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I like parodies.
That';s what that kinda thing is. There are 2 kinds of parodies.

1) What screamingferret just described. Baisically taking the mickey outta characters and making them totally OOC
2) The kind like Barry Trotter and the Philosopher's Scone, Barry Trotter and the ChamberPot of Secrets, and things like that. These are more mickey taking than the afore mentioned. For example, the names change slightly.
If it were Harry Potter, Harry may become Barry, Ron Dom and Hermione....I don't know.
In an FF7 mickey take, It would be harder. The names would just be messed with. Cloud may become Sky (~hugs my fanfic char who I made before I knew of Cloud~), Sephiroth Serripoth etc...
Parodies are different from OOC in non-humorous fics. Parodies often do it on purpose, whereas in other fics, the authors attempt to pass off OOCness as their normal behavior.

I've never been a fan of the "make them completely OOC" parody myself, unless it pokes fun at things which a lot of people use that aren't necessarily right (fanon used as canon, a character getting stereotyped into a very one-dementional role, etc.).
nods A lot of good things here, some confusing. All I have to say is: DAANNGG, where in heck have I been? ^_^
Indeed you are right Neptune. I've even written a parody before (it was a Final Fantasy one ^_^', based on when me and a few friends wen t to the cinema. Sephiroth was portrayed as a crybaby who got annoyed with "not enough sceen time!" and ended up calling for mama Jenova)
Ever read eats, shoots, and leaves? That's a book about how wrong people can be when it comes to punctuation.

((A panda walks into a bar, orders a sandwitch, eats it, fires a shot in the air with a gun and then is about to walk out, when the bartender asks why he did it. The panda throws a badly-punctuated zoo guide at the bartender and says: "look up panda". The bartender does. The entry says: Panda. Eats, shoots, and leaves.
That was how I remember that particular bit from the book, anyway.))
It's a parody about real-life, almost.
I find, actually, that being too in love with characters causes one to distort them, especially when they are canonical characters whom you feel didn't get enough screentime (a common motive for writing fanfic).

The trouble is, you tend to build these characters up more than they really are. It's like taking one of the other Jedi Masters on the Council and turning him/her into the star. Or poor Legolas, who really is not a bad character, but he's a minor character, and he keeps getting turned into superElf. Or -- my current challenge -- Lulu and Auron from FFX, who play the parts of aloof, mysterious figures who are generally standing in the background, and lose part of what's compelling about them if they're made too complete, too fleshed-out.

As for techniques for catching character mannerisms, habits, speech: if it is a character from a book, movie, or game, indulge yourself by reading or watching 15-30 minutes before sitting down to write them. I used to write TNG fanfic before some of you were born (ack) by watching an episode, pausing during each commercial break to write until I stopped hearing all the characters' real voices in my head, then watching the next chunk.

A soundtrack also helps, sometimes, if it accurately evokes something about them. Some people have complained that Auron's theme is a bit off, but it catches the unhurried, understated rhythm of his walk and speaking style very well.

OH. Gosh. The worst pitfall of fanfic writing. Many of us love angst. Many of us love seeing the good in these characters. We find ourselves drawn to those with steel and fire, crusty dispositions, enigmatic pasts, bad tempers or a genuine evil streak. Yet -- oh, this drives me mad! -- we find a bushel of fanfics "wussifying" these same characters. It's especially challenging if one's trying to write a meaningful relationship story. I keep finding myself having to fight the angst, warm fuzzies, and touchingly sensitive interactions between canonical characters. As a rule, apart from Squall and a few others, most characters don't angst; they take in stride the impossible crap the world throws their way. And they're not all huggy/sensitive/comforting to one another.
Well done!
God, writing habits can be awful. For example, Taiga is a character in one of my stories. He drinks. Okay, in fact he's past the "drinks" level. He's almost a constant drunk. And HOW does a catty-wolfy Red XIII like thing open a bag saying "BOOZE" on around his waist, open the bottle, then go and drink. He gets someone of give him one, slices half the neck off with a sharp claw, then picks it up with his teeth and lets it run into his mouth. After I've described this a few times, I really needent describe it anymore (unless the reader has been skim-reading!)because the reader should understand by now, with only little bits of description that don't clog-up the page.
I like Auron and Lulu!^_^ And currently, (Me and a few friends call ourselves by FF char names)I'm Lulu, one of my friends is Seymour, one of my friends is Vivi (lacking a Vivi-like personality....-__-) one seems to want to be everyone (He used to want to be Wakka, then Kimhari, now he wants to be Auron)one is Cloud although he is NOTHING like Cloud, and one is Zidane for height and hair reasons and for the fact he is "a ladies man".
Soundtracks help. ((Though playing Materia Madness while listening to One-Winged Angel is INCREDIBLY off putting))LIke you said!^^
Writing in an unpausable scene is awful. All these Speech-bubbles keep appearing and ACK! Before you know it, you left out the most important bit!

I think I would rather DIE than see Sephiroth or Cid "Wussified"(As you put it, helluin)~hides, terrified of wuss Sephi and Cid...!~
Wussifying (love it!) the bad guys is quite a common mistake made by fanfic writers. I don't know anything about FF, but Darth Sidious shall be wussified over my dead body. The man is bad, and I like him like that.

That being said, it is sometimes interesting to explore the more human side of your favourite dastardly villain. They can't eat babies all the time.

I hate warping happy characters more than showing fluffy villains. There seems to be some need to portray the happiest character as a depressed cutter or something. Not to say a normally happy-go-lucky character can't be sad sometimes, but must everyone go to extremes?
drags Freya over to the FFX area to inspect my AuLu

Er, ahem, yes. Angst is another problem. Most writers adore it, but it can be so overdone.

Then again, it can be so overdone in many of the fictional worlds we like to write in. Sometiems it's already there. But sometimes the best characters are the ones who somehow hang on, hang onto their sense of selves, and stick it out with grace and strength.

I notice even the LOTR film adaptations succombed to that mistake. Not to get too off-topic, but just as an example: Frodo was practically quivering with helplessness to the point that folks who haven't read the books sometimes ask why on earth he's the Ringbearer, Aragorn was all conflicted in weird ways instead of being Just That Good that he knows he's the next king, and even Gandalf and Pippin were angstbunnies. Very odd.

It worked, sorta, but I think the greater challenge is showing believably strong characters who can just deal with the crap that's thrown at them, not without a few flares of temper, frustration, or dismay, but generally on an even keel.

It depends on the character of course.

I'm still grappling with the challenge of how to portray a meaningful relationship between two standoffish characters who are too tough and too strong to go all fuzzywuzzy and demonstratively affectionate. I'm finding that it's really hard not to slip out of character any time you intuit a relationship that wasn't explicit in canon. I think I will have to be less disdainful of writers who accidentally wussify the hardasses in their fics from now on.