Harley Quinn hyenaholic

Why Do We Hate Mary Sue?

86 posts in this topic

Trust me, I spent a long time working this out.

Well, when people read fanfics, they look at say... some Anime guy, and they think "Baby I'd like to be fucking him." Or that they'd like to be saving the day.

But the Mary Sue, she's too perfect to pretend for to be the reader. She's too fantastical, with her colour changing eyes and hair and bullshit. Too powerful. She lacks our flaws. We can't pretend she's us, and worse still, we know that she's somebody else's fantasy to fuck whoever.

So, we can't possibly be the ones fucking or saving or starring. It's somebody else who's the star, and we can't pretend they're us, or that they'll fall for us, because they've already fallen for somebody more perfect than we could ever be. In other words, we hate Mary Sue because we are JEALOUS of her. She makes us feel inadequate.

Example - sometimes I sit back and pretend that I (as a robot) can participate in my favorite show and am pairing up with the nearest hot guy. Everybody's welcome to their own fantasies. But I can't hook up with Prowl if he's already hooked up with some other OC - not just a regular OC with flaws who's deep and willing to learn, but something that's perfect, something I could never win the guy off, something I can't pretend is me, something I cannot measure up to.

Anti-Sues are similar - you know, those things so full of flaws but still adored? Well, this time Anti-Sue is loathesome - but she still gets the man. Why would a hot guy ever want to hook up with somebody so mentally disturbed? Why does she still get the spotlight?

The real problem with the Mary Sue is that usually the only person who can identify with her is the writer. Her personality, looks and perfection are just too hard for a reader to identify with. And we're jealous that she's got the man we wanted, that she's in the setting we want to see ourselves in, that she's perfect but we can't be. And why shouldn't we be? Mary Sue has everything we desire, but we could never have. The hot fantasy robot as a boyfriend, the good looks, the adoration - and though she's got a million friends, there's no way we would ever be friends with her because she's too freaking-ass self-centered. And on top of all that, all the important things in this world we once loved are now happening to her. True, in the story, she has to be deeply integrated, but she's always there, involving herself.

If I think of more, I'll add it, but that's a start to why we hate Mary Sue.

We are JEALOUS.

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This was a very good and insightful post that takes an important look into the real reason that many authors can't stand to read the wish-fulfillment of others. I really think the Mary Sue criticism is seldom worth making. Ripping on most authors for "Mary Sue" characters is like going around and telling kids that there's no Santa Claus. You may be right, but you're also a bit of a prick.

- FS

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I don't think i'm jealous of Mary or Marty Sue. I mean, i have my own fantasies. And in a daydream, I do become the rescuer, the shoulder that's cried on, the know it all, and the commanding officer. I am everything Mary Sue has ever wanted to be, except for certain

But i don't write them down.

With or without sex, the Mary Sue story seems, to me, to be masturbation. I'm not envious of anyone's ability to bring themselves off. Nor particularly judgmental about how someone crafts and staffs their fantasies. I just don't particularly want to watch.

When i write, either i am trying to create a story, balanced characters, something that appeals to a reader;

or-

I'm writing for a fetish fandom, as a direct tool for masturbation. So the Marty Sue-ity of my protagonist isn't a concern. Except for how much of my internal landscape i'm willing to shine a public light on.

Even then, actually, i'm shaping the scene, away from what just makes me hot to something that might have wider appeal.

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I don't like Mary sues for some of the reasons listed above... but I don't happen to be jealous of them either. I think writers need to realize that a character without flaws does not exist, no one is perfect, even in the real world. If you are going to come up with a character... it needs to be a character that people can sympathize with and relate to.

A character that has everything is not going to be interesting to read about. For me, I don't mind a character who has different colored eyes, but if it's there just for the sake of being unique then that is a sad excuse of a story. I've watched anime shows that have characters with different eyes but it wasn't the premise of the story, each character had a trait of their own, and all of them had flaws or problems of their own. If the character lives in a world where people have different colored eyes then it's not so bad, but set in a world in modern time seems rather ridiculous. What really matters is what the characters bring to the story such as their personality, conflicts, and challenges they must face. Without a well-developed character, the story seems bland, without any life or emotion.

