BLUE SUN ROOM

Mary Sue - the thread.

POSTED BY: AGENTROUKA
UPDATED: Monday, April 2, 2007 09:42
SHORT URL:
VIEWED: 10028
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Thursday, September 21, 2006 9:11 PM

AGENTROUKA



Mary Sue fic. We so rarely talk about it in depth. So let's!

Like it?
Hate it?
Wrote it?


What is your most/least favored Mary Sue scenario? The lost family member or the lost lover? Why?

We all know the general guidelines, but where is the delicate line between an original character and a Mary Sue/male MS for you? Do you "know it when you see it"? Does it depend on the general quality of the fic? Or the treatment of the other characters?

Do you occasionally long for a Mary Sue warning along with the slash/smut/pairing/spoiler warnings that are the usual standard?

Have you ever been the obnoxious person to point out Mary-Sue tendencies to the author of a fic, only to receive vehement denial? Or were you thanked for your kind advice which was actually used, leaving you feeling vaguely startled, flattered and guilty of manipulating someone's creative expression?

What about fic cliches in general? How much can you take? Which ones do you like, which ones do you hate, and which ones puzzle you in their popularity?



Please opine!


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Thursday, September 21, 2006 9:32 PM

EMBERS


not a huge fan fic reader,
I prefer it funny and short
(Mary Sues are NEVER funny or short)

only good Mary Sue ever written IMO was Dorothy L. Sayer's creating the character Harriet Vane so she could marry her fictional hero: Lord Peter Whimsey
(I almost wrote my own novel, stealing him away from her!)


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Thursday, September 21, 2006 10:45 PM

SPACEANJL


Have to say, I think most ficcers are MS-ing to some degree. Statistically, the majority are young and female, so there are a large number of Kaylee/River indentifiers. If you can't fit yourself into the skin of existing characters, that's when the fun starts.

But the warning signs for me are the physical descriptions, and the startling ability to do a huge number of things really well. And the reduction of all other characters to cut-outs.

Fic hates - we did this in another thread. Space-spawn, Rayne and definitely any combination of the two.

Of course, I should probably not dare to venture an opinion here, 'cos, well, erm, writer...

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Thursday, September 21, 2006 10:49 PM

DESKTOPHIPPIE


I'm completely lost. Don't get to read much fic. What's Mary Sue?




More animations available at http://desktophippie.googlepages.com

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Thursday, September 21, 2006 10:54 PM

PHOENIXROSE

You think you know--what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun.


Mary-Sues and Marty-Stus described here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Sue or here: http://www.subreality.com/marysue/explain.htm

Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without. - Gautama Siddharta

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Thursday, September 21, 2006 11:02 PM

DESKTOPHIPPIE


Thanks a million for that, PR. I've come accross that a LOT in Buffy fanfic. Never knew there was a name for it! Ha!

Like I said, I don't get time to read a lot of fanfic, not nearly as much as I'd like. I'm making my first tentative forays into writing Firefly fanfic though, so I wanted to make sure I avoided anything bad!




More animations available at http://desktophippie.googlepages.com

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Friday, September 22, 2006 2:51 AM

XEYRA


The most startling -- and horrifying -- examples of Mary Sues I've come across in fanfic are in Lord of the Rings. A lot of teenaged girls creating perfect characters so they can go conquer the hearts of Legolas, Aragorn and Boromir and sometimes all three at the same time. They even invent races for their character that would make Tolkien roll in his grave, they're all perfect and beautiful and with multi-colored eyes, and if they're not the long lost sister of Arwen or somesuch, they're some elven princess from a far-away kingdom...

So, yeah, big Mary Sue hate here. They make me cringe and want to knock my head against a wall. I've come across a few Mary Sues in Firefly fanfic back at Fanfic.net, but mostly people are smarter and more reasonable in this 'verse. Probably because not many teenaged girls saw Firefly or Serenity, whereas everyone must have seen LotR at some point and sighed over Legolas's cheekbones and Aragorn's rugged looks...

http://s7.photobucket.com/albums/y255/Xeyra/Firefly%20and%20Serenity/B
anners%20and%20Headers
/

"People tell you things all the time, without talking. The way they move, the way they aren't talking." - River Tam

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Friday, September 22, 2006 3:33 AM

DANNIISUPERNOVA


Well, I'm creating a character (the first time in a long while) for a fic. I'm hesitant about posting it, though I don't think she's an MS because not only does she swear all the time and been raped,she's promiscious and a drug addict. But she is mostly a plot device. Any suggestions?

