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No Mary Sues Allowed, Please...
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Gatchaman Fanfic Archive  |  Discussion  |  Fanfic Discussion and Writing (Moderators: cathrl, Dei, Veronika)  |  No Mary Sues Allowed, Please... 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: No Mary Sues Allowed, Please...  (Read 3859 times)
Julieann
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« on: May 01, 2008, 12:31:55 PM »

One thing that has always amazed me about this fandom is the high average quality of the fanfics.  So, here is a question for all you fanfic authors out there: When you are creating a new original character, do you take any steps to make sure you don't accidently create a Mary Sue/Gary Stu? (Heh, other than the times you are purposely creating one. Wink ) Or have you been avoiding that trap for so long is comes naturally?
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Julieann

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Reboekah
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« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2008, 10:19:00 PM »

Back when I was writing...

Well - Reboekah would probably qualify as "self-insertion" - but her position never really took over any story idea. More of a supporting character, handed assignments from Dr. Nambu, or returning with results (or no results - as the case may be).

The only case where Reboekah had more of an interactive role planned (though not yet executed) was to work with Jun on a serious computer investigation [heck... call it what it was... a computer hacking assignment!]. But that was as much to provide discussion with a knowledgable character as any thing else.

Other fandoms?  Embarrassed Well - Cosmo Police Justy was probably my largest "Mary Sue" candidate as an alternate ego, but even she couldn't do everything - and the road to "happily ever after" never materialized.  Dont Know

So - in true answer - I try to create original characters in supporting roles, give them enough reason to interact with the major characters, but focus the stories on the major characters without having the deus ex machina character walk in with the perfect answer.

Now - a couple of notes from experience :

  1) Rare, though possible, skills can involve multiple language fluency (probably from a young age - but living with my other half and he being fluent in five languages, reasonable in three more, and having three myself [though rusty!]) I don't worry too much about having a character being bi-lingual or even have a good grasp on more than three languages. BUT - becoming fluent in less than a month of INTENSE immersion? Not without the ability to read minds... Frustrated
  2) I had the honor of knowing (and dating) a young man who was a musical genius... perfect pitch, glorious tenor, and could pick up any woodwind instrument and PLAY IT at concert level within a week (he did that with a bassoon!). On the flip side, he had terrible problems understanding mathematics, and was not all that interested in history. But could he ever handle anything musical!  Shocked

I bring this up because one of the more "obvious" signs in the "Mary Sue" litmus test is the ability of a character to come in and be a phenom. I think it is possible from any person - but not in more than one skill area.... So - trying to outdo the Kagaku Ninja Tai in more than one of the specialties just doesn't wash with me. But having at least as much (or maybe a little bit more) skill in a specialty area overlapping the KNT is possible. I just remember that the major characters are supposed to be all-around better in more areas than any supporting character. That tends to work...

Sorry for the ramble through my thoughts! Maybe I'll get back to writing one of these days.... Jun and Reboekah have a computer system to unravel....
« Last Edit: August 25, 2008, 04:05:08 PM by Reboekah » Logged

-Boeke
Julieann
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« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2008, 08:16:05 PM »

Other fandoms?  Embarrassed Well - Cosmo Police Justy was probably my largest "Mary Sue" candidate as an alternate ego, but even she couldn't do everything - and the road to "happily ever after" never materialized.  Dont Know

Justy? Wow, I haven't thought of that one in ages. The only exposure I had to it were the few comic books in english from the early 90's, I think? Was that just a manga, or an anime as well?
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Julieann

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« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2008, 04:03:21 PM »

Other fandoms?  Embarrassed Well - Cosmo Police Justy was probably my largest "Mary Sue" candidate as an alternate ego, but even she couldn't do everything - and the road to "happily ever after" never materialized.  Dont Know

Justy? Wow, I haven't thought of that one in ages. The only exposure I had to it were the few comic books in english from the early 90's, I think? Was that just a manga, or an anime as well?

Primarily manga - a five book collection for the series. There was one 45 minute OAV created, focusing on what would happen should the criminal espers force Asteris (a five year old who psychically force-grew herself into a teenager's body in response to Justy having to kill her escaped criminal esper father) to see Justy as an enemy rather than as her "older brother".