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I hate mary sues because when I read a fanfic, I want to read about the characters from the media, not some girl or boy that's better than any of the regular characters. If such a character shows up in an original work, it annoys me because it shows a complete lack of creativity. Our flaws are what make us human and real, a character that is just so great is something that we create when we're little kids, playing with action figures and arguing with our friends about why our figure is better than their figure. I like characters that are messed up. It makes it more interesting to see how they deal with their flaws and if they can pull themselves up. Am I jealous of Mary Sues? No, I don't think so. I've never imagined myself as that character, even as a child. It's partially due to hatred of egoism and partially due to my social anxiety disorder, but mostly my hatred of mary sues is linked to my distaste towards non-creative thought.

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I doubt that I have anything original to offer, but I'll try.

I've never found that I'm jealous in Mary Sues, but will freely admit to not liking them. My thing is that I need to read (and write) characters that are human. Mary Sue isn't a human so I treat her as a dangerous alien who is coming into my story-world to take over the planet and eat my favorite characters' brains. Perfect people set my teeth on edge; perfect characters do the same. So what's she hiding that has turned her into perfection (which, as I said before, is a characteristic of aliens)? By writing a Mary Sue, the author is demanding that I, as a reader for a connection with her and make her a friend so that she can seduce my written friends into offering up their brains. I am NOT going to be friends with someone who is hiding something big enough to make her non-human that I don't know about. "I'm Lord Voldemort's granddaughter, please don't hate me" is not a secret or a flaw - it's a plot point. There's not bit of humanity in that. Being painfully shy, with acne, brown hair, dishwater blue eyes, crap at Charms and Transfiguration class but a dab hand at dealing with bowtruckles, and Voldemort's granddaughter? I might buy it but I want more. I want humanity. I don't want my written friends to be in danger of losing their brains. The best way to achieve that it to draw someone that is average so I can identify with her. Yup, normal for the 'verse you're writing in. Not with purple hair, unless purple hair is common. Not with purple eyes unless are also shared by 1/4 of the population. She is allowed one or two things that she's utterly extraordinary at - why? Because we're all really, really good at something. We're also really crummy at others. Humans have acne and have to go to the bathroom and sometimes forget the air freshener. Mary Sue shoots rose-scented rainbows out of her ass. You have to create a balance of skills, a balance of friends, a balance of personality and physical traits (actually, I tend to err on the side of "mediocre at more than she's good at"). It's human. Aliens are good at everything - it's how they seduce you in to offering your brains.

CMW

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I doubt that I have anything original to offer, but I'll try.

I've never found that I'm jealous in Mary Sues, but will freely admit to not liking them. My thing is that I need to read (and write) characters that are human. Mary Sue isn't a human so I treat her as a dangerous alien who is coming into my story-world to take over the planet and eat my favorite characters' brains. Perfect people set my teeth on edge; perfect characters do the same. So what's she hiding that has turned her into perfection (which, as I said before, is a characteristic of aliens)? By writing a Mary Sue, the author is demanding that I, as a reader for a connection with her and make her a friend so that she can seduce my written friends into offering up their brains.

Agreed. I don't have anything original to offer but you made the point wonderfully clear and your comparison is written just deliciously.

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Agreed. I don't have anything original to offer but you made the point wonderfully clear and your comparison is written just deliciously.

I second that/third it, or whatever IT is XD

but everything you said is true. When ever I Read or rp, I can never fully grasp the plot because of Mary sues, and it takes away from the story itself as well

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I have to admit it seems a reasonable enough theory, and it might be true for some. But for me it isn't jealous spite which spurs my hatred of Sue. In truth I can find a well written story with a Sue character quiet entertaining. Now some might find that an oxymoron but hear me out. No matter what it is we watch, we read, we hear, we almost always know the ending. The good guy saves the girl, the bad guy goes down, they leave a cliff hanger for the squeal. If you're talking reality no authored work truthfully stands to it. Sues are just another part of that fantasy work, and no matter whose fantasy it is, if it is adequately expressed I can find myself enjoying it.

