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Author Topic: Making the Most Out of Your Mary Sues  (Read 11674 times)

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Offline raerae

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Re: Making the Most Out of Your Mary Sues
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2010, 02:41:25 AM »
Mary Sues generally aren't part of the world. They are the sun, because everything revolves around them. They are the focus of everyone and everything. That, I think is part of the problem. It's hard to empathize with the center of the universe.

Yes, I think it's possible to have Sue-ish characteristics and still be a well-rounded character, but it all really depends on the execution of it, I think. That, and whether they are balanced out with consequences or limitations.

I think the term Mary Sue has too many different takes on it nowadays for it to be a useful word. Probably because a bad character isn't as definable as we'd like to think...particularly as it's usually subjective.
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Offline Pete

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Re: Making the Most Out of Your Mary Sues
« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2010, 10:40:43 AM »
While I support your call for quality in theory if I could make the kind of money that Eragon or Twilight have made I'd intentionally rot the brains of every reader I could get my hands on. If I were selling actual poison then I would fell terribly guilty. If I'm writing crap no one really has to read it and if they want to pay me to write crap I will merrily do so and not lose a wink of sleep.
And this is why I will never make as much money as some.  Maybe I'm just stubborn, but I'm sticking with my principles on that.

Offline TTallan

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Re: Making the Most Out of Your Mary Sues
« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2010, 11:02:52 AM »
I think what we're trying to avoid here in our writing is not awesome characters who are smart and beautiful and have cool abilities and are destined to become the One True King, but rather stereotypes. Personally, I like reading about characters I might aspire to be. Just give them depth and an interesting obstacle to overcome, and that's a pretty good start.

I've thought of what might be classified as a good Mary Sue: Captain Carrot Ironfoundersson, from Terry Pratchett's Discworld. He's strong, liked by everyone, a natural leader, possibly even subtly clever, and the unacknowledged-but-everyone-knows-it heir to the throne. The author purposefully started him out as a stereotype, but he's evolved into my favourite character in the series. (Except maybe Sam Vimes.)


Offline Pete

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Re: Making the Most Out of Your Mary Sues
« Reply #18 on: January 29, 2010, 11:08:04 AM »
Just give them depth and an interesting obstacle to overcome, and that's a pretty good start.
If I may, I'd like to add that the best obstacle you can give a character to overcome is themselves.  Giving them an external challenge ("Make your way through the Forest of Absolute Horror.") provides a decent setup, but it makes the character - and the story - more interesting when they have to grow as a person in order to do it ("Overcome your fear of trees."  Or something.).

Offline Xade

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Re: Making the Most Out of Your Mary Sues
« Reply #19 on: January 30, 2010, 10:11:02 AM »
I find that I have occasionally thought of Alex as a super bunny, just before I gave him his crowd-phobia. That simple thing has made him more human. I've also made him doubt his inventions (the "this is so untested" comment with sweating) at the start of the adventure. Being that I really hadnt had a chance to really settle into things until now and plot a chapter, he might seem a little Mary Sue like. However, this chapter is designed to develop him further, the title is "an overlook of life," which takes place in castle overlook and there will be metaphors about his life that I hope will become apparent over time. I think this might be my last cameo caper for a while though, unless like this one I can fit them into what I had planned. You see, I scripted chapter four just for Alex to have him grow as a character but did not have an actual location planned until Castle Overlook came along. So, hopefully Alex will get out of his Mary Sue shoes and into his own.

LOL, just for laughs I took the mary sue quiz, truthfully in fact with Alex and this is what the results were:

"Alex is only a little like you. He isn't really very cool: he blends into crowds, he hangs out on the fringes at parties, and wearing shades after dark makes him run into things. There's never been anything special about him that he could see; boy, is he in for a surprise. He's had more than his fair share of hard knocks, and probably spends more time than he ought moaning about it. And he's gotten no slack from you.

In general, you care deeply about Alex, but you're smart enough to let him stand on his own, without burdening him with your personal fantasies or propping him up with idealization and over-dramatization. Alex is a healthy character with a promising career ahead of him. "

Score
Score Breakdown
I Love Him, I Let Him Go 5
You Mean Plaid Is Out? 6
Plain Joe 0
Angst R Us 10
Momma HATES Him! 0
Total: 21
« Last Edit: January 30, 2010, 10:45:46 AM by Xade »

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Offline Funderbunk

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Re: Making the Most Out of Your Mary Sues
« Reply #20 on: January 30, 2010, 12:33:00 PM »
I know from author friends that Eragon is generally reviled for ripping off every Fantasy stereotype there is and dressing it up in Mary Sue clothing.

Oh. I thought it was generally reviled for being a rewrite of Star Wars: A New Hope in a fantasy setting.
I'm so optimistic, my blood type is 'B Positive'!

Offline TheCow

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Re: Making the Most Out of Your Mary Sues
« Reply #21 on: January 30, 2010, 01:08:23 PM »
I know from author friends that Eragon is generally reviled for ripping off every Fantasy stereotype there is and dressing it up in Mary Sue clothing.

Oh. I thought it was generally reviled for being a rewrite of Star Wars: A New Hope in a fantasy setting.

Aren't they the same thing?  ;D (kidding)