Harley Quinn hyenaholic

Why Do We Hate Mary Sue?

Recommended Posts

Guest Naga-Lord

I hate M Sue because they are plain boring. Nothing more than that. Just boring. Also, M Sues have a tendansy to act inhumanly. I always stop reading a story if the characters become unrealistic in the way they act. i can deal with whatever supernatural ability they can spit out, but if the emotion isn't plausible, I dump that story. And that's the road M Sues usually lead down to. If not in their own action, then in the action in the surrounding characters. Beside, people don't want to read about perfection, they want to read about something that makes you need to know more, to see where the rabit hole leads. At least that is why I'm reading.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many of these comments are great, especially the one about aliens eating brains, but the original theory was jealousy. For some it may be that, but I detest Sues who have love interests or places I have no interest in. I think it's more how they destroy and devalue the concepts and characters of the setting as they pass through.

I'd be like that chess game where the pawn starts flying because of the rainbow coming out of her butt and all the board bow down to her for no reason after all the royal pieces dance the jitterbug. They break the setting along with the supporting cast.

Oh, there's plenty of other symptoms, but they warp the original story/setting so much to make their sue. Some seem to feel they're entitled to have good things happen, like winning the lottery without buying a ticket or other characters fall over themselves to adore and make things easy and convenient. Little effort, and solutions are handed to them while they emote over the problem they're wallowing in. Real people and characters have to find their own solutions and work for them, even if some of the drudgery is off camera. Some are so busy whining, that even messages from gods isn't enough for them to get off their butts, and the author doesn't even see anything wrong with that.

And yeah, the lobotomies to the supporting cast, so they lose all skills, intelligence, and morals to make a Sue more needed is sad. It does date to the original Ensign Sue, but who'd want a Spock who's no longer intelligent and competent? Sue is usually callous to the quirks and needs of their friends and love interests, which is strange as isn't the LI why they wrote the story? The Sue also often does smack downs of all potential romantic rivals, even if there is no reason as they have to like the Sue. This is where the youth of many writers shows the most, as making enemies is usually stupid.

Possibly the worst thing is that there are no consequences when they screw up or do mean things. They can break promises, violently lose their temper, attempt rape, threaten to kill someone without cause, ignore the world rules for their race/profession, and just plain be bad and they never get any kind of repercussions. While that does happen in real life, I think most people get annoyed to enraged. Hating Sues is an expression of perhaps the universe's rage that karma is being denied. Sooner or later there are consequences for when you do these things, and the Sue skates by. :(

Edited by Anesor

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd have to say, for me, it isn't a matter of jealousy towards the Sue.

As some have mentioned, it's boredom or the perfection and unrealistic combination given to the Sue... but mostly, it's the fact that they change how the love interest or just interest would normally act.

Someone who is a power hungry or violent sociopath isn't going to start being nice and not scheme against his interest just because they are everything the violent person has been looking for. Sue's tend to break character and plausibility because 'It's fiction, they can write whatever they want'.

Which, is true. But lord, it makes for a very boring story that only grabs those who really want to get their naughty jollies off, or those that don't want to think enough to follow a decent plot and have to figure some things out as they are reading.

Mostly, I find Sue's annoying. Granted most characters will have some Sue-ish traits, even if they aren't one, but still. Too much Sue is not a fun thing to read about.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not a fan of Mary Sue (and Gary Sue) for two reasons. The first: lack of character development. Writers of Mary Sues are so desperate to live out their personal fantasies that they typically forget character development. Because the Mary Sue character is so perfect (and predictable) there is no growth or mystery. Mary Sue is nothing more than a flat character. The writer also fails to answer the important question: why should we care about this character? Writers of Mary Sue assume that if their character is an all-mighty-powerful being it'll make up for a lack of unique personality/background, as if we'll LIKE that character and think they're 'bad-ass' and 'awesome'.