It doesn't matter to me sometimes whether the characters are themselves, or whether the main is a deity in fleshy form. It's the story. The problem with most Sue that I find repulsive, isn't that they're all powerful and perfect. It's that they cannot grow. Which is I'll admit partly what you've stated, a perfect being cannot become any more perfect, but think of it for a moment, a story isn't worth its salt if it ends in the same place it began, that's why most shows die off after a season or two. You can't reset the clock too many times.

We never really expect the main character to die, and when they do we expect something to happen to resurrect them, after all how can you have a story if you killed your main character?

By the very nature of knowing we're reading a story, we're altering our expectations. If a story were to truly be as chaotic and random as the real world, if it's characters each showed flaws of nature, weakness of heart or poor choice of judgment, than it wouldn't be a story. We want stories that inspire us, arouse us and incite us, and reality often falls too far short of that hurtle.

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By the very nature of knowing we're reading a story, we're altering our expectations. If a story were to truly be as chaotic and random as the real world, if it's characters each showed flaws of nature, weakness of heart or poor choice of judgment, than it wouldn't be a story. We want stories that inspire us, arouse us and incite us, and reality often falls too far short of that hurtle.

I have to disagree with that assessment. I dislike characters that aren't human, that aren't flawed. i can't connect to them. I can't connect to Sherelock Holmes, for example. Yes, i know he has a few faults, but they don't imperil his ability to inflict justice upon the evil doers. If it weren't for Watson, i doubt that the stories'd be as popular.

Look at any caper movie. The heist is planned and timed to the split second, but the movie is MOST interesting when the plan fails and the characters have to scramble.

if nothing else, a weakness or poor choice made by the main character inspires us, by the fact that we'd NEVER be stupid enough to open the door for a candygram while a land-shark is on the loose.

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If I think of more, I'll add it, but that's a start to why we hate Mary Sue.

We are JEALOUS.

That explanation might work for a certain type of Mary Sue, though I don't really buy it, but personally I hate them all. The irritating self-inserts that are constantly in story, despite, supposedly, not being the main characters. There's one author who sticks her(self) in every story, and she's not especially perfect, just loud and loved by all despite the fact that she's loud. I'm guessing that the way the author is in real life, nobody can stand her, so she inserts into these stories, makes it so everyone loves her so she can feel better about being a pain in the ass.

And then there are the perfectly tragic Mary-Sues. I don't think you can argue that someone is jealous of one of those, I don't any of us really wants to be raped/tortured/mutilated/abused etc. But the level of angst is just too much. Read a story like that recently, blech. That one character completely turned me off.

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And then there are the perfectly tragic Mary-Sues. I don't think you can argue that someone is jealous of one of those, I don't any of us really wants to be raped/tortured/mutilated/abused etc. But the level of angst is just too much. Read a story like that recently, blech. That one character completely turned me off.

Hmm. I'm going to proceed to say this carefully, as in part I agree with you: nobody in their right mind would want to be raped, tortured or any of the other things that happen to tragedy Sues. However, I wonder whether there are many people out there who would like for it to have happened to them. At some point in the past, so that the real trauma is over, and you just have a juicy story to draw on to get others' attention.

As for Sue being unlikeable because it is hard to relate to her, I agree with this - reality is twisted violently out of true to make Mary Sue fit, and that certainly rubs some of us up the wrong way. I don't really buy the jealous, though.

I think what annoys me the most is the authors' lack of understanding of how social convention, psychology and so on work. The lack of insight really becomes clear when you see someone write an untruth. Come to think of it, it's a pretty good lie detector. You can always tell when someone's lying when the story goes exactly as they'd just love it to, can't you?

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Saw this thread and thought I post as the new guy on campus. I heard this story so many times before, we all hate mary/gary sues because they just ooze perfection with a haunted past which only makes them absorb even more power. And I'm pretty sure it's considered self insertion am I correct. But what about stories with canons that take them to the extreme with power, perfection and so forth. But hold on, there is a good back story and a good reason for them to constantly get power. It's a good qualitiy story line, plot just with a canon character as the driver. Also, what if the OC created as a Mary Sue is done for humor purposes. Like for example, I got this story, where the guy is uber powerful, for shit and giggles, but also to pick up chicks and have hilarious sex. The main point isn't about him having the greatest powers that can't be imaginable, but for the sex and the humor. SO my question, would you guys hate a gary sue, in a story like that? And I'm not a crappy writer, I just made the story for shit and giggles and self pleasure.

