[[quoteright:256:[[Webcomic/BoxerHockey http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/originalthecharacter_9746.JPG]]]]
[[caption-width-right:256:''Webcomic/BoxerHockey'' parodies [=OCs=] la ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog''.]]

An Original Character (OC, [[MemeticMutation don't steal]]) is, in the simplest terms, a new character created in a FanFic or other work that does not come from an existing copyright. Any and all CharacterizationTropes can apply, along with employing any and all tropes in general. The only real distinction between original and regular characters is that the former are synthesized specifically to unofficially integrate with the canon for the purposes of the story. The vast majority of fanfiction makes use of these, ranging in importance from being background extras to stealing the spotlight of the canonical characters.

[[TropesAreNotBad This isn't necessarily a bad thing]]. After all, all characters were new once. Series that are structured around new characters every week such as MonsterOfTheWeek, VictimOfTheWeek, or GirlOfTheWeek actually require that the author create original characters in order to maintain the OriginalFlavor of the series.

Attempting to list every instance (or even every "notable" instance) is rather pointless--they are almost as numerous as fan fics themselves.

In some places (such as Website/DeviantArt) the term "Fan Character" is used instead, and the distinction "Original Character" refers to a character that exists in a canon of the author's own creation, or the canon of an "OriginalCharacterTournament" (where artists compete by pitting their original character against other peoples' in fights, or [[CookingDuel pizza eating contests]], or whatever the creator of the tournament has decided is the proper form of conflict); in other words, an "Original Character" is a truly original character without ties to another creative work's canon.

Compare OriginalGeneration. Subtrope: OCStandIn. SailorEarth is a stock scenario for [=OCs=] created by openings in the setting. A CanonForeigner or CanonImmigrant is what happens when an Original Character is created for an ''official'' adaptation of an existing work. MarySue is what happens when a Fan Character goes wrong...

DoNotConfuseWith {{OOC}}, although [[MarySue a certain type]] of OC may cause [=OOC=]ness in {{canon}} characters.