Uhhhh. NO. <_<

Introducing flaws or traits that readers can relate to is the best way to open up to that character. Unfortuantely, Mary Sue DOESN'T have flaws or traits we can relate to. And if she does have a weakness, it's usually some superficial/ridiculous one.

So this is the first reason why I hate Mary Sue: she's flat, predictable, ridiculously unbelievable, unrelatable, and BORING.

Another reason I don't like Mary Sue: it prompts the star of the fanfic (the one we love/recognise and the reason why we're reading the fanfic in the first place lol) to do/act/say something out of character. Because the fanfic REVOLVES AROUND MARY SUE, characters we love act, well,... stupid. :rolleyes:

Case in point: Devil May Cry's Vergil. This son-of-a-bitch is a ruthless, indifferent man who would do anything for power. I'd find it VERY HARD to believe that he would suddenly forget about world domination so that he could live out his life carefree with a giddy girl who happens to be 1/9th angel, 1/8ths neko, 2/3rds demon, and 4/5ths sage.

Riiiiiiight.

So there are my two reasons for Mary Sue. She messes with the characters I love. :jaws:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not jealous of Mary Sue, but I do think she's boring, and I hate it when she shows up in my favorite fandoms. My favorite show is Metalocalypse, on Adult Swim. However, I've practically given up on Metalocalpse fan fiction, because most of it is either slash with overused, cliche plot lines (which gets old fast) or it's a Mary Sue fic.

These always end up being the same. Mary Sue either wins a contest to meet Dethklok/is C.F. Ofdensen's daughter/snuck into Mordhaus by disguising as a Klokateer, etc. She's always under 21 years of age, and she's always short but otherwise flawless (with a troubled past, of course!). Within ten minutes of being in Mordhaus, Mary Sue gets the whole band- Nathan, Toki, Skwisgaar, Pickles, and Murderface, to fall head over heels in love with her. Of course, she feels the same way about at least two of them. Drama ensues, and Mary Sue causes the whole band to fight for her affections. In the end, she has to choose who to be with, and it usually plays out along the lines of "Omg I can't choose! Nathan is just so sexy, but Toki is such a sweetheart! Why can't I just have both?" UGH. I got sick of reading that shit after the first two times.

Self inserts also irritate me, unless it's done a proper way, and I'm not really sure how that proper way would be. I was browsing the Resident Evil fics on FF.net, and I saw so many self insert stories. You know, the "I, a Mary Sueseemingly ordinary teenage girl, gets sucked into Resident Evil! Then, I get to bang Wesker! Never mind the fact that he's a cold hearted super villain who's 20 years older than me."

So really, I find Mary Sues more boring and annoying than jealously inducing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can also point out that Mary/Gary sues are also spawns of new writers. Its hard to bash someone who is just starting out, you have to give those people a break. I'm pretty sure we were all guilty of sues in the very beginning. I know there are the rare few who write sues just because they like writing sues. But there are the new writers who are just learning, and will be just like the rest of us when we read our old work and cringe at the thought of how we used to write then get proud on how much we've improved :).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just want to thank many of you. I never considered my OFC(s) to be a Mary Sue. I don't try to make her a "fake me" at all. I don't know if I succeed in that or not. However, many of you frightened me into revising my OFC in one of my fanfics because I was worried that she would at some point seem a bit too pathetic, and therefore stop people from relating to her or sympathizing with her. Therefore, I kept in mind (or tried to) what many of you have said, and rewrote/added a scene into my story to show that my OFC is beginning to grow and starting to relate to other people (on a platonic [sp?] level), aside from the two men interested in her romantically. So again, thank you all for opening my eyes to a possible trap I was accidentally setting myself up for in regard to my OFC(s).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't hate Mary Sues....I DESPISE THEM!

I don't know if you know this, but I'm rewriting a series of old Dark Crystal fanfics I posted under a alternate defunct account many years ago. It was called “Ajari Chronicals: Birth”. It was a request/challenge fic by some of my ex-friends who were fans of both The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. They wanted me to write a Dark Crystal fanfic where the Skeksis and Ur-Ru mystics were originally pretty boys transformed into monsters and seek help from the locals to become “young and beautiful” again. I finished this old story, and was none too pleased with it.