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And I'm pretty sure it's considered self insertion am I correct.

Well, Mary Sue is 'selfinsertiongonebadly.'

Hitchcock used to insert himself in his own movies.

Fosse's 'All That Jazz' was autobiographical.

Self insertion isn't the problem with a mary/gary situations.

But what about stories with canons that take them to the extreme with power, perfection and so forth. But hold on, there is a good back story and a good reason for them to constantly get power.
Well, that's kinda the point. If there's a good backstory, hell if it's a good story, then it's almost certainly not a mary sue. A major trait of a Sue is that the character doesn't make sense OR, more importantly, eclipses the canon characters who are the reasons we read X-Fandom stories in the first place.

If chess was a TV show with a large fandom, then the fanfiction of the Mary Sue figure would start out as a pawn on the white side, but turn out to be the love child of a white knight and the black queen, with all the moves of the queen AND the knight. Her dual-color heritage would allow her to make moves during white or black's turn. Jealous kings from both sides would want her dead. But the pawns would protect her because she's one of them.

She finally fights her way to the last file, where she announces her intention to be promoted to Queen, but to bring back her mother ,the other queen, but only after delivering a touching 'we should be building our kingdoms, not crushing them!' speech.

A heartbreaking death scene leads both leaders to regret their actions and they cooperate to give the resurrected queen a chance to resolve everyone's issues and end the game in a draw.

SO my question, would you guys hate a gary sue, in a story like that?
Parody can be overdone, but i can see, theoretically, a story written to make fun of the Sue twins rather than just use them. it'd be tricky, though.

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Well, that's kinda the point. If there's a good backstory, hell if it's a good story, then it's almost certainly not a mary sue. A major trait of a Sue is that the character doesn't make sense OR, more importantly, eclipses the canon characters who are the reasons we read X-Fandom stories in the first place.

If chess was a TV show with a large fandom, then the fanfiction of the Mary Sue figure would start out as a pawn on the white side, but turn out to be the love child of a white knight and the black queen, with all the moves of the queen AND the knight. Her dual-color heritage would allow her to make moves during white or black's turn. Jealous kings from both sides would want her dead. But the pawns would protect her because she's one of them.

She finally fights her way to the last file, where she announces her intention to be promoted to Queen, but to bring back her mother ,the other queen, but only after delivering a touching 'we should be building our kingdoms, not crushing them!' speech.

A heartbreaking death scene leads both leaders to regret their actions and they cooperate to give the resurrected queen a chance to resolve everyone's issues and end the game in a draw.

Parody can be overdone, but i can see, theoretically, a story written to make fun of the Sue twins rather than just use them. it'd be tricky, though.

Hmm, a parody being overdone? I never seen it done before. I've seen people make stories to take shots at the sue twins and some of them are good but others tend to drag it out to the point where its no longer funny and just annoying. So how would you take a purposeful sue empowered parody and turn its attention away from the sue and more on the humor of it all.

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The thing with Mary Sues or my definition of them is in those stories the characters from the fandom don't react to them as the characters would in the fandom and as one of the people said above eclipse the canon characters. It's one thing to have certain characters like a character from the get go especially if they are ones that are very social and get along well with people to begin with. But they have to make sense within the limits of the canon of the show. Also it's impossible for a Mary Sue to grow if they are perfect which is another thing I dislike as I love seeing character growth.

If you ask me a good oc if they are one of the major characters in a fanfic is one that's balanced, has some traits that the other characters in the canon and the reader can likely accept within the shows canon, as well as ones that bring them into conflict with the other characters where they don't always win the arguements because they are legit flaws and make sense within the show. You want to have the reader feel for these characters.

