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Discussion The Mary Sue - what they are and why we should avoid them

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by Kurisan, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. Vinylshadow

    Vinylshadow Jedi Padawan star 1

    Registered:
    Sep 3, 2017
    I would, were my muse not currently in a completely different galaxy and series - even there, it's currently taking a vacation, leaving me high and dry in the meantime

    May poke around here a bit and see what plots come to me though
    Probably something laden with snark as people chat over a drink or share a Coruscant apartment
     
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  2. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 11, 2005

    I'm sure Coruscanti Caf would be a wonderful meeting place not far from the apartment. :p
     
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  3. Cowgirl Jedi 1701

    Cowgirl Jedi 1701 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Seinfeld.......In Space! [face_laugh]
     
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  4. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Oct 11, 2005
    I was thinking Friends, but both would work. :D
     
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  5. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014

    Welcome. I love self-inserts that fail.
     
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  6. DARTH_MU

    DARTH_MU Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 9, 2005
    Frequency (tv) is the best.
     
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  7. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    So, I often wonder if I have created a Gary Stu. :/ 70 points on the test. Why are questions about occupation and talent considered stu-ish/sue-ish?

    Then again, when I tested some well-loved characters, they had 150+ points. Perhaps I'm just having a bad day. A bad, bad day.
     
  8. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Apr 26, 2016
    Ewok Poet Aha is this the cause of your recent anxiety? What is this this test you speak of?

    As per the original intent of this post: Everyone has a different idea of what a Stu/Sue is, which makes it all subjective and ultimately meaningless.

    You mention talent but as I said at the top of the post: Having very talented characters on its own does not qualify to me. We all knew someone in school who was just good at everything. Real life is not a RPG in which we all get allocated equal skill points.

    If you ever read Band of Brothers, you will find it is a documentary, a collection of memories from real soldiers in a real war. The sergeant - I forget his name - matches every sue trope you can find on TVtropes: father-to-his-men etc etc. And this is a REAL PERSON. I have met people like that. Yet if they were in a story they would be dismissed by some as a Sue.

    I stand by my original assertion. It's not about skill level. It's about conflict - or lack of.

    Hoping this helps!

    K
     
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  9. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Apr 26, 2016
    cookeycat I only just saw this and it is a good post. Apologies for the extended delay, but if you are still around I would like to reply.

    OK, this is subjective - it's not a case of "you're wrong, I'm right" it's about opinions, OK? I like apples, you like bananas - something like that. But I must respectfully disagree with this appraisal to a degree - Ahsoka didn't come across as a complete Sue to me, although I agree with many things you say. I will explain...

    1. There are girls in the galaxy - approximately 50% of the population in fact. Many are young. You are bound to find them anywhere in real life.
    2. Almost every Jedi Knight has a Padawan. It would be stranger for Anakin to not have one. Ahsoka fills a plot hole rather than coming out of nowhere, to me.
    3. No Jedi - or Padawan - wears a uniform. They dress according to species / homeworld culture.
    4. Ahsoka does not seem especially skilled compared to other Jedi. I think your problem might be with Jedi & Padawans being portrayed as superheroes in general. She's not unique here. She has come through the ranks of the Younglings and so had some formal coaching for years before meeting Anakin. Compare to Anakin, Luke, Rey, who do in fact suddenly sprout Force proficiency without any training.
    5. Why are Jedi put in charge of Clone battalions? Good question. If Ahsoka was unique in this situation it would make her different, but she's not.
    6. I've seen Ahsoka beaten up by Ventriss and Greivous and scolded by Anakin for taking on enemies far beyond her level. I concede I have not seen every episode.
    7. I was pleased to see her gender was not once used as an issue. I concede she dresses very... strangely... and there is something a little uncomfortable about a young child doing that (to me). But while she has a crush on that human boy (natural for a teenage girl) it is not reciprocated. To me, every episode, everyone falls madly in love with a Sue. I didn't see it happen once. I concede again I haven't seen every single episode.
    8. Final point agreed: Every time Lucas/Disney does this (another Jedi survives the CW) it damages Yoda's statement at the end of ESB - "Our last hope".

    I take the "skills as demanded by plot" comment and somewhat agree, too. Double-handed saber fighting, for instance, is in fact incredibly hard and requires a lot of training and practice. But then, Anakin masters it instantly at the end of AOTC. I thought Ahsoka fought like that from the beginning?

    K.
     
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  10. Master_Rebado

    Master_Rebado Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    May 31, 2004
    Isn't "M**y S*e" a banned term?
     
  11. Jester J Binks

    Jester J Binks Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 19, 2016
    I think so. I can't recall if it is "officially" banned in an actual set of rules. Banning it is counterproductive.
     
