never played either one. Just wasn't interested in a Star Wars RPG.
Both KotoR 1 and 2 were designed from the ground up to be as far away from the George Lucas mess as possible (setting em a couple thousand years in the past to do so). The lore is rich, and KotoR 1 has a great story, but KotoR 2 was a masterpiece of storytelling. It was Gray. Proudly gray. In a universe with people so boringly transparent they have glowy sticks waving around with their loyalty meter on them, KotoR 2 is home to dozens of meaningful, nuanced characters with interesting stories (who fight amongst each other at a given moment for logical reasons). The story also does an exceptional job of NOT hitting you on the head with lore, and some of the most rewarding nuggets of lore are subtly hinted at but never overtly acknowledged, and finally figuring them out on your own is amazingly satisfying. The PC's motivation is brilliant, and Kreia, a Gray Jedi (now Gray Jedi are tragically no longer canon, I hear, they were the best thing in the entire SW mythos) was a magnificent chessmaster.
The story is a magnificent analysis of walking a path neither schoolboy innocent, nor serial killer mad, the gray path. Example: at one point you have a chance to pay off a guy's loan with your own cash, preventing loan sharks from coming after that NPC. Should you do so, expect to get chewed out by Kreia for coddling the NPC and weakening them (by not letting them stand for themselves, they'll become weaker in the long run). Should you not bail him out, expect her to laugh at you (she's evil like that, you'd like her personality). Brilliant storytelling, requiring no info of SW. However, get the PC version (it'll run on an old toaster, it's an ancient game), it got patched by a major fan mod. I'm serious, get those stories, they're brilliant.
The purpose of fanfiction is to add something new to a pre-existing world. So, I guess an easy way of doing that would be to yeah, add some characters that didn't exist before. Really, the story is what matters here, so I don't suppose whether you use new or old characters matters in the long run, so much as it matters what they do and how you write them.
I've been writing fanfiction for...oh dear God, 11 years (I should probably get a new hobby). Being apart of the fanfiction community for so long as really programmed my mind in certain ways to regard certain things, which may be perceived differently in other communities. So I felt the need to take this site's tempurature on this stuff.
In most fanfiction communities original characters come with a lot of baggage (see history of the Mary Sue archtype). Most original characters are poorly written author self-inserts who are perfect, loved by all the canon characters and more often than not related to or in a romantic relationship with a canon character. There is nothing wrong with self-fulfilment writing like this, but it rarely makes for a story that anyone but the author would actually want to read. Admittedly I even have a few stories like this hidden on my hard drive that will never see the light of day.
However I'm in a situation that's different that the typical fanfic. First, certain fan communities tend to be a little more forgiving of original characters. Star Wars' vast size means there's a lot of the world to explore when using original character. Then there is also the fact that this is a storygame, not a regular fanfic. In a way the reader might imagine themselves as the main character. Almost all the Star Wars storygames on this site use original character.
So because of these reasons, and because I've never written a storygame before, I wanted poll my potential audience before I made any commitments. I'm still early enough in the writing process that I can change anything that would be regarded universally as a terrible decision to implement.
It seems like I'm in the clear with this decision. I'm going to attempt to use canon characters for key character positions as often as possible, but when I can't figure out who would fit I'll make up my own character.
Good advice. The opposite is actually a common complaint in fanfiction communities. "What are you reintroducing all these things and people? Obviously I'm a fan of the story or I wouldn't be reading it."
I was planning on added a codex (I've already implimented the scripting now I just need too enter everything in. Not looking forward to that.) Hopefully that will clear things up for even the more causual Star Wars fans (for example, the story stars on Nar Shaddaa. An fan of the EU like me or you would be familiar with thsi planet, but anyone who has just seen the movies would know nothing about it). I should probably also make sure to give very brief introductions in the narrative, such as mentioning that Nar Shaddaa is an ecumenopolis and crime-ridden, while little the nitty-gritty details to the codex.