I love the Castro, because if somebody grabs my ass, I know they're picking my pocket.

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Friday, September 22, 2006 3:44 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:
What is your most/least favored Mary Sue scenario? The lost family member or the lost lover? Why?


I'm definitely not a fan of Mary Sues. Where they come from doesn't matter - if they are there, the most I'll do is skim over a fic.

Why don't I like them? The characters Joss created are so complex and flawed and real that I don't like to see them set against some ideal plastic-y character, and I don't like to see them getting all fixed and sorted out by same. The focus changes from these marvelous canon characters to some cardboard cutout's enjoyment of/intreraction with them, and I'm not drawn to that.

Quote:

We all know the general guidelines, but where is the delicate line between an original character and a Mary Sue/male MS for you? Do you "know it when you see it"? Does it depend on the general quality of the fic? Or the treatment of the other characters?



I agree with SpaceAngl - there definitely are hints of MS-ness in any original character, because the people we create contain little pieces of us. But the real problem, for me, is when the MS knows everything and fixes everything.

It's like someone walking into a horror movie and saying don't go down the dark stairway you damn fool!! which we all want to say, but that ruins it all! The characters don't know they're in a ghost story, that's why they walk right into their grisly deaths. Or get in trouble but make a daring heroic escape.

MS's ruin the Jossian story the same way. I like watching Joss's characters struggle with their issues, and I want to see them work it out themselves, instead of some schmoe coming along and ruining the tension Joss set up.

Quote:


Do you occasionally long for a Mary Sue warning along with the slash/smut/pairing/spoiler warnings that are the usual standard?


I don't think this would work, because I don't think most people realize they're writing a Mary/Marty Sue.


Quote:

Have you ever been the obnoxious person to point out Mary-Sue tendencies

If I really don't like a fic, I just leave it. As strongly as I may feel against something, it's only fanfic, and people should write what they want. Fic as a vehicle of fantasy or full-blown Mary Sue-ness is really OK - probably even a healthy thing for the teenaged LoTR lovers. But I'm sure as hell not gonna read it!

Which is why I like these threads - I get to vent things that I wouldn't leave as a comment.

Quote:

What about fic cliches in general? How much can you take?


What are the other cliches? Um, other then the sex, sex and more sex thing. Which also has it's place, but I do get sick of it. How many times can these characters have the Ultimate Orgasm? Sheesh!


-----------------------------------------------
I'm the president. I don't need to listen.

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Friday, September 22, 2006 3:54 AM

DESKTOPHIPPIE


*is distracted by thought of Simon's ultimate orgasm*

Oh... um... what were we talking about?




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Friday, September 22, 2006 3:56 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by SpaceAnJL:
Have to say, I think most ficcers are MS-ing to some degree. Statistically, the majority are young and female, so there are a large number of Kaylee/River indentifiers. If you can't fit yourself into the skin of existing characters, that's when the fun starts.




Very good point.

Kaylee-Sue and River-Sue are very common, I think, because the characters already have very very slight Sue-esque traces, in that their flaws have not yet been explored a lot on the show. They're geniuses (each in her way) and pretty. Kaylee is the universally beloved and overprotected sunshine, River is super-tragic, occasionally snarky fighter-psychic girl who carries gruesome secrets. (Hell, it's a miracle Joss managed to pull off her character as three-dimensional in the first place!)

Some writers let themselves be seduced into writing them as Mary-Sues, arund whom the whole crew revolves and for whom normal rules are bent. River dictating to others how they should live their lives because she can "see how they really tick" comes to mind.


And hey, why should being a writer stop you? You have a right to an opinion!

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Friday, September 22, 2006 4:00 AM

PHOENIXROSE

You think you know--what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun.


Quote:

Originally posted by danniisupernova:
Well, I'm creating a character (the first time in a long while) for a fic. I'm hesitant about posting it, though I don't think she's an MS because not only does she swear all the time and been raped,she's promiscious and a drug addict. But she is mostly a plot device. Any suggestions?


If you read the Wiki article, it says that many Mary Sues a have tragic past to overcome or have those kinds of huge gaping, but somehow "cool" flaws. So depending on how/why she's written, she might qualify. If she's nothing but a plot device, she's not likely to have much depth, which is irritating even if she's not a Mary Sue. My advice would be to be very, very careful what you do with such a character.


Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without. - Gautama Siddharta

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Friday, September 22, 2006 4:00 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by danniisupernova:
Well, I'm creating a character (the first time in a long while) for a fic. I'm hesitant about posting it, though I don't think she's an MS because not only does she swear all the time and been raped,she's promiscious and a drug addict. But she is mostly a plot device. Any suggestions?




Are you being funny? *G*

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Friday, September 22, 2006 4:06 AM

MAL4PREZ


Quote:

Originally posted by DesktopHippie:
*is distracted by thought of Simon's ultimate orgasm*

Oh... um... what were we talking about?





-----------------------------------------------
I'm the president. I don't need to listen.

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Friday, September 22, 2006 6:24 AM

EMMARIGBY


Oooh, Fanfic talk! My favourite!

I try to be tolerant of Mary Sues. After all the first thing that I do on reading or watching something good is mentally insert myself into the story. But that's purely for my own guilty and self absorbed mental gratification. 'Tis unseemely to do it in public!

___________________
Hissssssssss!

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Friday, September 22, 2006 7:26 AM

LEIASKY


>I'm definitely not a fan of Mary Sues. Where they come from doesn't matter - if they are there, the most I'll do is skim over a fic.

Ditto for me.

If an OC doesn't capture my attention right away, I don't usually bother with the fic anymore because they usually turn into a MS - unless its an author I KNOW will do justice to an OC.

Similarly, I don't tend to read fic that has new /old 'love interests' for any of the characters, regardless of gender.

But I tend to stick to cannon relationships anyway. Anything else is usually just too disturbing for me to enjoy.

I'm real picky, so it's likely not many out there will share my opinions.

"A government is a body of people usually notably ungoverned."

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Friday, September 22, 2006 7:30 AM

LEIASKY


Quote:

Originally posted by DesktopHippie:
*is distracted by thought of Simon's ultimate orgasm*

Oh... um... what were we talking about?




*is distracted right along with the hippie*

What was I saying?

"A government is a body of people usually notably ungoverned."

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Friday, September 22, 2006 7:34 AM

ELOISA


Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:
Kaylee-Sue and River-Sue are very common, I think, because the characters already have very very slight Sue-esque traces, in that their flaws have not yet been explored a lot on the show. They're geniuses (each in her way) and pretty. Kaylee is the universally beloved and overprotected sunshine, River is super-tragic, occasionally snarky fighter-psychic girl who carries gruesome secrets. (Hell, it's a miracle Joss managed to pull off her character as three-dimensional in the first place!)



Don't hate me for saying this but I once had a general feeling when considering the 'verse that if Firefly had had its full stock of seven series, River would have died either at the end of series 6 or halfway through series 7 leaving everyone else to pick up the bits. As Joss created her, her flaws break her in terms of serious self-determined plot-driving (in that her character drove the plot of Serenity but she didn't; it was people's desire to use her that did), but there would be an ever increasing risk even in a professionally written series that her powers would turn her into Superwoman, making the whole thing potentially boring. Killing her would work in the same way that killing Wash broke the invulnerability bubble at the end of Serenity, only even more spectacularly, which is another good reason for it to happen.

*holds hand up* I have a confession to make. My first original writing came from self-inserts and other inserted characters. In my defence, I was eight years old at the time. I trust I've grown out of it. I spend more of my time now working out ways for my characters to be less powerful, which is quite interesting in the case of the omniscient one.

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Friday, September 22, 2006 9:42 AM

NOSADSEVEN


In the exchange of ideas between writer and reader, Mary Sue fic weighs heavily for the writer. They get much more out of writing it than any reader can get out of reading it. As a reader, I'm glad that the author has had that outlet, but I'm not going to bother reading it! A typical Mary Sue ends up being the agent of change for everything, and since I really don't have any interest or investment in the character herself, it makes for a very uninteresting story.

As far as warnings... Mary Sue fic usually makes itself apparent pretty early on - often even in the description. I only have to venture as far as I already need to to gage other make-it-or-break-it factors like poor grammar or characterization.

Regarding cliches... I can like all sorts of cliches as long as they are executed well. Fanfic can be a vast source of poorly executed cliches, but so can other, professional, media.

I don't watch the tv show "NCIS", but I tuned in recently for what I'm guessing was a season finale. It had the tired 'beloved leader with painful past in a coma' cliche as the primary plotline, and, as much as I'm ashamed to admit it, I find that cliche appealing. Well, let me tell you, I thought the execution was awful. I could only think to describe it as bad fan fiction, but on TV.

