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Literature / Help! My Story Has the Mary-Sue Disease

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"Mary-Sue Disease is like Chicken Pox: Every author’s work comes down with it at least once and it’s not hard to cure ...if you know how."

Help! My Story Has the Mary-Sue Disease is a comedic book of writing advice. It was published in 2017 by L.C. Morgenstern, who, according to their About the Author, is not a cat. The book aims to both teach new writers to avoid and cure their stories of Mary Sue Disease as well as to convince the world that not every cool female character is a Mary Sue.

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This book provides examples of:

  • Alice and Bob: Averted. There are 'four' sets of explanation characters (Harry and Larry, Princess Dani and Zani, Lewis and Clark, and Lilia and Celeste. No A-names and no B-names appear in examples.
  • Anti-Sue: A rotten egg with a plain shell is still just as much a rotten egg as one that has a decorated shell.invoked
  • Black Hole Sue: The closest match for the definition of Mary Sue as given by Morgenstern.invoked
  • Books on Trope: It's writing advice for amateur original and fanfic authors. It's also general characterization advice. It's also all about how to make tropes work because the point the book is making is that Tropes Are Not Bad it's just how you handle them.
  • Brain Bleach: What readers are advised to take at the end of Part Three. Justified, given that it comes right after a graphic and anatomically correct explanation of the problems with Interspecies Romance and Male-to-Female Universal Adaptor.
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  • Canon Sue: Although it regularly mentions that both exist, for the most part the book does not differentiate between Creator created Sues and Fan created Sues.invoked
  • Common Mary Sue Traits: Argues that it is not how many of these traits a character has, but whether they are well written which makes or Sues a character.
  • Hazmat Suit: What you need to dispose of bad eggs, after they've grown tentacles.
  • Insistent Terminology: Good Eggs and Bad Eggs. Also "Mary-Sue Disease" itself.
  • Jerk Sue: Given an in-depth discussion in the section on friends.invoked
  • Marty Stu: Although the book takes the more common female name, these are also the point of the book.invoked
  • Mary Sue: Fixing and identifying these is the whole premise of the book.invoked
  • Metaphorgotten: Most of the humor of the book runs on this trope. When advising writers not to overuse physical descriptions it says:
    "Trust that your readers aren’t goldfish. (If they were goldfish, you’d already be world famous for teaching fish how to read and the problems with your writing wouldn’t actually matter anymore, because, holy shit, you taught fish how to read.)"
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  • Mixed Metaphor: By the end of the introduction architecture, eggs and medicine have gone from being separate metaphors to one very disturbing one. The rest of the humor runs on this trope.
  • Shout-Out: A lot of works get referenced in this book. Some are blatant, like Harry and his fan counterpart Larry trying to deal with Professor Squirrel, while others are more subtle ...like the adventurer who has to retrieve the Holy Moon of Tapioca with only his hat and whip.
  • Squick: The possibility that the medical metaphors that make up much of the book can be Squicky is acknowledged in the book. Readers are sometimes apologised to and sometimes advised to take Brain Bleach.invoked
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: In the About the Author, of all places!
  • Troperiffic: If you were to count every trope mentioned or referred to you'd probably have about three tropes a paragraph in almost every paragraph.
  • Willing Suspension of Disbelief: The Great Glass Suspension Bridge of Disbelief. The variety of ways to break this is a running gag.

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