  12. Master_Rebado

    Master_Rebado Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    May 31, 2004
    Just thought I'd seen it mentioned as such.
     
  13. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Apr 26, 2016
    It's not on to criticise posted fanfics unless with express permission of the poster. Even then I expect it is "banned" to be used as a term of criticism directed at someone's work.

    That is not happening here.
     
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  14. Master_Rebado

    Master_Rebado Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    May 31, 2004
    Oh ok,fair nuff.

    I don't care what the term means to anyone but was curious as to how it could be used at all but "only in specific circumstances" makes sense.
     
  15. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Apr 26, 2016
    All cool. I didn't actually know it was banned over and beyond the standard rule of "if you can't say something nice...", and further didn't know this debate has been done to death (many times over, it seems). So, perhaps we should let this one die too.

    Peace to you and all your kin.
     
  16. Master_Rebado

    Master_Rebado Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    May 31, 2004
    I was not entering into any debate about it so it's dead already.
     
  17. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 14, 2002
    Master_Rebado - there is a Disallowed Words list at the top of the screen, under 'Rules of the JC'.

    Since "Mary Sue" is not on the list, I don't know what you are talking about.
     
  18. Master_Rebado

    Master_Rebado Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    May 31, 2004
    I did not state it is banned,I was asking if it was.

    So I do not know what you're meaning either.
     
  19. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 14, 2002
    Not according to the list.

    Hard to read, the way you have written it, but not banned, no.
     
  20. Master_Rebado

    Master_Rebado Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    May 31, 2004
    Well fair nuff then.

    Cool. Thanks.
     
  21. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    My anxiety comes and goes for no apparent reason and episodes are dead-short. I'll try to explain it in the social...I think. It has nothing to do with anybody on here, oddly enough.

    Never tried a RPG, so...don't know about that.

    And yes, the character was partly based on somebody who's equally talented...and who fails the test, too, despite being a real person. O_O My pal Admiral Volshe failed the test herself back in '15, which was fun.

    Never heard of it - I find it hard to get into war-related stuff (including soldier stories, squad fics and the like), but I'm curious now.
     
  22. mavjade

    mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Sep 10, 2005
    Re: Mary Sue term being banned.

    Some sections of the forums don't allow Mary Sue discussions, I'm pretty sure New Movies doesn't, I don't know about anywhere else. Every section of the forums has some rules that apply only to those sections; we have the FanFic FAQ as our rules that only apply only to the FanFic section.

    Here in fanfic we can talk about the concept of Mary Sue and how it pertains to fanfic (and use established characters to discuss them), and people can ask questions about their own characters and get opinions. Since we're writing it can be an important discussion when trying to develop a character. But as Kurisan said, it wouldn't be allowed as a critique of a fanfic unless express permission for concrit, and even then it would have to be very careful because just saying someone is a Mary Sue wouldn't be constructive.

    Don't worry, if it wasn't allowed, the mods of this forum would have locked the thread back when it was opened. ;)
     
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  23. Master_Rebado

    Master_Rebado Chosen One star 6

    Registered:
    May 31, 2004
    Cool mavjade,worry was never on the cards about it just curiousity.
     
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  24. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Moving it here, because there's a thread for it...:)

    This is what I think, too. And why I still believe in the concept. One has to let the character grow (Sorkin said that right), rather than doing some mix and match of flaws.

    I started out in fanfic by writing Teebo - a minor canon character that was apparently too good, kind and perfect in his first old EU appearance, so they then made him a lovesick ditz and a Mickey in Fantasia type for the second. And I came to the conclusion that he was already flawed when he was "perfect" - from the very start. His canon temper tantrum was in the very first cartoon appearance, in the best episode he made a fatal error that could have gotten everybody killed and then risked his life to deliver a staff in the pivotal moment. And a bunch of little things I spotted as well. The typical eighties' cuteness of the Ewoks cartoon might have made people look over many grimdark aspects of it, on-screen villain deaths and more, but the ROTJ Teebo and cartoon Teebo were equally flawed and prone to confrontation with those they could not beat. He could've gotten blasted by Han, he could've gotten killed by a bunch of villains in the cartoon as well, he nearly got killed in Joe Johnston's book, too.

    Maybe, it comes down to how we perceive the characters and how deep we're willing to study them. I don't think that characters other than Bella Swan and over-the-top superheroes can be used as legit Mary/Gary Stue examples. Luke is deeply flawed, he made some huge mistakes in TESB already, not even to mention the back story for the Sequel Trilogy. But that's just how I see it.
     
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  25. Tarsier

    Tarsier Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2005
    I guess I'm having trouble wrapping my head around exactly what a flaw is. Is the "flaw" we are talking about here simply making a mistake?

    ETA: "Characters should make mistakes" is advice I can understand much better than "give your characters flaws."
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2018