I guess that's why I find Joss's work so appealing. He manages to take cliches and either turn them on their heads, or transcend them. Because, when it comes down to it, I really do like my cliches.


~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ain't. We. Just.

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Friday, September 22, 2006 9:23 PM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by Eloisa:
Don't hate me for saying this but I once had a general feeling when considering the 'verse that if Firefly had had its full stock of seven series, River would have died either at the end of series 6 or halfway through series 7 leaving everyone else to pick up the bits.



Season 7? Wow, you think far ahead! *G*

Given that much space, I can agree.

There are a lot of aspects of River that leave room for exploration, inherent flaws and an active examination of those.

"Great power comes with great responsibility." The concept of River using and/or abusing her ccapabilities would have come up.

And they could have carved out more beautifully the contrast between her very harmony-oriented personality and the purposes for which she was trained, giving greater poignancy to her inner struggle that's summed up as "Put a bullet to me." in the movie. That's powerful stuff.

But ultimately... you're right. It doesn't get much more pre-emptive than mind-reader, and that only serves so long before you have to add new problems, which only intensifies the victim role, which takes away depth.

Unless... they made her a villain! *G*



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Friday, September 22, 2006 10:04 PM

SPACEANJL


I think River was a great character for driving a story-line. Quite apart from the fact that we do not know what her ultimate purpose was to be, or even if whatever process was in progress was completed, we now have someone on the verge of adulthood. I like your take on the conflict between the gentle little dancer and the weapon (I have used something similar myself.) And there is the fun part about mind-reading - how much can she read? In what depth? And does she know what she is reading? There are things that she will not have come across - can you visualise or process things you don't have experience of? The weight of a dead world nearly broke her mind, and I think it is possible that until they actually landed on the planet and saw the bodies, she still had a deep fear that she was imagining it all.

Anyhow, that is rather wandering off the original MS discussion. I wrote an OC, because I wanted to put the Wash point of view, the 'let's not kill everybody in the room' voice, and I was unsure of my ability to write Wash. And I wrote an older female OC because I could to some extent think what would I do in a situation - given that I had a background and upbringing consistent with the 'Verse as it stands. That I think is a MS downfall - present-day personality in an already fully-realized and different reality.

In my own defence, I have also written fic from multiple first-person viewpoint, male, female and all ages. Sometimes from the view of aliens, wizards and anthropomorphic personifications, too. I've built up a whole world of my own to write in, which I have had since the age of ten or so. (I still maintain that giving a seven-year-old 'The Hobbit' to read does not affect their development...)

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Friday, September 22, 2006 11:08 PM

ELOISA


Quote:

Originally posted by SpaceAnJL:
I still maintain that giving a seven-year-old 'The Hobbit' to read does not affect their development...



Hey, I was five. The younger the merrier.

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Saturday, September 23, 2006 10:32 AM

STINKINGROSE


Not trying, probably writing one anyway. Sigh. Hey, Joss I ain't.
Trying to back my OC off and dig into the canon characters which are much harder for me because if I get it wrong *everyone* will know.
(But I LIKE my character.)
Thanks for the laugh. I tried to picure a Simon orgasm face and got the giggles. Human facial expression at its most uninhibited can be amusing.

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Saturday, September 23, 2006 1:04 PM

REGINAROADIE


The whole issue of Mary Sue is something that I inadvertently dealt with in my writing fanfics for this site.

For my first real story of my own, I decided to incorporate my experience as a wedding videographer in telling the story of Simon and Kaylee's wedding. I'm a big S/K shipper, but I always like to approach it from a different angle. I find most of these stories are fluffy "I love you Simon/Kaylee, let's fuck each other's brains out" stories, which after a while get's incredibly boring. So I decided to tell the story of their nuptuals from an outsiders P.O.V., which lead to the creation of Shooter. Now, at the time, I basically wrote Shooter as myself, more or less. And many of the experinces and emotions I felt as a wedding videographer (especially during wedding where I actually knew the people there and grew up with them), I decided to incorporate into the story in order to make it more emotionally true. So at the time, me having Shooter be a friend of a cousin of Kaylee's whom Kaylee would visit during the summer when they were kids didn't seem to be a big deal at the time. But when I actually read up on Mary Sue fanfics and all that, I immediately went "OH GOD, I just commited the biggest sin of any fanfic writer."

