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  #1    
Old December 14th, 2009, 12:41 AM
SkyBlue's Avatar
SkyBlue
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NOTES: This post is split into two parts. The second part is split into many other posts. Get what I mean?

SKYBLUE'S GUIDE TO MARY-SUES
PART I: Introduction to the Mary-Sue

Welcome, beginners and writers of fan fiction, to the vast, sprawling world of the Internet. I am SkyBlue, your guide, and now...

Know what? Screw the formal stuff. Name's SkyBlue, case you didn't read my sucky intro. Let's focus on the reason as to why I made this guide. You guessed it, the Mary-Sue, who, throughout this guide, I will refer to as MS.

Now, you starters, you don't know what Mary-Sue means. Well, it means an original character so perfect it annoys the heck out of everybody (except for the Comedy MS). Like Wesley Crusher of Star Trek: The Next Generation. (NOT THE TIME, SKY!!) Why does it annoy the heck out of everybody? Because the MS is so annoyingly perfect, she doesn't have a single human flaw that anyone can relate to!

Here are the traits of all Mary-Sues:

- Perfect to the point of annoyance (or a perfect version of the author, either way, BLEAGH!)

- Everyone likes the MS in the universe the story is set in. Sometimes, EVEN THE VILLAINS. Who are not supposed to like the MS in the first place

- Weird name. Weird pronunciation. Long name. Heck, her NAME says "MS"!

There are different categories for different Mary-Sues. But let's not go into it right now.

Instead, let me tell you that even the best of us (NOT ME) make the dreaded MS in one point of our life, whether intentional or not. When faced with the truth, we have to choose:

A.) Kill the MS and replace.

OR

B.) Rework the MS into a more acceptable OC.

Here's my story.

When I started out in the writing biz, I had an OC, Dianne. She was a cooler, more perfect version of me. I was sure she would be a hit with everybody. Paired her off with my crush (Ash, as you can guess), and everything.

Then I posted the story...and got a flame. Zero on ze constructives.

The flame was pretty bad. Whoever wrote it thought that a freaking bucket of water was smarter than me. Short version: Stop. Writing. Forever.

I was ticked off after learning about the MS. However, after a few litmus tests, I decided to rework her into a less perfect version, but still keep the Ash's-girlfriend aspect. So, she became sassier, more sarcastic, and way quick-tempered (which affects her battling performance badly--HEY WAIT A FREAKIN' MINUTE!!). In short, she became a little more like other Trainers.

So, my story proves that, like you guys, writers who have been writing for years made an MS sometime in their lives. The guide's job is to help you not make that mistake.
PART II: DIFFERENT SUES FOR DIFFERENT BLOKES

Remember when I mentioned a while ago that the MS can be broken down into different categories? (And remember the note?)

Well, here's the first category, which is in this post for its...size.

Category 1: Comedy MS

Spoiler:
EXAMPLE: Pokemon

"Why isn't anyone falling for me?!" cried Princess Natasha Doreena Vel'ikstra Harlington, "best Trainer ever".

James rolled his eyes, quite exasperated with the woman. "Because you have no personality! No life, either." He shot a glance towards Jessie. "Besides, I love Jessie. Not a brat like you."


The Comedy MS is probably the only MS ANYONE likes. After all, her only use is for parody purposes. Her traits are:

- OVERBLOWN perfection

- Over-the-top traits of other categories

- Buxom charms

One common plot of the stories featuring this category is that she plots (and plots quite perfectly) to make everyone in the story's universe fall for her. Even those of the same sex. Sometimes, she succeeds. Sometimes, she fails, and everyone sees her for the ditz she is.

She's a great source of laughter in limbo. Unlike the next category...

"Our hearts are made of fragile glass. One crack and we have no more heart. We must take care of it."

Last edited by SkyBlue; December 14th, 2009 at 01:11 AM.
  #2    
Old December 15th, 2009, 11:42 AM
Bay Alexison's Avatar
Bay Alexison
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Um...sorry to ask, but do you have Astinus' permission to do this guide? Honestly, doing a Mary Sue guide requires you to know exactly what you're talking about and have experience analyzing different characters in other fanfics, not just yours. Heck, I'm not an expert of Mary Sues and I have been writing fanficiton for almost four years. However, some things you say are...to put in a nice way, not something I think is a Mary Sue.

