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Hello Mary Sue? - Words in the Heroes' Tongue
I have a variable-sword. I urge calm.
speakr2customrs
speakr2customrs
Hello Mary Sue?
I'm not sure whether to be pleased or to be annoyed about the current spate of discussions of the Mary Sue issue on LJ.

I will be doing a talk at this year's WriterCon UK on the subject of 'Writing Original Characters readers don't hate'. Some of the recent posts have included points that may be of use to me; on the other hand if the issue is too widely discussed it may make my planned talk superfluous.

So far no-one has come up with anything that duplicates the core principle that I will be putting forward but it can only be a matter of time.

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Current Music: Patty Smyth & Scandal, "The Warrior"

25 comments or speak 2 me
Comments
bogwitch From: bogwitch Date: April 15th, 2010 09:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
Looking forward to it!
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: April 15th, 2010 11:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!
quinara From: quinara Date: April 15th, 2010 09:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, this way we'll just have lots of stuff to start a discussion with! It should be great! :D
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: April 15th, 2010 11:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!
slaymesoftly From: slaymesoftly Date: April 15th, 2010 09:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Maybe, maybe not. It may all blow over quickly and you will have to give a report on your talk for those of us who aren't there. :)
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: April 15th, 2010 10:17 pm (UTC) (Link)
I absolutely suck at doing the post-convention report thing. I'll try to do better this year.
slaymesoftly From: slaymesoftly Date: April 15th, 2010 10:55 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmmmm - maybe you could get someone to take notes during your talk? I'm so sorry I can't be there anymore. That first one was such fun and I met so many amazing people.
elisi From: elisi Date: April 15th, 2010 10:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
I will be doing a talk at this year's WriterCon UK on the subject of 'Writing Original Characters readers don't hate'.
Oooh I wish I was going, sounds great! Haven't seen any of the posts you refer to, but it's a subject I find fascinating now, since I've got a fic populated almost *entirely* with OCs. I discovered that once you've got them they grow and develop all by themselves, which is nice, but very odd.
curiouswombat From: curiouswombat Date: April 15th, 2010 10:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've found the same with my LotR/Buffy stuff - which is now almost entirely in Middle Earth, and has fully fleshed out characters that are only mentioned by name in passing in the original, or are totally original - and it is really good fun.
zanthinegirl From: zanthinegirl Date: April 16th, 2010 05:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've read a bunch of them, I read POTPC back in the day. Your OC are not Mary-sues! At this point the story is verging on original fiction, but I don't care. I love the verse, and I love Alex and Allison, and Jamie and all the rest of them.

Though I'm hoping for a cameo from the Doctor and/or Jack!
elisi From: elisi Date: April 17th, 2010 08:52 am (UTC) (Link)
our OC are not Mary-sues!
Aw, thanks! (I think they're too awkward to be Mary Sues. It seems that they spend half the time arguing with each other...)

Although soon they'll be arguing with some canon characters too... *g*
zanthinegirl From: zanthinegirl Date: April 17th, 2010 09:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Although soon they'll be arguing with some canon characters too... *g*

Yeah!!

Edited at 2010-04-17 09:40 am (UTC)
desdemonaspace From: desdemonaspace Date: April 15th, 2010 10:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Somewhere out there on the 'nets there's a Mary Sue Litmus Test, and it's got all the usual "does your character have an unusual name, hair, eye color, ethnic background (e.g., half fairy, half Vulcan) and unusual powers. Not sure if it would be of any use to you.

Sure wish I were going to the con--I'd love to meet you and your lovely missus.
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: April 15th, 2010 11:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
According to the Mary Sue Litmus Test Sorkatani, Nonoma'e'e, Bahey Dhone, Amaris, Chantry, Evelintra, Seok-Teng, Ninmah, and Linrathanilar are all Mary Sues. And yet that accusation has never been levelled at any of them, not even once.

Could it be that the Litmus Test is, perhaps, a little... simplistic?