I do enjoy Okazaki Tsuguo's art style - and am glad to have found the more recent series of his on the internet. "Cain 13" was actually partially translated into english, though it only ran for a short time. And "Puramis", the current series, is only available on Yahoo.Japan. I can point you in the direction of those two, should you be interested.
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« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2008, 07:01:30 PM »

Hi everyone,

I'm new (there didn't seem to be an intro thread, so hope it's ok to post here) and I'm also fairly new-ish to fanfics and I was wondering what a Mary-Sue is?  I can hazard a guess from reading the previous posts but just wanted a more short and sharp answer. ^^  And er...why is a  Mary-Sue a bad thing?

I might as well introduce myself while I'm here: I am a long time Gatch fan, though back in the day, I knew it as Battle of the Planets.  Like others, it was the internet that led me to Gatchaman.  Some years ago I tried my hand at writing both Gatch/BOTP fanfiction but it was fleeting - life took over and required me to work and not write dammit! - and before I knew it, more years passed.  Now, I have to confess, the prospect of the Gatch movie has sparked my creative interest again and I thought I'd try getting back to writing by re-familiarising myself with fanfics/how to write em'/reading other people's/generally talking Gatch/BOTP stuff again.  So please forgive my ignorance of terminology etc...

So that's me. Smile

Oh, and thanks to Springie for leading me to here over from DA.  I'm Kadoman there. 
P.S. Er...as you can see, Ken/Mark is my favourite...
« Last Edit: August 31, 2008, 07:03:12 PM by Kadokage » Logged
Julieann
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« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2008, 04:40:10 AM »

Hello, Kadokage! Nice to have you here! I'm Dreamerscove over at DA. Smile

There is a whole history of the "Mary Sue" but put simply it is the ultimate wish-fulfillment for the author, and usually leave most readers gagging.

Mary Sue is amazingly intelligent, outrageously beautiful, adored by all around her. Her traits can include: incredibly intelligent, amazingly talented, more accomplished than anyone, is the focus of the story instead of the show main characters, is usually the new love interest of the shows leads (and most men in the show will be interested in her, she’s irrisistable!). She will always save the day, has a perfect singing voice, musically gifted, has a fantastic body, and usually includes unusual eye color, long flowing hair (often times red), unusual and often flowery names (or even named after the author themselves), angsty childhood, special powers, is exceptional from a young age, often times related to someone else in the show, and have very few faults. The perfect epitome of what the author wishes she could be. Mary Sue is perfect and the center of everyone’s universe.

She will take over the fanfic, so that the characters of the show are seen as stand-around idiots that one wonders how they got along without her all this time. Mary Sue is not a balanced character, and if one isn’t watchful, any original character can turn into one, even for experienced writers.

Mary Sue turns up in every fandom and even in TV and books. Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation was a Gary Stu (the male version of the Mary Sue). Emby put together a Gatchaman "The Mary Sue Litmus Test" to test out characters with. It can be rather fun. Smile  If you want more info on the “Mary Sue” check out the Wikipedia article.

There have been challenges to purposely write the ultimate Mary Sue story, just for fun. One by Cricket comes to mind, but I know there are others.

As for terminology, there are a lot of good sources for that on the internet. Take a look at the LInks section of this site for fantastic fan-sites.

By the way,Mark is mine! MINE I say!  Tongue

By the way, welcome to the insanity. Big Grin
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Julieann

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« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2008, 10:04:44 AM »

Haa! You can have Mark. I'll have Ken. Big Grin


Thanks for the excellent reply.  I think I understand now, although, I have to admit, I don't think I've read anything like that before!  Can you direct me to an example?

I had a look at the test which kinda had my head spinning with so many variables.  It was certainly enlightening although I am sure that some of those things might be legitimate in a well told story.  Something like, do you tell the story primarily from the character's point of view , may in fact be an effective narrative device that serves to distance us from the regular characters so we might get to know them from an entirely different - perhaps more objective - perspective? 