Quote:
Now, you starters, you don't know what Mary-Sue means. Well, it means an original character so perfect it annoys the heck out of everybody (except for the Comedy MS). Like Wesley Crusher of Star Trek: The Next Generation. (NOT THE TIME, SKY!!) Why does it annoy the heck out of everybody? Because the MS is so annoyingly perfect, she doesn't have a single human flaw that anyone can relate to!
It is true a trait a Mary Sue has is she is perfect and that no one can relate to. However, that's not the only thing a Mary Sue is. A Mary Sue is actually when the world/universe giving the character a break in life (or trying to ruin their life if you're going a darker route), change the rules of the world to fit them, the reactions to the character are illogical, and bringing too much attention, basically. For instance, a trainer able to go through Team Rocket without much trouble. That's a Sue because the trainer got off too easily. You have a fifteen year old beginning their journey and then you have other fifteen year olds beginning their journey too because you change the age limit. That's a Sue because you're changing the rules of the Pokemon world (the age limit for the trainer is accepted to be ten, or at least anime canon). The female is mean to the other characters, but they still love her anyway. That's a Sue because the reaction to her is illogical, and I"m not just talking about everyone loves her deal.

Quote:
- Perfect to the point of annoyance (or a perfect version of the author, either way, BLEAGH!)
A Mary Sue doesn't have to be a self-insert. Any character not thought up well can be one.

Quote:
- Everyone likes the MS in the universe the story is set in. Sometimes, EVEN THE VILLAINS. Who are not supposed to like the MS in the first place
Doesn't have to be like that. Sometimes a Mary Sue can have people that both love her or hate her. Actually, what happens is all the supposed "good" characters likes the Mary Sue and the supposed "bad" characters/villains hate her. If like that, then the author is basically showing, 'oh lookie here, my character is a pure angel so all the good people her and the bad people hate her!"

Also, it doesn't have to be everyone loves her. It can also be everyone hates her. Writers would do that to make you feel sorry for the character.

Quote:
- Weird name. Weird pronunciation. Long name. Heck, her NAME says "MS"!
True to an extent if you want to make your character feel special. However, in real life there are people that have weird last names. *coughminesandacharacterfrommyficcough*

Quote:
Instead, let me tell you that even the best of us (NOT ME) make the dreaded MS in one point of our life, whether intentional or not. When faced with the truth, we have to choose:

A.) Kill the MS and replace.

OR

B.) Rework the MS into a more acceptable OC.
Wait, I'm confused. You said you haven't made a Mary Sue, but then later you said you have and tried to change the character to make her less Sue. Or is it that I'm missing something here?

Also, I actually would just say kill the character and do a replacement. Once a Sue, always a Sue. You can't just ripped her personality apart so she is less of one. It's actually like me suddenly changing my character's personality because I don't like it. Just go for a new character and think over the gist of his/her personality before starting the story.

Actually, I would say think the story first and then the character so that you have the character revolve around the plot, not the other way around.

Quote:
Here's my story.

When I started out in the writing biz, I had an OC, Dianne. She was a cooler, more perfect version of me. I was sure she would be a hit with everybody. Paired her off with my crush (Ash, as you can guess), and everything.

Then I posted the story...and got a flame. Zero on ze constructives.

The flame was pretty bad. Whoever wrote it thought that a freaking bucket of water was smarter than me. Short version: Stop. Writing. Forever.

I was ticked off after learning about the MS. However, after a few litmus tests, I decided to rework her into a less perfect version, but still keep the Ash's-girlfriend aspect. So, she became sassier, more sarcastic, and way quick-tempered (which affects her battling performance badly--HEY WAIT A FREAKIN' MINUTE!!). In short, she became a little more like other Trainers.

So, my story proves that, like you guys, writers who have been writing for years made an MS sometime in their lives. The guide's job is to help you not make that mistake.
Actually, sorry to say, but she is still a Sue, or at least the way you describe it. You have Ash still love her despite the changes. I assume Ash wouldn't like your character if she gets too sarcastic and quick tempered.

