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I_Write_Ivre's avatar

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Maltese_Falcon91
I_Write_Ivre
That's horrible writing, but I'm not sure if it's a Sue. I'd need more info.

Well, in this fantasy project I've been toying with, there's a character named Razad Snakespeaker, the guy was a prophet and led humanity out of slavery and into a new golden age. Then he screwed it all up and made everything worse. And he was born with Proteus Syndrome (if you don't know what that is, don't look it up - take my word for it), so he was pretty much always a social outcast, even at the height of his power he kept himself secluded away inside his temple.

But! What if...

Instead of being a disfigured, social outcast who eventually fell prey to hubris and loneliness and destroyed the very city he fought to build... he was kinda clumsy.

Would he be a Sue?


I'm on the fence about that one.

On one hand, the clumsiness replaces a lot of his motivation, world view, and possibly even the reason he fell prey to hubris, taking away all reason for how he's treated or how he acts.

On the other hand, it just makes him lame. The character still fits in the fictional universe of the story. Nothing he does is random or impossible. He's just some guy.

I can definitely see the potential for it to be a ruining factor now, but I'm not sure what I think about it.
Naked Bacon's avatar

Dabbler

Maltese_Falcon91
Apparently Naked Bacon thinks that every romance story ever has had all the cast lust over one specific character, without any thought to why they're attracted to them. But whatever. If I read a story and that happened, then I would need some sort of justification for that. Maybe the character has mind control powers, or emits pheromones or something. If there was no reason for it, then it's just an illogical, artificial story, with incredibly bad characterization.

So yeah, there's a difference between the two.
Hi, again! I'll use an example of something I'm reading then: In Notre Dame, all the guys want to bang Esmeralda. All of them. Is it reason enough that she's attractive? Because if that's reason enough, and realistically speaking it could be, then this whole argument is ridiculous because it's impossible for there not to be a reason. That reason being that the character is attractive. In some way.

The fact that all the guys want to bang Esmeralda doesn't make it a bad story, though. It also doesn't make it a good story. It's what the writer does with it, you see.

You can't take an idea of out context and claim it's awful.
Oh. Hey, you're back. You ever going to get around to giving me an answer, or are you just going to leave me hanging?
Naked Bacon
I'll use an example of something I'm reading then: In Notre Dame, all the guys want to bang Esmeralda. All of them.

No, that's an exaggeration. A number of the main characters do, but the entire cast is not attracted to Esmeralda.
Naked Bacon
XxXI DA HOXxX
-Do all the girls/guys fight over her/him for no reason?
And every romantic story ever written?

I'm also confused by the fact that you seem to think: The plot of Notre-Dame = The plot of every romance story ever.
Naked Bacon
Is it reason enough that she's attractive?

Yes.
Naked Bacon
Because if that's reason enough,

It is.
Naked Bacon
it's impossible for there not to be a reason. That reason being that the character is attractive. In some way.

Attractiveness is subjective and varies from culture to culture. As for reasons, that is technically true, though if the justification for something is completely artificial and contrived, then it carries no narrative weight. It's the same as having no reason at all.
Naked Bacon
The fact that all the guys want to bang Esmeralda doesn't make it a bad story, though.

Because there's a reason, and it isn't contrived.
Naked Bacon
It also doesn't make it a good story. It's what the writer does with it, you see.

No kidding.
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This is when a friend comes in handy. Have an honest friend look your character over and tell you what they think.
Prismatic Pirate's avatar

Dapper Dabbler

Honestly? Just make sure your characters don't break the laws of physics/natural world rules of your world. With characters, you can bend or break rules within convincing reason. I believe that Mary Sues/Gary Stus don't exist, just poorly written characters.

So yeah, rebel responsibly.
Endrael's avatar

Perfect Pumpkin

It's good to see the WF is still obsessed with the Mary Sue concept... xp At least it's grown up enough the last few years to recognize that it's a generic term that points to a whole slew of interrelated issues that all fall under the rubric of bad writing or lack of skill. Once you realize the Mary Sue idea doesn't actually mean anything and stop using it to describe the problems with your narrative, you're better able to recognize the underlying issues (bad characterization, poor execution, shitty plotting, whatever) as to why the character isn't likable or believable and edit accordingly to fix them.
Toxic Citrus's avatar

Wheezing Gawker

Lists generally aren't super helpful if you actually need a list, because they will probably be difficult to interpret.
Then again, if you don't feel that you need a list, they still wouldn't be helpful. Because you don't need them.

Conclusion: Don't bother with lists.
The best way to go about this is not to find a random friend, but someone whose writing skills you feel are quite good. Random friends probably won't be able to give you a solid answer, and the problem here is that everyone calls themselves a writer, and everyone feels that they're qualified to answer.

Either way, OP seems to be long gone, so phoo. xD
I_Write_Ivre's avatar

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Toxic Usagi
Lists generally aren't super helpful if you actually need a list, because they will probably be difficult to interpret.
Then again, if you don't feel that you need a list, they still wouldn't be helpful. Because you don't need them.

Conclusion: Don't bother with lists.
The best way to go about this is not to find a random friend, but someone whose writing skills you feel are quite good. Random friends probably won't be able to give you a solid answer, and the problem here is that everyone calls themselves a writer, and everyone feels that they're qualified to answer.

Either way, OP seems to be long gone, so phoo. xD

Actually, I find lists semi-helpful. A Sue is a square peg in a round hole, so lists help me figure out if I have that problem or something else.

The trick is to put 'Why' at the beginning of all questions, so 'do they' becomes 'why do they?'

They don't answer how to fix the problem when I find it, sadly.
the hidden ghost's avatar

Kawaii Librarian

I_Write_Ivre
Actually, I find lists semi-helpful. A Sue is a square peg in a round hole, so lists help me figure out if I have that problem or something else.

The trick is to put 'Why' at the beginning of all questions, so 'do they' becomes 'why do they?'

They don't answer how to fix the problem when I find it, sadly.
Vaguely related to your post.

I did a Google search for "Mary Sue" while trying to figure out how best to describe the concept to my boyfriend. The first test that came up has some surprisingly useful things in Part 5 - De-Suifiers.

The one that really caught me eye was "Has your character ever been honestly selfish, petty, lazy, shallow, or pointlessly cruel?" I realised I make my characters too nice, who don't do any of these things, but which most actual people do. It's something I'll be considering next time I write something, or start plotting something out.
A Mary Sue test is like diagnostic critera for IRL illenss. It's a list of symptoms that crop up when you have a disease...but nothing says the headaches equal brain cancer. Nothing says sparkly eyes equal Mary Sue (Good recent fictional example: the main character in Wither had heterochromia, and was NOT IMHO a Mary Sue)

I would just ask yourself if your plot requires your character to have trait X. Why special eyes (in Wither heterochromia is what got the MC chosen out of a truckload of other girls. The other girls with two exceptions were taken out back and shot) Why a good dancer? Why can she play music? What part of the plot requires her to be a magical princess?

Also, in reality a Mary Sue is a symptom of just plain not being a good writer. It's something concrete people can point at and go, "THIS IS YOUR PROBLEM" when in reality, it's just the headache.

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