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Street Writing ManSo, what is a Mary Sue? We all hear the term tossed about a good deal...many flame wars have been caused by its mention, and plenty of people get worked up when someone names their favorite character as such. IMO, it's one of those terms that's been overused to the point of losing any real meaning beyond "character I don't like". Originally, the term applied to a specific-yet-highly prevalent type of fan fiction character, and now its taken on a life of its own...swallowing all in its path. Time for a redefinition, TV Tropes style! * Name that Sue. Go!
If I were to write some of the strange things that come under my eyes they would not be believed. ~Cora M. Strayer~
Christmas SheepThe biggest factor for me is the ability to ignore rules everyone else is subject to, be they physical or social.
HappinessA Sue, in my eyes, is a character given special concessions by the author that break Willing Suspension of Disbelief.
MercenaryCopy-pasting what I wrote in the other thread:
Characters can be people you love. They can be powerful, beautiful, unlikely, whatever. They just can't be someone you want to be, doing things you'd rather be doing. That means both you and they likely need help.Even then, it all depends on execution. You can make a character that's someone you want to be doing things you want to do, as long as you: A) Make their story compelling/entertaining enough. And B)have them earn their goals or whatever. Give them flaws, make them lose the fight, have them be the butt of a few jokes, etc.
"I'll show you fear, there is no hell, only darkness." My twitter
highly secureA character that, by general audience consensus, breaks Willing Suspension of Disbelief by having too little flaws.
Whatcha gonna do, little buckaroo? | i be pimpin' madoka fics
A character who bends the story in his/her favor.
A character whose excessive perfection leaves them flat. They are obviously just daydreams of what the author wishes they could be.
And if I claim to be a wise man, well, it surely means that I don't know.
Basically. A Mary Sue alters the characterization, rules, and logic of the world around him/her just by virtue of existence. It doesn't always have to benefit the Sue (for example, Diabolus Ex Machina which strikes solely to affect a Woobie Sympathetic Sue), but it always goes contrary to what should "logically" happen, either in-universe or out-of-universe. I don't agree with that definition at all.
edited 20th Jul '11 10:34:22 PM by KingZeal
HappinessI give you the Anti-Sue.
Forum Herald for the Old Folk's Home Team Mom For Yackfest
Fuzzy Orange DoomsayerThis site distinguishes many types of Sues, but I think the two most important are Purity Sue (a Sue because of what they are) and God-Mode Sue (a Sue because of what they can do.) The former relates to Relationship Sue and Sympathetic Sue, the latter relates to Jerk Sue (with the power to make other people act out of character), Villain Sue, Mary Tzu, Anti-Sue, and Fixer Sue. Possession Sue, Copycat Sue, and Parody Sue can go either way.
That's Feo . . . He's a disgusting, mysoginistic, paedophilic asshat who moonlights as a shitty writer—Something Awful
vigilantly taxonomishA Mary Sue is not really a character, although it may contain elements of characterisation. A Mary Sue is a fact, a fixed element within the story which warps the universe around it, whether subtly or severely. The laws of physics and probability, when confronted with a Sue, will distort slightly to accomodate the intentions of the author regarding that character whenever necessary. Other characters are also distorted in the presence of this character; even individuals who may be perfectly good, developed characters under other circumstances will be reduced to crude flat characters in the presence of the Sue, and their attitudes towards the Sue will depend on how the audience is expected to perceive them. For example, if the writer intends us to perceive a character as a bitch, she will take an immediate disliking to the Sue for no adequately explained reason.
A Mary Sue is basically Deus ex Machina in character form.
""Fought Nazi Vampires like Badasses" is a fine thing to have engraved on your tombstone." - Shiny Tsukkomi
Who you are does not matter.A Mary Sue is a character who has clearly been granted special dispensation from God to accomplish things, rather than via effort or characterization.
Trusted Poster of Legitimate Advice (from Wo-Chan)
Amateur WorldbuilderMary Sue and Marty Stu both, for me, boil down to this: Does this story seem to exist solely to prove how awesome this character is? When I get that feeling, I'm tempted to say it's a Sue. It's not always about their traits so much as how it's written - Sues constantly beg the reader to feel sorry for them, or think they're cool etc. with every successive event in the story. Whenever I feel like an author is trying too hard to make the character look good, I get a Sue vibe. Maybe that's too broad of a definition?
I hope you enjoy whatever is written above. If not - well, I'm afraid that's life.
Professional NerdI would say that it's a character that the narrative is in love with... which means exactly what everyone else says (violates storytelling and universe rules, emphasis on being "special, " etc.), I guess.
"If there's a hole, it's a man's job to thrust into it!"
— Ryoma Nagare, New Getter Robo
I changed accounts.A character, whether through Wish Fulfillment or by virtue of being The Wesley, which the author loves and gives major, universe-bending help to, who steals all the spotlight from other characters, is considered "right, " no matter what, has Protagonist-Centered Morality, is considered Holier Than Thou and generally just "better" than anyone in the audience, and, all in all, comes across as a pretentious prick.
edited 23rd Jul '11 11:50:21 AM by USAF713
I am now known as Flyboy.
Christmas SheepThis topic should have been called The Naming of the Sue. Who's with me?! And about the topic I just had one more thing to say, which is if there is a magic system in the story, this character can either ignore the rules entirely, or the rules are revealed to allow what s/he did only after they did it.
edited 23rd Jul '11 2:21:01 PM by TheEarthSheep
Ahr riverI think...when the author's biases show through, and suspension of disbelief is broken for a character, that is when the Sueness starts.
Let's try to keep the author intentions/biases out of the definition. Those are really subjective. Mary Sue: A character who has the ability to accelerate and/or decelerate the plot's progression at a rate which is disproportionate to that of other roles, which is not given adequate support to provide suspension of disbelief.
edited 23rd Jul '11 2:45:35 PM by Leradny
Element of loveI would keep it simple. A character that is unbalanced With the plot.
I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. C. S. Lewis
"Simple" alone doesn't work. It has to also be descriptive enough to exclude characters who don't fit the qualities of a Sue.
Who you are does not matter.Sues are by nature subjective, excluding subjective elements isn't going help identify them. In fact, it will probably make it harder.
edited 24th Jul '11 1:03:25 PM by Night
Trusted Poster of Legitimate Advice (from Wo-Chan)
I know, but we can at least keep from making assumptions about the readers automatically throwing the book at the wall in disgust. Look at Twilight. Minor edit:
Mary Sue/Marty Stu: A character who changes the speed of the plot's progression at a rate disproportionate to that of their peers, which is not given adequate support within the story to provide suspension of disbelief.This allows for different genders, a saintly character or one who is allergic to authority, people who train for a few days and attain master status and/or stop crowds with their level of attractiveness, and readers who let the Sue-ness slide (or justify it) so they can enjoy reading the book.
Like I've said before, I find Black Hole Sue to the only one that really, really perfectly describes what a Sue is/does. A Sue destroys the logic/consistency of the setting simply by existing. Once he/she is placed into the story (whether it's an original work or a fanfic) everything is changed simply because the Sue exists. It's like the "black hole" concept: gravity affects everything in the universe at the same time. So, once an object exists, no matter how small or insignificant it seems, it has at least some kind of effect on an object all the way on the other side of the universe.
edited 24th Jul '11 3:15:43 PM by KingZeal
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