Even if it wasn't a request for ex-friends back in the days, I still found problems with it. The original heroine was a Mary Sue, the “love at first sight” story, the “Romeo and Juliet” rip off story and the perfect little Mary Sue baby being born. It was like the Twilight before Twilight and I was disgusted with myself (it was written when I just got out of high school, when I was a novice at fanfic writing).

In my re-write there are NO PRETTY BOY SKEKSIS NOR UR-RU! I'm writing them the way they were created. If you don't like it, that's TOO BAD. I'm writing this for the true fans who appreciate the characters for who they are and not what they wished them to be. And the heroine/villainess won't try to reform the Skeksis and make them good like in my original story. In fact, she is just as warped and twisted as the Skeksis themselves. (BTW, it's a crossover with my original universe, so it's more like an Alternate Universe type of story).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't like mary sue esque characters pretty much because I have normatophobia. I fear "normal" people. All humans and any other senteint beings I have encountered so far are wierdos. We have issues and strengths, friends and enemies. We have dark secrets, and if not skeletons, then at least a femur or two in our closets. The so called "normal" people do not. They are perfect. They have strengths, but no weaknesses, friends, but no enemies, and they never fear the discovery of their secrets, because they claim not to have them. They live in beige houses in cute suburbs with white picket fences and a dog and a cat and 2.75 children. They are obviously psycophathic creeps lying to us to make us feel bad, I mean how do you have 2.75 kids? cut 1/4 off one of them? remain partly pregnant?. And although not strictly real, Mary Sue and all her varients and relatives are the fictive version of "normal" people. Thus I dislike them for invading my pretendy fun-time games and spoiling my good time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I rarely write original characters, I mainly uaw rhwm as background characters who help my main character, but don't become romantically involed with the characters that I'm writng fanfiction for. It's a been there, done htat thing for Mary Sues.

Edited by GuardianSoulBlade

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMO perfection isn't inherently a bad trait; in some cases even though a perfect character isn't identifiable with who people are IRL, they can be with who people wish they were.

For me what matters is whether a character seems to fit in the setting or if it looks like a crayon doodle ducktaped to an oil painting.

I don't have an issue with the Sues themselfs, just with poorly written stories in general.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, so I set up another topic on this but got very little traffic, and this thread is very close to what I need. What the heck do I DO with a Cannon Sue? If Jack Kirby and Stan Lee are willing to let Peggy Carter be a Sue, who am I to question or change the will of the Gods of the Marvel'verse? I love the Hayley Atwell quote about Peggy being like Ginger Rogers "She can do everything Captain America can do, but backwards and in high heels." and I want to use that attitude, but it smacks of Sue!

Help!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What the heck do I DO with a Cannon Sue?

Give her more than what you see on the slick surface of cannon. Give her a background, a family, a pet, a diary. Dig into her soul, ask questions about her mind and quirks that require answers. Give her a personality. Perfect people don't have personalities. They have a shiny costume that people can't see beneath. Make her think.

She's NOT good at everything. Find what she's mediocre at, find out what she simply can't do because of a lack of skill or practice or raw talent. Show her fears. Show why she's good at all of the things that Stan Lee says she's good at - did she practice every single night until 1 am until she got it right, were her parents nutjobs that grounded her for every B in superhero school, is she faking it and did Jane do that thing instead of her an she took the credit....

Find out her WHY.

When you know her, inside and out, then you can write a real human being.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually. on reflection, Mary Sues in fanfic have their place (and hopefully a very short-lived one) before they start developing into interesting characters and other characters stop fawning... What is worse is the trend in paper publishing where the lead is the worst kind of Sue, such that she almost has to have gone down a checklist of Sue-traits to make a flat Sue. What actually sticks in the craw is the many many better fanfic novels that will never see paper print while Sues have gotten loose... eeek!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally, I would not say that I hate Mary Sues, for the simple reason that I don't care enough about them to form hatred.
Which is exactly the problem, in my opinion - they're boring and it's almost impossible to form some kind of connection with them as characters (beyond boredness, apathy, pity and, if the story itself could be good but the Sue ruins it, despise).