But after talking to misskitten, she calmed me down and explained that THE SERENITY GIG was really an anti-Mary Sue story. That the character of Shooter (ie. myself) doesn't fuck Kaylee, but is there to document her first day of unavailability. Which was never really my intention for the character anyways. When I brought him back in YOU CAN'T GO HOME AGAIN, I made him merely the catalyst of the whole story, since he's a guy who can cross between the Core and Rim worlds with ease. I always thought of him as being a witness. That his whole purpose is to be the physical incarnate of the Heisenberg principle. That by watching something, he'd inadvertently change the outcome of it. Also, I imagined him as kind of a daredevil cameraman/director in the vein of Werner Herzog or Orson Welles. Whenever on FIREFLY or SERENITY when you saw the "hand held" shots of the ships in outer space or the Reaver battles or whatever, I always thought that Shooter would be the person filming that.

And when I finish YOU CAN'T GO HOME AGAIN, I have an idea for a stand alone story about one of his adventures, involving an Alliance battle cruiser, Reavers and a rocket jet pack, ala THE ROCKETEER.

**************************************************
"I have no reason to believe you and every reason not to."
"Why's that?"
"You work in television."

STUDIO 60 ON THE SUNSET STRIP

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Sunday, September 24, 2006 5:40 PM

DANNIISUPERNOVA


Yeah, but the thing is, though she is a plot device, she also has like...actual depth to her. She doesn't really overcome her tragic flaws, she more just uses them as an excuse to fuck with people. She does have the whole dying for a friend thing which is slightly Mary Sue(ish) but only a couple people on board actually like her. So I'm large with the torn.

I love the Castro, because if somebody grabs my ass, I know they're picking my pocket.

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Sunday, September 24, 2006 7:18 PM

ARCADIA


Ugg... I ran across a Mary-Sun in the BSR today, and I'm reminded why I don't really like them most of the time. "OC is dating Mal and has all this talents and look she was injured and she's pivotal to the overarcing politics of the show..."

OCs are just such a fine line.

And really... there are some Mary Sue stories that I read and go, "well, s/he was a Mary Sue, but the story was great, I really felt for the characters, so its okay..."

But, well, so little of fanfiction is actually well written. I am such a fanfic snob, though, so don't listen to me...

Arcadia (aka Greyfable and/or Katie)
www.stillflying.net -- picking up Firefly were Joss left off. We will hold 'til he gets back.

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Monday, September 25, 2006 12:25 PM

HERA7


Here is a Mary-Sue test which allows an author to tell if the character has gone over the line for Sueness.

http://www.springhole.net/quizzes/marysue.htm

And another for more original fiction

http://www.onlyfiction.net/marysue.html

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Monday, September 25, 2006 12:49 PM

EMMARIGBY


Ooh, I enjoyed that test. Definately highlighted some of the major wince-worthy traps!

In reference to the previous discussion I wen't through putting River's stats. She came out with a score of 48 which is very high!

I quote:
Fanfiction authors, you might just want to start over. Role-players and original fiction authors, at this point your characters are likely to provoke eye-rolling and exclaimations of "yeah, right!" from your readers. (Well, at least from me.)


I guess the Great God Joss can get away with things the rest of us mere mortals would be truely aweful at!

___________________
Hissssssssss!

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Monday, September 25, 2006 1:57 PM

ELOISA


I put a couple of my OCs through the test and they scored fairly highly (38 and 42), prompting worries from Elly. I then ran a few more canon characters in the similar genres in similar story situations through it... and they all scored a lot higher. I think that part of the problem is that SF, fantasy, cyberpunk and urban fantasy fiction protagonists are automatically skewed up due to the demands of the genre. A score of 48 compares very favourably, BTW, with Mercedes Lackey's Vanyel Ashkevron (66). All is relative, though. I would reckon that China Mieville's Bellis Coldwine would have a much lower score, and I count Mieville as the best writer working in Britain today.

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Monday, September 25, 2006 2:49 PM

MAL4PREZ


I put through one of my original characters that I was a bit worried about, and got a 26.

22-28
Some definite Sue-like tendancies here. Some polishing is most likely in order to put original fiction and RPG characters back into the balance, especially if Kirking is involved. Fanfiction characters should definitely have some work done.

All right - anyone who's read Easy Tickets and thought Jase was marty sue-ish, drop me a PM! And don't be shy - honest criticism I like!! (But don't post here, I don't want to take over the thread.)

