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  1. SunnyRabbiera
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    SunnyRabbiera Member

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    Sueproofing

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by SunnyRabbiera, Jul 25, 2008.

    In modern fiction its hard to create fresh new characters that are unique and can take the eye of the reader.
    But there is a problem with doing this, too much into that character can walk him or her into the land of the Mary Sue and Gary Stu.
    For me its very hard Sueproofing, as my stories are set around super hero like elements.
    Creating a super hero genre story is a real pain in the you know what, as make the heroes too powerful you make them unsympathetic.
    Make them too weak and no one wants to read about your heroes.
    I Have done my best to walk the middle ground with my characters, having characters that have superpowers yes but making sure no one character is not more powerful then the other.
    Character balance has been my way of Sueproofing, having measures to make sure that the Mary Sue/ Gary Stu effect is all but eliminated.
    But still its tough, what do you folks do to Sueproof your fics?
     
  2. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    Not really, as Hero stories can range from little power, like "The Shadow" to amazing power like "The Silver Surfer"

    Stories of people with gold like power to even gods themselves having at it litter literary works from times past till today.

    Powerlevel is not the element that brings issue, it always comes to balance. Mainly for as powerful as the MC might be, the AT (antagonist) has to be equal to, or in some cases even more powerful.

    To give an example: Superman and Lex Luthor. Now all things said and done Superman could rip Lex limb from limb and not even break a sweat in the process, but Superman is limited by his own ideals of right and wrong, this ideal is what makes Lex as powerful as he is because Lex is not limited by the same ideals and has vast resources at his disposal to peruse his ends.

    Power Balance is a game, very much like chess.

    For the most part I eliminate the Stu/Sue problem by making the people in my story as screwed up as I am in real life, that tends to solve any idea that they might be something amazing.

    If it is going to be "Me" it might as well get the bad parts to boot...
     
  3. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    I just write my characters as realistically as I can. Since they're realistic (with their strengths and their flaws) in my head, IMO none of them seem like Sues. I've never felt a need to do a Mary Sue-type character since I don't WANT to put a perfect version of myself in a story in the first place (I'm writing my characters' stories, not mine), and perfect characters in general are boring, so it's not really a problem for me. *shrug*

    I think even more than keeping one's eyes open for characters that are too perfect or too imperfect, one should take a close look at how much of THEMSELVES they're putting into a character via wish-fulfillment. Not as in basing a character on yourself, but as in creating a character who is everything you wish you could be if you were perfect. I've never wanted to do this, but I've seen some other people do so. My protagonist, I'd love to be her, but she's pretty flawed too. She's not me, and she's not a perfect version of me. Oh, I'd love to be like her, sure, but then again my goal in life has never been to be a flawless person with superpowers! It's her mundane qualities--her ability to make friends, her perseverance, her belief in herself--that I envy far more than any supernatural powers she might have.

    When you find yourself envying your MC's superpowers and giving them more and more, I think that's more of a red flag than anything. Check to see if your story is an attempt to tell an actual story, or if it's just wish-fulfillment written out in words.
     
  4. SunnyRabbiera
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    SunnyRabbiera Member

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    Well I do have characters who's powers evolve as they gain more experience and alterations over time but its slow and gradual and never at an instant.
     
  5. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    An easy way to sue-proof, at least for me, is to make sure I have a good solid image of the character in my head, and then I take one of the Mary Sue tests. I like this one a lot: http://www.ponylandpress.com/ms-test.html

    I also do a sort of mental check to make sure my characters are reasonable. Do they have crazy, amazing, or wonderful powers? Do they have personality traits that make them either more or less fun to be around? Have they learned from prior mistakes? These and similar questions helped bring one of my main characters, Berendon, from Gary Stu status to Anti-Sue status.

    I think a large part of making a rounded character is double-checking to make sure they really are reasonable. If you could imagine a character as someone you might plausibly meet in real life - and I've met scientists, professors, natural-born leaders, college deans, kung fu masters, computer hackers, albinos, Nobel Prize winners, writers, FBI agents and some of the most brilliant people in the United States - then your character is probably balanced and "normal" (read: not a Mary Sue).
     
  6. Ungood
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    Ungood Contributing Member

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    The biggest thing you can put forth to eliminate the Stu/Sue element is "Reality" of the existence of your character and their personal development.

    Do they "feel" real or do they feel "Un-believable" and that will be your dividing factor to the reality of things.

    Let me give you an example:

    I have a MC I plan to make. He rules his own country with an iron first. His subjects love him and he has a dangerous nick name. He is a brilliant scientist and a wizard. he is known around the world by every other hero on the planet and is truly powerful by anyone standards is there are almost no one one that can take him on in a one on one fight. he has outwitted gods and double crossed devils.

    I am of course talking about the beloved Victor Von Doom (IE: Doctor Doom)

    I doubt anyone would call him a Gary Stu.

    Other Notable hero's and villains that make the stu/sue list would be:
    Superman
    Batman
    Wonder Woman
    Ben Grim/The Thing
    Silver Surfer
    Thanatose
    Adam Warlock
    Capitan America

    and the list could go on and on... and on...

    It is in how you tell the story and believable the situation and your Chairacter is not how well they score on a list of things to do or how much power they have.

    Think of Q from Star Trek. A God being, but hardly a "Stu" by any standard.

    Even the Borg as a collective could fall into a "Sue" trap.

    Always ask this question:

    Is this believable.

    Does this fit the place/time.

    It is rational that this person could do that.

    here is my true advice: Have someone else look at your character and ask this question:

    "On a scale from one to 10 how believable is this character, 1 being not and 10 being totally"

    After you ask the question just take the number down and do NOT ask them to explain it.

    Just thank them and then go look at your character again and see if you can see why they have it the rating that they did.
     

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