Am I jealous of them? No. I have, on the internet, dealt with crowds that were near-worshipping me. Frankly speaking, it's annoying, frustrating and suffocating, not to mention creepy. I have absolutely no wish for such a thing to happen to me in real life. Internet is bad enough.

I don't give a damn about looks, especially not "perfect" looks - perfect looks don't tell stories, as to say, in the way a scar, or wrinkles, etc. do - and I have no wish to have them.

So no, I am not jealous. I don't want to be loved by 90% of the people around me because I'm "perfect" and hated by the remaining 10% out of "spite" and "jealousy".

I don't want to run in and save the day because all people around me miraculously forget they're just as capable of solving problems.

Basically, Mary Sue is just about everything I am not and have no wish to be.

I agree that canon-Sues are worse than fanfic Sues. It makes me wonder how people got -that- published. What I detest even more, however, is when characters in canon morph into Sues through the series (Yes, Auel, I'm looking at Ayla here). I hate reading about a character I used to have a connection with become more and more like a character that could've come out of a six-year-old's first story. (Except for the humping-their-way-through-prehistoric-Europe part)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In reality, whether we love or hate "Mary Sue" one has to realize that...Mary Sue doesn't exist. Not in the context of 'Of course this person isn't real' but in the sense that perfection, the ideal of perfection and the creation of it...is impossible. Even the most elaborate, well-developed 'Mary Sue' is going to inherit flaws based on its creator, there will be a personality that bleeds through from its writer. In some aspects a character will be considerably better in some ways than others, but a character is limited by its writer.

I find that interesting, and by extension (in some cases) I can find Mary Sue interesting. Reading between the lines, looking beyond the (often boring) story can reveal something more elaborate. It's the (wannabe) Psychiatrist in me, I can't help it. I don't see the writer as sad or pathetic, they may be trying to write out what they want to be but they're still expressing their creativity. Whether other people like it is up to the individual.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the problems with Mary Sues is that we're mainly told about them, rather than see them do something. We're told they're smart, witty, good in strategy, perfect, beautiful, strong, independent, social, friendly, etc.

Yet with exception of beauty (a lot of Sue-writers do tend to describe their pet Sue's appearance with huge amount of detail), we never see that proved. Okay, maybe the Sue wins a game of chess in the story's background somewhere (not that that immediately makes someone a strategy wiz), and maybe some people laugh at a witty remark of them (though often, the remark itself isn't shown and if it is, it's usually not all that witty), but that's it.

Sometimes, we hear about them doing things that prove those points, but even then, the actual action is rarely shown. "Mary Antoinette Raven Tara Susan "Sue" Blackwood smiled as the strategy she had convinced the others of proved to be working." vs. "I think," Mary said, "that we should reinforce the troops here, because the intelligence we have suggests the enemy will likely come ashore nearby. Perhaps we could set up a trap there for them."

The first only tells us she's good in strategy, the second shows it (or disproves it, depending on the result later in the story).

Of course, it's not a problem if some things are told rather than shown; however, the problem with many Sues is that we almost completely have to rely on things the author tells us, rather than shows us, which makes Sues boring - perhaps even moreso than their supposed lack of flaws, or the sheer predictability of the character and events it stars in. (It also basically makes most Sues a form of unreliable narrating)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Because I often write for game fandoms, I am often handed plot lines that require my PC to be something of a Mary Sue/Gary Stu. The challenge for me becomes one of explaining why this one particular person is the only one who can save the world, while at the same time trying to flesh out the frequently cardboard NPCs that follow my PC around.