But I tested another one and got a 4! Yay for Ray!

0-15 Points
Your character should be fine at this level.

Good test!


-----------------------------------------------
I'm the president. I don't need to listen.

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Monday, September 25, 2006 3:53 PM

BLUEEYEDBRIGADIER


Quote:


Mary Sue fic. We so rarely talk about it in depth. So let's!

Like it?
Hate it?
Wrote it?



Personally, I only go all hater on Mary Sue/Marty Stu stories when the character's actions are affecting a tad too much change. If they're suddenly solving long-standing issues like Mal & Inara's UST dance or Jayne's self-centred behaviour without much time to allow for naturalistic evolution? Then there's a problem ;)

Otherwise, I let the author run the show as they may. Minor characters have all kinds of effects on the BDHs, even when Joss is doing the scribe-work. Sheriff Bourne (Gregg Henry's character from "The Train Job") is a one-shot role that causes Mal to take a big step towards altering the crew's lives and interpersonal dynamics cuz of information and observations he provides.

Quote:

What is your most/least favoured Mary Sue scenario? The lost family member or the lost lover? Why?


Most favoured and least favoured MS scenarios, huh? I certainly don't mind the situations where the OC or OCs instigates a heist or job for the crew and interacts with them closely. Really, I will give any situation with an OC a fair shake till they start acting like Superman. Although, the lost lover or family member scenario is really mighty hackneyed in its usage. I think only Dawn Summers works in that scenario, cuz Joss fucked that cliche up badly (in the "gonna fuck you up so even yo momma won't recognized ya" vein of things) with his "make her a anthropomorphized portal key" plotline ;)

Quote:

We all know the general guidelines, but where is the delicate line between an original character and a Mary Sue/male MS for you? Do you "know it when you see it"? Does it depend on the general quality of the fic? Or the treatment of the other characters?


My guideline is "Are they (the MS/OC with MS tendencies) making an observation about something that a BDH would notice but not comment on for some reason? Or are they doing some impossibly prophetic stuff that changes a character's personality?" That and just looking at the quality of the author's work. If I can tell they are striving to have a storyline with an OC who's intelligent and capable but whose flaws are not readily visible, then I will give them some rope. They can either pull me along or hang themselves ;D

Quote:

Do you occasionally long for a Mary Sue warning along with the slash/smut/pairing/spoiler warnings that are the usual standard?


Nope...never really felt any longing for a Mary Sue/Marty Stu warning. Mainly because I could label someone's OC as one right off the bat, but eventually come to see that character as a lot more well-rounded than at first glance. Only way a warning should be used is if the author is intentionally using a blatant example of the Mary Sue character template. And hopefully only then as a parody or for humour;)

Quote:

Have you ever been the obnoxious person to point out Mary-Sue tendencies to the author of a fic, only to receive vehement denial? Or were you thanked for your kind advice which was actually used, leaving you feeling vaguely startled, flattered and guilty of manipulating someone’s creative expression?


Never pointed out an OC's MS tendencies, personally. Certainly made critical comments about the validity or believability of a character's actions or emotions...but never outright remarks about somebody's character being an MS. Not because I am cowardly...but because I see salvation where others don't. I think a lot of MS situations can be fixed with a touch of careful shepherding and creative writing.

Quote:

What about fic cliches in general? How much can you take? Which ones do you like, which ones do you hate, and which ones puzzle you in their popularity?


Other fic cliches, eh? I like most of them if done well. Joss himself proves that knowing how to write can mean using the oldest and most whipped dead horse-like plot constructs like they're brand new. I did wonder at a short run of stories at the BSR where Serenity gets totally annihilated in one way or another, mainly cuz Joss generally pulled that with Serenity's crash landing in the BDM. Storylines where the crew, in their various pairings, have been prolific in creating offspring but not much (if any) consideration has been given to space limitations aboard a 54-year old (if what ShinyApple told me in another thread) mid-sized cargo transport is another that kinda tickles my credulity bone a mite...

Anything really is golden for me unless the author doesn't put the time and effort into writing and selling plots ideas. Laziness just kills good plot ideas (even if they are established ones) deader than the Macarena for me;)

BlueEyedBrigadier

Literature has shown us some of humanity's greatest achievements; history, some of our greatest failures -- Alun Lewis

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Monday, September 25, 2006 5:49 PM

PHOENIXROSE

You think you know--what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun.


