Kate Andrews <idontwannawait@...
>As a writer who's never felt the urge to write a Mary Sue, I'm curious as
>to what compells you? This isn't intended as a jab, but an honest
Interesting subject, and as someone with a notorious
love/hate relationship with the evil little creatures
it's one I can't resist!
* I love Mary Sues as a concept because I think they
fill a valuable little niche in the human psyche.
Everyone wants to be better, smarter, prettier, more
loved, more admired, etc. -- and a lot of creative
types take their first steps on the writing road by
putting these longings on paper. Nothing's cuter
than a little kid's first story about how this person
they made up joins their favorite heroes and has
adventures with them. :)
* I hate Mary Sues as individuals because there's no
excuse for them on the Internet. Almost everyone has
created a character or two with Mary Sueish
tendencies, thinking that they were being creative
and original and that if other people saw that story
of course they'd love that character too! However,
it only takes a bit of reading and asking questions
online to discover that no, your character isn't all
that original -- in fact, people are downright sick
of characters like her.
It's not the creation of a Mary Sue that bugs me.
It's when people go ahead and post these stories
anyway and then get all hurt when their darling isn't
welcomed with open arms that I want to grind my
teeth. Did I have a Mary Sue. Yes. (In fact, her
name was and still is Kielle!) Did I write stories
about her? You betcha. Will I ever post her stories
online? Not in a kabillion years. ;)
However, self-insertion is NOT necessarily Mary Sue!
If a character is original, realistic, and flawed,
and doesn't dominate the story to extent of
detracting from the canon characters, then they're
not a Mary Sue...even if they're blatantly based off
of you. Unless you go the OTHER extreme into "so
cutely helplessly ordinary that the canon characters
fall over each other to rescue and coddle you," in
which case you'd skidded over the line into another
Mary Sue species: the Victim.
My best formula to avoid making a character into a
Mary Sue is to take half of the "good lines" and cool
actions they get to perform, and give them to the
canon characters. Most readers aren't there to read
about how much better your character is than the
existing characters, so it's good to avoid making the
characters they ARE there to see look like bumbling
I'm sorry I rambled so much, I didn't mean to
dominate the conversation! I'm having a slow day at
work. :) Don't mind me -- I want to hear YOUR
On a mad tangent: If you've never heard of Marrissa,
she's the undisputed reigning queen of the Mary
Sues. For a good long hard laugh, check her out
(in MSTed form, thank god) at
Keeper of the Mary Sue Society:
And yes, my Mary Sue has her own little homepage!
What can I say, I was really bored one day... <G>
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