It's a fascinating challenge to un-Sue that Sue. If you think about it, no hero ever acts alone. There's always something, and that can be the fun part of writing for these fandoms. I like to flesh out the NPCs with back stories that give you an idea of why they're tagging along, and personalities of their own instead of having them serve as mirrors for the PC's actions. I've also been known to credit some of the quest successes to NPCs rather than the PC where it makes more sense for the NPC to have done better. It makes for a richer and more realistic narrative.

Having said that, the anti-Sue is as awful. The lead character who is paralyzed by indecision, or self doubt. The guilt-wracked character who can't forgive themselves for past mistakes, and judges every action by those errors. The one who turns humility into a vice rather than a virtue (which calls to mind another pet peeve completely unrelated to this thread). The self-effacing mouse who becomes somehow competent under duress.

Gamers have a love/hate relationship with Sues, and when we turn writer, we get a chance to see if we can do better. That's the fun part.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will agree that the specific forms of self-centered behaviors shown unknowingly by Sue writers can be almost endlessly fascinating. Just seeing how many Sue-tropes could appear across a fandom can become almost addicting (and a huge time-suck) For example, the raising of a Sue's skill and form of the denegration of canon characters becomes sad. All without the writer even being aware of what they reveal.

Showing instead of telling is one of the better ways to prevent a bunch of Sue issues. Once Sue has filleted a reef shark, defused an abomb and made those colorful eggs using the wax to mask colors... in enough detail to show how she did them, means these accomplishments aren't just handwaving. Better to let another character shine so she doesn't get the black ink on her fingernails or lovely outfit.

I agree writing in game fandoms is especially challenging as so many things in canon are actually tick marks on a Sue purity test. tragic past? check. last survivor? check. multiple characters chasing them? check. scar that doesn't affect beauty? check. Special/unique abilities no one else has? check. But these things are required for the plot. The same problem can exist in any fandom though. When the canon characters are accomplished or interesting, new characters have to be, too.

I'm not as sure it's necessary to make the lead the only one necessary to do it, one of the problems is that the old greek sin of hubris still applies. I prefer to make sure the lead has problems and weaknesses that get in their way. And I very much like to write more about and featuring the secondary characters in my fanfic. The lead may be the lynchpin, but they still need the other stones to make an arch.

The anti-Sue is still perfect, just as perfectly awful. And Sue tests or experience in spotting Sue-dom is good as cautionary tales to writers.

Edited by Anesor

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stories that abuse the Mary Sue (or Gary Stu) profile are not much fun (unless used in comedic humor fanfics full of crack that abuse them, then it's fun). Of course... some might argue any use of an original character is a mary su/gary stu type unless you can prove it has development in the profile.

That's just my opinion... :/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stories that abuse the Mary Sue (or Gary Stu) profile are not much fun (unless used in comedic humor fanfics full of crack that abuse them, then it's fun). Of course... some might argue any use of an original character is a mary su/gary stu type unless you can prove it has development in the profile.

That's just my opinion... :/

Not in game-based fictions, where you generally have a Player Character who then becomes something of an OC as you play and develop them ingame.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stories that abuse the Mary Sue (or Gary Stu) profile are not much fun (unless used in comedic humor fanfics full of crack that abuse them, then it's fun). Of course... some might argue any use of an original character is a mary su/gary stu type unless you can prove it has development in the profile.

That's just my opinion... :/

I'm not sure what you mean by 'development in the profile' as characters are developed in descriptions, actions, and dialogue. What is profile development?

I would think any new story, fanfiction or canon, would introduce more characters. New characters would be allies or enemies, not just ones in danger of becoming Sues/Stus. Introducing only one new character would make Ensign Mary Sue far more likely than hosting a theater troupe with secrets and a leader guilty of war crimes. Mary Sues can painfully happen even in an all original novel where everyone is an OC.

And yeah, Sues just scream for parodying. :coffee:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure what you mean by 'development in the profile' as characters are developed in descriptions, actions, and dialogue. What is profile development?