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I've been reading all of your comments on Mary Sues, and I think they are all very insightful. In my personal opinion, a Mary Sue isn't so much a being as she is a thing that forces others to adknowledge them and their unapproachable greatness. They don't change, but they force others to change, even if the result is a 180-degree flip of their established character, and adore them whether they want to or not. They get to say and do things that would get a canon character cussed out, beaten within an inch of their lives or killed outright because they are 'above' the law, so to speak. That is the great irony of creating an MS, which I've learned the hard way years ago: You loved a certain show/book/anime/game so much that you wanted to create a character so you could interact in it. Yet by creating this Mary-Sue, you have severely warped that same environment beyond recognition and negated the very reason you created that character.

...These are just some thoughts, anyway.

By the by, if you all are interested in learning more about Mary Sue and her various permutations (some of you have mentioned the "Anti-Sue", "Purity Sue" and "Black Hole Sue" in function), go here: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MarySue

I will warn you beforehand that TV Tropes is an addictive website that will have you surfing it for hours on end. :(

Edited by King Delita

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I try to avoid writing Mary Sues. In fact, I hardly make any major OCs in my fanfics. Most of the OCs are extras and/or NOT involved in romantic relationships (often they have better things to do than screw all the cute guys). So yeah, no romance with OCs in my stories.

I do write crossovers. All of them being comedy, since it works better that way.

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In 40k it is very easy to skip this problem of canon character rape and write stories where they are all OCs, as it is more of a setting with many different characters in it, than focusing on one set of characters.

Of course, you still have to make characters that fit in the setting, but that is another problem.

Edit:

If chess was a TV show with a large fandom......

I made a 40k version based off yours, hope you like it

The fanfiction of the of a 40k Mary Sue figure would start out as a Battle Sister of the Imperium, but turn out to be the love child of a Canoness and a Daemon Prince, with all the powers and equipment of the Canoness and the Daemon Prince. Her human and chaos heritage would allow her to lead armies from both sides together. Jealous Leaders from both sides would want her dead. But the sisters would protect her because she's one of them.

She finally fights her way to Holy Terra, where she announces her intention not to become a Daemon Princess, but to bring back her mother ,the Canoness, but only after delivering a touching 'we should be building the galaxy, not crushing it!' speech.

A heartbreaking death scene leads both leaders to regret their actions and they cooperate to give the resurrected Canoness a chance to resolve everyone's issues and restore peace to the galaxy.

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I made a 40k version based off yours, hope you like it
Well, i don't know much about Warhammer, but it seems interesting. it seems to work. I'm flattered.

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I was amazed at how well it worked out and it did incite rage and anger in some 40k fans I showed it too.

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I hate Mary Sue because I've seen her too many times before.

Mary Sue fanfics are quite simply, boring because we already know what's going to happen. We know this story. We probably had a version of it ourselves when we were four or five and just learning to tell stories. A super strong character with all the qualities we want to be, comes along out of nowhere and saves the day, and everyone likes her. This is great when you're a little kid with a power fantasy, but by the time you're grown up, this story is old. Hopefully by the time you've grown up, you're looking for a bit more complexity. People with flaws, who struggle and overcome--or don't. People with real problems that can't be easily solved. People who learn to shine within their limitations instead of magically eliminating them. People who feel real.

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What gets me with 'Sues is they're always a cliche. If it's in the DBZ fandom, her name is almost ALWAYS Sakura or some other name that doesn't stick to the naming themes of the fandom.

Mostly I hate Sues when there are already ample characters you could pair up if you just thought about it for awhile. Even CRACK can work if you just TRY.

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I don't really hate Mary Sues. I reserve my hatred for people who've actively done something against me. Instead, I pity Mary Sue, and by extension, her writer. I see the creator of a Mary Sue as a sad, desperate soul wanting so badly a sliver of self-esteem that they literally have to conjure it out of thin air. Like a malnourished body that cannibalises itself to survive, so does the writer's self-esteem lives vicariously through its creation, sustaining the fantasy that makes their life worth living. But it's also a necessary process in every nubile writer's journey of self-discovery. How are they supposed to know how to write realistic, compelling characters, when they don't know what to avoid? We should cherish the existence of Mary Sue, and her valiant sacrifice for all of us. Truly, it takes someone that perfect to fulfil the role of anti-example.

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