Anyway, thanks again for the response.  I'm looking forward to learning more about fanfiction from here - hopefully I won't turn out any MarySues! Big Grin
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Julieann
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« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2008, 03:20:36 PM »

There are definitely things on the list that would make for a great story. I've used some of them. Even two or three off the list might be fine. It's the combination and then execution that you should watch out for. Wink

For fun, take a character and take the test and see what the final score is. I did Erica, one of the main characters from my Arcadia fanfic, and she did really well. Although that is a time-traveling/alternate universe story that will have the Gatch team we know and love (and who have now shown up a couple times now), it was impossible to tell it from the Gatch characters viewpoint. By the way, she got a low score, even though she has red hair. She can't sing (but can play keyboard) and has a vicious temper and has to get squashed from her higher-ups once in a while. Wink

Mary Sue Stories:

Cricket: A Mary Sue Story

jublke: Mary Sue Takes the Challenge

Both of the above were written as Mary Sue pieces on purpose. I'm sure others can come up with more.  Big Grin
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Julieann

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« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2008, 04:33:56 PM »

Thanks for those links, will check them out!  I'm going to try the test on some of my original characters and see how they score. Big Grin
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cathrl
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« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2008, 06:24:23 PM »

Haa! You can have Mark. I'll have Ken. Big Grin


Thanks for the excellent reply.  I think I understand now, although, I have to admit, I don't think I've read anything like that before!  Can you direct me to an example?

I had a look at the test which kinda had my head spinning with so many variables.  It was certainly enlightening although I am sure that some of those things might be legitimate in a well told story.  Something like, do you tell the story primarily from the character's point of view , may in fact be an effective narrative device that serves to distance us from the regular characters so we might get to know them from an entirely different - perhaps more objective - perspective? 

Anyway, thanks again for the response.  I'm looking forward to learning more about fanfiction from here - hopefully I won't turn out any MarySues! Big Grin

No, she can't have Mark. Or at least she'll have to share him Big Grin

The thing with the Mary Sue tests is that all the things on them can be characteristics of a well-written, well-rounded, realistic character. Certainly you can tell the story primarily from the character's point of view. But if you tell the story from the character's point of view and they have an amazingly angsty past and they're the long-lost sister of Mark and Jason falls in love with them and they're the best pilot and boomerang-thrower the team have ever seen and they are a concert-level pianist who invented the cure for cancer in their spare time... see what I mean? If your character would be in the credits if they remade the show using your plot, she may well be overdoing it. Ever see that episode of Buffy where Jonathan has warped reality to make himself as strong as Buffy, as knowledgeable as Giles, as clever as Willow...? When a fanfic author does that to make their character as important to the universe as the canon characters are, that's a Mary Sue.

But whatever you do, don't think that the objective of those tests is to have a character who scores zero. They would be dead dull - and they do need a reason to be in the story at all.

I confess, I love writing from the POV of people who don't know what's going on and are awed by what the team can do. It makes those fight scenes so much easier Smile

There's startlingly little Mary Sue fanfic in this fandom at all. But in others, it's everywhere. Every second story on fanfiction.net is about the new American transfer student at Hogwarts who reforms Draco Malfoy while quashing Snape with her witty comebacks, or a fifteen year old American girl who ends up in Legolas's arms after taking the One Ring for a while to give Frodo a rest.

Looking forward to seeing your fanfic (yay, another writer  Big Grin)
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Julieann
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« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2008, 07:04:24 PM »

No, she can't have Mark. Or at least she'll have to share him Big Grin

 Tongue Ninja Mine! Mine!

There's startlingly little Mary Sue fanfic in this fandom at all. But in others, it's everywhere. Every second story on fanfiction.net is about the new American transfer student at Hogwarts who reforms Draco Malfoy while quashing Snape with her witty comebacks, or a fifteen year old American girl who ends up in Legolas's arms after taking the One Ring for a while to give Frodo a rest.

And once again we come to the high-quality this fandom enjoys. I once made the mistake of looking up Thundercats fanfic, after enjoying all the great fanfic we have and ....   Shocked Frustrated YEOW!

We have some incredibly professional writers who put out buy-off-the-shelf-in-the-bookstore level quality. We also seem to have a high percentage who use a beta reader, which I'm sure is a big help. We also have a lot of people here who just love to write, but more than that, they want to become better writers, and they're always working towards that goal ( I know I am).

But don't let that put you off from putting up your first fanfic. If you need any help, just ask. We love to help. When you need a beta reader, we have plenty of them. If you want a crit, we can do that, too. Smile
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Julieann

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Gatchaman Fanfic Archive  |  Discussion  |  Fanfic Discussion and Writing (Moderators: cathrl, Dei, Veronika)  |  No Mary Sues Allowed, Please... « previous next »
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