I would think any new story, fanfiction or canon, would introduce more characters. New characters would be allies or enemies, not just ones in danger of becoming Sues/Stus. Introducing only one new character would make Ensign Mary Sue far more likely than hosting a theater troupe with secrets and a leader guilty of war crimes. Mary Sues can painfully happen even in an all original novel where everyone is an OC.

And yeah, Sues just scream for parodying. :coffee:

Boring reading is sometimes a problem in fan fiction writing with or without an O.C. character addition. I get all the people speaking about this topic's point quite clearly. Yet I would also like to point out a fallibility to the Sue/Stu write off so prevalent within fan fiction readership prejudice. I probably won't make any friends by making this case based upon personal experience, and yet I have long been bothered by this topic of what is a Mary Sue specific character.

I highly doubt all writers are producing Mary Sue characters despite the all to quickly spouted accusations to the essence that any female O.C. is a Mary Sue. To me, Reviews containing the word Mary Sue equals a huge chunk of double standard cop out that people do not even recognize within themselves. I see a huge amount of prejudiced thought in the fan fic reading community, and it is easier to fob off a character you don't like by calling it Mary Sue.Stu than to consider giving a review than points to specifics about an O.C. so a writer can become aware of concrete problems in development. If a reviewer yells Mary Sue at me, I figure them too immature to give me a concrete review that addresses a genuine and fixable storyline flaw. That, or a flaw in development does not actively exist, and they simply want to hate the Female specific O.C. because it is a girl in my opinion.

Parody away to one's heart's content is my ultimate philosophy since that is the spine of all fan fiction that has ever been written. I think Profile development might be about the character evolution within a story? But can't be absolutely certain as to the prior poster's thoughts. Perhaps my experience as a 20 plus year career editor/Ghost Writer gives me a vastly different perspective about Mary Sue/Stu concepts from the hobby specific writers. I have read original novels that contain Sue/Stu characters also. Twilight series is nothing but a Mary Sue fantasy that caught Hollywood's eye and catapulted it into the fame sector. So there is even "Mary Sue" characterization that can be done to gain positive results on occasion. I see Mary Sue specific accusation, not just in my work, but in plenty of other fan fic writer review pages posted here and at FFnet also. It is almost universally the female characters that get scorned, not male characters which I find highly insightful also. People do not seem to recognize that this is a symptom of something deeper, It has become my theory that is only the female OC that gets open scorn, or my male characters would likewise get tons of Stu hate, which I do not see happening in mine or other writer's story reviews.

All my Original Characters are meant to push the cannon characters into action. Some are even supposed to be hated.

However, my specific experience is that Mary Sue accusers always add a please keep writing this story line to every complaint I get about my O.C. female character. To me, their please continue writing this fic means it is a bunch of crap that I wrote an actual Mary Sue. I have to laugh when I get accused of Mary Sue writing since I have a diverse cast of O.C. characters in all my fan fiction, mostly male O.C. characters.

Nobody ever calls the male original characters I write to give back story to the Canon anime characters, or to anger the Cannon, any form of Stu tags. Only the Female o.c. ever receives that particular whine in any review I have ever received in the two years I have been training in a new genre of writing through using fan fiction as a re-training tool. I can't help but wonder why all the complaints center around the female Original Character with zero love Interests in any of the cannon Anime series characters. Considering I am writing Yaoi, or boy love, it makes even less sense to cry Mary Sue in reviews. Only "she" ever gets Mary Sue tag and accusations, which is complete nonsense because the lady is obviously crazy from the introduction on. Based on this two year analysis, I have decided it is a dysfunctional problem on all sides, and not genuine Mary Sue characters in some cases.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd have to agree to a large extent. Female OCs tend to bear the brunt of these sorts of accusations, and as someone who writes both het and slash, I can honestly say that a lot of the people that read and/or write slash or yaoi are inclined to hate any female character on sight. There is also a great deal of wish fulfillment that comes into play with the female OCs. For some, they are who the author would love to be, and that causes the author to exaggerate the OC's abilities. For others, I've seen it degenerate into a sort of virtual self-loathing, with the OC representing everything the author would change about themselves. Either way, the accusation of "sue-hood" is one that is used too widely, in my opinion, to bash any character that a reader doesn't like, even if only because that character is the "wrong" gender.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't say I've gotten too many, if any accusations of writing a Mary Sue but I have read many of the actual Mary Sues in the fandom I started writing in. They seemed to be going down the list of bad writing errors in order to hit them all. And these were not as parodies but serious, and made for drinking games for how often they stomped their feet and called all other female canon characters little in a dismissive way. Every chapter would manage to make more of the same mistakes as well as find new ones.