After first reading the descriptions of Mary Sues I posted earlier, my mind went to the Orson Scott Card character of Bean, so I ran him through the test and he's a 64. One thing that test doesn't ask is "Is your character better/smarter than the hero of the story?" which Bean was in "Ender's Shadow". Ugh.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006 4:31 AM

SPACEANJL


I took the test.


34


Crap.


If anyone has read it, does it come over that badly? No-one has slapped me upside the head for it yet...









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Tuesday, September 26, 2006 4:47 AM

MAL4PREZ


Actually, I was thinking about this test last night. I still like it, but I'm not so ready to agree with it easily. And not just because one of my characters is borderline (on further reflection - I have to admit that my character totally is MS-ish! But I like him that way. )

The problem is - if you have a character who's young and attractive and at all capable, you're screwed on this test! That don't seem right. Audiences love young attractive characters. And you need them to be able to do something to advance the plot. Realistically, you do!

The best way to pass this test to have a 40+ year old ugly overweight dope who can't spell dog. A story full of those just wouldn't be fun.

Anyway, I'm with BEB. Joss has proven that a mary sue and a cliche storyline can be fabulous, if it's written well. It's that written well part that's so hard to do or define.

I still like the test for pointing out things not to do (and being pretty funny about it) but I'm not inclined to think the results are in stone.

And I love that character of Orson Scott Card's, gorramnit!

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Tuesday, September 26, 2006 4:49 AM

SHINYTRINKET


Took the test and my OC got a 24.

I guess for my first try at fic writing that's not TOO horrible, and the folks who have commented on it have left positive feedback...so I hope in the continuation of the story I can continue to walk the line without going too far in the wrong direction!

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006 3:32 AM

ELOISA


I've been thinking about it as well. Specifically, my criticism is that while it very correctly flags up the overall ridiculousness of slotting overpowered juveniles into main story roles, it does not address the main issue of a true Mary Sue fic in sufficient depth - that is as an idealised self-insert.

M4P; firstly Jase didn't seem Mary Sueish as I was reading Easy Tickets, and secondly I doubt that he would have been truly one anyway. I do know a lesbian teenage River-fan who could conceivably have written an emotionally scarred male self-insert for the sole purpose of River-snogging, but that never seems like your style to me.

The overpowered character - especially a youngster who has supreme control over his/her abilities to fight/use magic/fly spaceships/whatever annoys the heck out of me *unless* there are flagged reasons for it AND the rest of the storyverse is powered up to match. A story involving any sort of conflict (which is all of them, really) where one side has an overwhelming advantage and the other side never has a chance is boring anyway. However, I still don't think that this makes the leading character in such a story necessarily a Mary Sue, nor must a Mary Sue necessarily be in this sort of milieu. The key to the annoyance factor of a Mary Sue in my book is the blatant self-insertion character who can do anything or more than she/he should be able to do.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006 4:45 AM

PONYXPRESSINC


Also, my favourite 'Mary Sue', tickles me even more that she realised that Harriet Vane couldn't marry Lord Peter at the end of Strong Poison without loosing her self respect, leading to more novels.

I couldn't help liking Harriet, even in her irritating moments. :D

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006 4:48 AM

PONYXPRESSINC


Hello Embers,

Quote:

...only good Mary Sue ever written IMO was Dorothy L. Sayer's creating the character Harriet Vane so she could marry her fictional hero: Lord Peter Whimsey.



Also, my favourite 'Mary Sue', tickles me even more that she realised that Harriet Vane couldn't marry Lord Peter at the end of Strong Poison without loosing her self respect, (leading to more novels).

I couldn't help liking Harriet, even in her irritating moments. :D

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006 4:52 AM

MAL4PREZ


Good points, Eloisa! It's the obvious self-insertion factor that really makes MS fics hard to read.


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Wednesday, September 27, 2006 5:01 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:
Good points, Eloisa! It's the obvious self-insertion factor that really makes MS fics hard to read.


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I'm the president. I don't need to listen.




And the way the canon characters tend to be written OOC to suit the self-insertion attention fantasy.


That's why your character was never a MS to me. He is a teenaged victim, but he's not the entire focus of the story and everyone's attention. Just as much deeply caring attention is paid to, for example, Ray, the man who hurt him. So much that Ray nearly eclipsed Jase to me, in importance. Layered writing and characters. That's no MS, truly.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006 5:08 AM

MAL4PREZ


Thanks AR! That makes me happy to hear!