Also, as for those Litmus tests, they're basically guidelines on basically common personality traits Mary Sue have. However, just because the character has a couple traits here and there that doesn't mean that character is a Mary Sue. It's not just about personality. Again, it's also about basically revolving around the character and everything going her way.

Onto the Comedy MS, actually she would be considered a Mary Sue not by her perfect traits or no but everyone hating her. You already have established the world is trying to get her. I get what you're trying to do is a parody, but you're doing it wrong. Heck, I have done a Mary Sue parody and it went horribly. What I learned is the Comedy MS is not the right way to do a Sue. It gets cheesy later on. Best examples of Mary Sues are ones unintentional.

I'm sorry, but I don't think you're experience enough to give a good indepth guide of a Mary Sue. Not even I can do a guide either since I know a Mary Sue is not easy to explain to people. You basically just know if you see a Sue or not (even debeating whether that character is a Sue or not is a hassle).
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Last edited by Bay Alexison; December 15th, 2009 at 11:59 AM. Reason: Accidently hit the reply key. Got more to say. :x
  #3    
Old December 15th, 2009, 11:58 AM
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Feign
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Fanfic love stories are probably the best examples... I don't think I've read a fanfic love story (that somehow I forced my way through), that wasn't a Mary-Sue to some extent... That's why I generally don't like them.

However a good site to check your character is: http://www.springhole.net/quizzes/marysue.htm

EDIT: I had posted in here before the database error thing with the above link, as a good reference guide thing.
  #4    
Old December 15th, 2009, 12:14 PM
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Having written a short section on sues for the purpose of my RP guide, I feel obligated to chip in as well.

As has already been stated, the number one defining trait of a Sue is bending the universe and/or probabilities for the character's benefit, either to glorify them or to fill their life with utter angst (the latter being personified in Emo- and Anti-Sues). Good looks, awesome personality, special powers/heritage, popularity, and exotic names are all common traits among Sues, but that does not - empathically does NOT - mean that any character who posses one or more of those traits is a Sue. Furthermore, it is not necessary for a character to have all of the traits listed to qualify as Sue. Emo- and Anti-Sues are all targets of senseless hatred and oppression as the writer's pity-plea for them, Anti-Sues are often riddled with a wide, implausible range of imperfections (hence the term) that are included as strap-ons to, again, invoke reader sympathy, and there are quite many Mary-Sues who actually have pretty ordinary names, the iconical name 'Mary-Sue' itself already being an example of this.

Sueness is A) a matter of taste and personal disbelief to some degree, and B) always a matter of execution. It is fully possible to write about an exotically named beautiful character who generally gets along with people who is fully non-Sue, provided that the writer does so in a compelling and plausible manner, building up the relationships naturally, providing an explanation for the name and giving the character a position where their described looks aren't inherently impractical/impossible to maintain. Mary-Sues in fiction usually pop up when the entire story is written to glorify a character rather than the character being written to serve the purpose of the story (which is the normal order of things), or a character may grow Sue due to the cumulative effect of positive traits the author saddles them with. In the latter case, it may be possible to rectify the situation, either by heavy revision work or by introducing a plot point that restrains their reality-warping powers of awesome back to acceptable levels.

That being said, I do agree that there is no sense in taking a character inherently born Sue and trying to de-suify them as the story progresses, save of course if the story itself is about Sues (I do, for instance, recall one premise of a Sue suffering a 'fall from grace' that robbed her of her reality-warping powers and forced her to confront the real world). A sue is inherently a bad piece of writing, so a premise Sue is best dealt with by simply being replaced with a more presentable character.

And yeah, all in all this 'guide' seems...rushed and pretty faulty. I mean heck, even the wiki article is more comprehensive. I strongly suggest being more thorough with your research and writing before posting this sort of thing. Misinformation can be even worse than ignorance for people, you know.
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  #5    
Old December 21st, 2009, 07:47 PM
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SkyBlue
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Oh, yeah...sorry. Close, please? *blush*

"Our hearts are made of fragile glass. One crack and we have no more heart. We must take care of it."
  #6    
Old December 21st, 2009, 09:08 PM
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Astinus
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Closing on request of OP.
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