I'd have loved you to come as well but, alas, it is thousands of miles away from you.
desdemonaspace From: desdemonaspace Date: April 16th, 2010 12:59 am (UTC) (Link)
I just remembered you're writing the Indian slayer fic! I know that it's not complete (which is why I put it out of my mind) but what's it called and where is it?
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 15th, 2010 11:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Any particular reason why you chose the Sorkatani avatar for this post, or are you just cycling through them? ;)

Magnus
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: April 15th, 2010 11:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sorkatani fits the Litmus Test definition of a Mary-Sue but no-one ever accuses her of being one and she's definitely an Original Character readers don't hate. And Bahey Dhone is the only other one of my OCs for whom I have an icon.
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 16th, 2010 08:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, that's ridiculous. Sorkatani is no Mary Sue, she doesn't dominate the party and isn't better than anyone else. If at all, Viconia gets that, because she snagged Spike. :p But then again, she's Viconia. ^^

Tabula Avatar, new chapters, yay?

I feel dirty for being such a pain in the ass about that all the time. >.<

Magnus
speakr2customrs From: speakr2customrs Date: April 16th, 2010 07:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
According to the Litmus Test she's a Sue.

Exotic name, unique title or nickname (the Perfect Warrior), described (by Jonathan) as looking like Zhang Ziyi, has been in huge numbers of fights but has no visible scarring, immune to Level Drain, daughter of a god, driven by revenge, suffered from amnesia and when she regained her memory she discovered that she was the daughter of a princess and (officially) the daughter of the most powerful barbarian emperor the world has seen, renowned as a superb swordswoman, in a tight spot discovered that she has powers that were dormant/unknown before, owns a unique weapon, is undeservedly despised and/or outcast by a large number of people (if they find out that she's a Bhaalspawn), is a 'Chosen One' and a major part of a prophecy... there will be more but I got bored before I got to the end of the test.

I know she's not really a Sue - like I said, no-one has ever made that accusation about her - but she does fit the specific criteria in the Litmus Test.

New Tabula Avatar chapters as soon as I finish 'Debt of Blood' - and I'm very close to the end now.
From: (Anonymous) Date: April 17th, 2010 06:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Heh, I didn't even know half of that information about Sorkatani. :p I think the criteria are off, a powerful OC shouldn't automatically make one a Mary Sue, it's ( at least for me ) more a function of totally dominating the established characters. And since the Bhaalspawn is supposed to be the main character, if the BtVS people hadn't shown up to participate in the story, it is not even a bad thing that she is that powerful.

The whole Mary Sue business is distorted by everybody throwing it around nilly-willy, IMO.


And yay for more Tabula Avatar! :)

Magnus
ningloreth From: ningloreth Date: April 16th, 2010 08:52 am (UTC) (Link)
'Writing Original Characters readers don't hate'.

That sounds really positive and helpful whereas the whole attacking Mary Sues business is negative and designed to hurt the vulnerable, so I don't think you need to worry :-)

You're right that the Litmus Test nonsense is... nonsense! It counts traits, it doesn't look at the quality of the writing. Someone on one of the Sherlock Holmes communities once applied it to Sherlock Holmes, and guess what?

People write poor characters because they're inexperienced -- maybe they're just learning, maybe they're having a 'blip', or maybe they're not designed to be writers in the first place!

So far no-one has come up with anything that duplicates the core principle that I will be putting forward

Intriguing! Roll on August :-)
From: peasant_ Date: April 16th, 2010 10:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Well many of us don't read Metafandom and those who do will doubtless have forgotten all about it by August, so I shouldn't angst.

And I for one shall be looking forward to it - it wouldn't be Writercon without a Speaker talk.
zanthinegirl From: zanthinegirl Date: April 16th, 2010 05:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Obviously I can't justify a trip overseas to go to your talk, but I'd love to hear it anyway!
From: averageshmoe Date: April 19th, 2010 08:09 am (UTC) (Link)

LitmusTest

Heck, apply a litmus test to Buffy and see what the answer is. Any character is going to reflect something of their creator. Mary Sueism, which sounds like a Wolfram and Hart legal move, has become a means of criticizing a lot of work without a lot of effort. Don't like a ship, Mary Sue. Don't like a plot, Mary Sue. Don't like an original character, Mary Sue.

We're quickly approaching the seven year anniversary of 'Chosen', what else can be written about solely canonical characters? New situations, new developments, new stories depend on new characters.

Heck, keeping to just the originals could lead to, I don't know, something really dumb like having Buffy and Angel shagging like mad in Low Earth Orbit.

I'm pretty certain I read that in a fan fiction somewhere.
25 comments or speak 2 me