So... this probably should be obvious, but what's OOC?

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006 5:46 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by mal4prez:


So... this probably should be obvious, but what's OOC?

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Out of character. :)

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006 6:18 AM

EMBERS


Quote:

Originally posted by PonyXpressInc:
Hello Embers,

Quote:

...only good Mary Sue ever written IMO was Dorothy L. Sayer's creating the character Harriet Vane so she could marry her fictional hero: Lord Peter Whimsey.


Also, my favourite 'Mary Sue', tickles me even more that she realised that Harriet Vane couldn't marry Lord Peter at the end of Strong Poison without loosing her self respect, (leading to more novels).


yes it was a classic Mary-Sue problem, she couldn't just be a VICTIM, she couldn't allow him to rescue her!
No no she had to make him grovel, for years, so that they could marry as equals....

I liked Harriet too, except that my dearly beloved Lord Peter wanted her...and in MY novel I was going to knock her out of the way and get him to realize I was his true soulmate!


River Tam Sessions on YouTube


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Wednesday, September 27, 2006 6:31 AM

PONYXPRESSINC


Quote:

my dearly beloved Lord Peter wanted her...


I was completely besotted with him myself at one time. Still am come to think of it whenever I re-read the books. There’s something about very, very, very intelligent men.

Which is a bit odd considering that for me, when it comes to Firefly characters it’s Jayne every day and twice on Sundays.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006 6:33 AM

PONYXPRESSINC


Drat, computer got confused, double post, sorry.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006 8:20 AM

SMARTBUTDUMBBLONDE


score! I only got 22, which for my first OC isnt too bad I guess...

I'm trying hard to make sure my OC is in no way marySueish.

I would like to justify myself though, it does annoy me when people describe their character's features in minute detail, I only mentioned my OCs said features in the prologue as a hint as to who she might be.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006 9:54 AM

ELOISA


The whole minute-detail-description thing is a matter of author's style as much as anything. I posted part of my novel on my writing group for the feedback, and everyone pointed out how I just describe a few of each character's features (hair, skin tone etc.) and they protested I wasn't thorough enough. In Minette Walters' first book she didn't describe any of the three leading women characters except to state their hair colour and that one of them wore glasses. Other authors go into minute detail (Mercedes Lackey, for instance). It's taste.

The interesting effect is upon the readers. Susan Cooper never says what colour her character Jane's hair is. A friend asked a whole load of female readers of the Dark Is Rising sequence their opinion. A bit later he asked what their own hair colour was. It tallied. The less you say the more people have to use their imagination, and the more they seem to relate in some way to the characters.

I second AgentRouka on the canon-OOCness. However, I've never been 100% certain whether to attribute it to the Mary Sue itself or to the author's inexperience. The two often sit together - when an author's developed a little more s/he often has more depth in OCs along with ability to keep characters IC.

(And I feel the same way about Harriet Vane, BTW.)

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Thursday, September 28, 2006 8:24 AM

SMARTBUTDUMBBLONDE


I just tried out Auraya from the "Age of the Five" trilogy by trudy canavan and she scored 94! and I've only read the first book, there could be more points in the others.

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Thursday, September 28, 2006 8:44 AM

MAL4PREZ


94 - yikes! I've never heard of the book, but now I'm curious.

New things I've learned - OOC and IC. Check!

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Thursday, October 5, 2006 2:43 PM

STORMWOLFDAWN


I detest MS's. They were highly prolific in my old fandom The Sentinel. Usually a female sentinel who tries to steal Blair from Jim. Yuck.

Now I come to Firefly and the BSR. Its crawling with MS's, and most don't even knows they are MS's. If you want to create an OC then write an original story not fanfiction. Unless the OC is the bad guy or some lowly henchman, the OC tends toward MS leanings. And in this fandom where Joss gives us a strong fighter female type who was experimented on by the government(River) then the biggest MS's tend to be characters who are either River's old classmates, or government trained assassins or experiments themselves. And as a recent series in the BSR shows the MS with the experimental body or trained government assassin gone wrong doesn't have to be female.

In fanfiction any OC is more than likely to have MS tendencies. If you want to create MS like original characters, stick to original stories is what I say. There are nine really good well developed characters to play with in this universe, don't need any MS's to come along to have sex with their author's favorite char.

"I was aiming for his head" -Jayne

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