1. shatterrenamon
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    shatterrenamon New Member

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    Trying to get that Mary Sue paranoia off my back

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by shatterrenamon, Jan 9, 2013.

    I use to write fanfiction on a regular basis, writing with reckless abandoned and a pile of advice books & writer essays but over time the advice of anti Mary Sue had slowly worn me down until the point that I cannot even write a little joke without having to fear in the back of my head of "making a one".

    It's too the point I loath my own work, no longer find any kind of writing fun and corrupted some alright stories then mangled them for the sake of characterization bloat*

    An example an aborted story involved a fight, one was a doctor and I had dropped it several times before throught the story (the DR. prefix should have been a givaway) but in MS paranoia I had to break the story to explain he had years of experience as a surgeon and seen many gun/knife wounds to help stop another character's injuries. But in the end it that paranoia ate me up so much the discription of how said DR. got there, made him a terrible doctor and the character that was important to the story died breaking the pace and flow of everything.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Learn to ignore the blue jay shriek of "Mary Sue! Mary Sue!" It's no more meaningful than any other birdbrain utterance, especially because the original meaning has been all but lost.

    "Mary Sue" refers to author self-insertion to vicariously live out a personal fantasy. Nothing more, nothing less. One of the best examples is a character created by Eugene Wesley Roddenberry for his series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, to live out his fantasy of growing up on a starship and becoming an officer.

    Mary Sue does not mean an annoyingly perfect character. And lately, it has been misused to mean any character the reader doesn't like, without having to spark a few neurons in any pesky analysis of why he or she dislikes the character.

    In short, it's a lazy label applied with no more thought than calling someone a Nazi.

    Just focus on writing well. Your characters will improve along with every other aspect of your writing.
     
  3. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Agree with Cogito. I've read so many reviews of various fanfics with that charge and I keep wondering where this Mary Sue is appearing. Believe me, you'll know the real thing when you read it - it's the obviousness that makes it a Mary Sue.

    Now, that's not saying that one's characters can't go a bit over the top, or may need some reining in. But again, that's part of the learning process - making the characters believable. If you feel overwhelmed with it, set it aside for a few days, ignore it, and then come back with a fresh set of eyes (and a brain that's tossed the Mary Sue fear out on her butt).
     
  4. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I also agree with Cogito. Mary Sue is a singularly unhelpful concept for a writer to have to worry about. Develop your characters and write their stories and forget about Mary Sues and Gary Stus and the rest.

    If the concept of Mary Sue is killing your writing, then put Mary Sue out of your head right now. Remember, Homer, Shakespeare, Dickens, Tolstoy, Nabokov, and Hemingway never heard of Mary Sue. Good thing, too.
     
  5. Talmay
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    Talmay Member

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    Just don't worry about it. Create whoever you want, however you want. Restraining yourself by what people might think is crippling.
     
  6. Man in the Box
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    Man in the Box Active Member

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    Cogito wrote everything I wanted to write. Don't worry about Mary Sues.

    Literally every hero in a "chosen one" story scores high in the Mary Sue Litmus test. Does that mean the story becomes uninteresting, or that the character is a Mary Sue? No, absolutely not.

    We see normal people everyday. Readers want to read about special people.
     
  7. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    It sounds to me like you are on the verge of a big breakthrough in your writing. The reason I think that, is that you seem to be stuck at some perceived barrier (glass ceiling type thing) which results in you questioning your writing. The very fact you are dissatisfied and trying to dig deeper with your stories is a good thing. But you need to make it work to your advantage.

    I think it's very useful when we uncover our characters to have Mary -Sue qualities. All beginner writers tend to create unrealistic, wishful-thinkng, one-dimensional, lame characters. Mary Sue is the term that encompasses all of it and it is most helpful in the early stages but really, nobody is immune to writing a lame character so it shouldn't be a fear, just part of the process.The term itself was inspired by a Star Trek character called Mary Sue, who was so over the top in her abilities and had no realistic flaws, so she became a matter for ridicule and a famous example of how not to do it.

    It looks to me like you will soon get to a whole new level in your work. The best way to get there is to lose the ego. Look at your stuff realistically. Be brutal as you compare it with a bestseller in that genre. Cut out mercilessly. Don't be overprotective towards our words or ideas or characters for that matter, it is the communication of the right message in the right way that makes for great writing.
     
  8. shatterrenamon
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    shatterrenamon New Member

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    Yeah, but I think everything I have written is garbage. It's getting so crippling now that when I type up a sentence in a story I look at it, quit and declaire everything worthless.
     
  9. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    To be fair to Star Trek, Mary Sue was actually a character in a Star Trek fanfiction, NOT in the actual show.

    This is simply a recipe for never accomplishing anything. You are clearly not evaluating your own work properly. Get a grip on reality and write - and DON'T delete your stuff!
     

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