I don't use that term in reviews as it is no help if the writer wants to improve, and makes no difference if the writer doesn't want to admit there are any problems. I gave up betaing for the most part, because despite claiming to want help, polite pointing out any errors in setting, period, or spelling/grammar are rejected. Good writers go 'oops, yeah, I can't have loose cannons' in a middle ages fantasy and they make a 5 second fix.

Many sues are in published fiction, Bella and Edward are not the first or last. Paranormal romance has been rife lately, with leads being way more powerful than all the supporting cast. I guess my criteria for suedom includes the purity lists and a more grey short version: does the lead sweat for their win? Not bleed, as violence is now in all genres, but is it hard? Do their fail and have to try again? Do they have to study and do some grunt-work, some boring work that our teenage selves thought we'd never have to face again? Are they just handed the solution, just because they are the special one? Do they have to accept the consequences when they screw around or do things that are mean or stupid? Does anyone who annoys them, end up dead, even if their hands are clean? Is it too easy?

I like competent and good-willed female characters, but they have to actually be good and show it, not tell. If the character is supposed to be kind and generous, they should say nice thigns and help their friends and warn them of dangerous guys. Not expect adoration and to collect their friends' paychecks too. Lobbing a MS accusation without saying why is worthless.

Some reviewers sadly just fling accusations that are not refutable and they won't explain it better. There are so many kinds of Mary Sue, but the accurate times is bad writing, where the Sue is too perfect and spoiled and doesn't have hard to overcome obstacles. Heinlein famously asked something like 'now how can I put their fanny in a bear trap?'

There are enough critical essays and the sue purity tests make it clear that if you remove ALL sue traits, you lead becomes boring and people won't care.

:):D and if the accuser also begs for more of a Mary Sue then it really isn't too bad. Asking for more, totally refutes the accusation, as Mary Sue is a shorthand for bad writing. A good writer can make a Sue into a great story. Many good writers started writing more Sue-ish and improved.

Gary Stues don't get accused as often because whole swaths of Sue traits are 'feminine' traits like appearance and sweetness, which is less often dwelled upon for male characters. Not as many males are written as 'angelic' whose smiles and goodness are an inspiration to even their critics. Male characters have much more agency in stories: they may be strong or clever or really fast with a light saber, but male characters act on the world directly. One Sue, that I kept reading because it was like watching a train wreck, didn't actually do anything, like a pampered toy pet. In a world of magic they didn't do any healing, in many, many chapters, even when friends or innocents were hurt. Males acted, but sue didn't even take the traditional female role of healer and helpmate either, she existed only to be admired. Luke Skywalker in New Hope was pretty Stuish, but Yoda put him into the swamp and made him sweat and he made mistakes => Campbell's Hero's Journey. Sues cannot make that journey or the Heroine's Path if the only flaws the writer admits are trivial, like being too beautiful.

If the reviewers accuse of Sue dom, are they willing to be specific or is this some odd kind of jealousy? Maybe they're inserting themselves into the female OC and they aren't happy that you aren't following the Sue script as they expect. Sues <> OC, I will never say that is an equal set as I write strong female leads who have to work and sweat and suffer for their endings. The traits of a Sue almost always include a love interest, and are well described on wikipedia and the tropes on tv site.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now