The Sue Guide Apr 8, 2011 16:37:43 GMT -5
Post by Wicked on Apr 8, 2011 16:37:43 GMT -5
We've all had characters like these, be them in our minds, in RPs, or in our fanfiction: Mary Sues. This is a guide showing you what a sue is, and how to avoid them.
What is a Mary Sue?
Now my favorite definition can be found on Tv Tropes. The definition itself may take a bit of searching, but the article is quite an interesting read, if you can find the time. If you cannot, however, I've cut out the excerpt that most speaks to me:She has an unusual and dramatic Back Story. The canon protagonists are all overwhelmed with admiration for her beauty, wit, courage and other virtues, and are quick to adopt her into their nakama, even characters who are usually antisocial and untrusting; if any character doesn't love her, that character gets an extremely unsympathetic portrayal. She has some sort of especially close relationship to the author's favorite canon character — their love interest, illegitimate child, never-before-mentioned sister, etc. Other than that, the canon characters are quickly reduced to awestruck cheerleaders, watching from the sidelines as Mary Sue outstrips them in their areas of expertise and solves problems that have stymied them for the entire series.
Now don't get me wrong, a male character with similar traits is also a Mary Sue, though is often referred to as a Gary Stu, or Marty Stu. You've read the TV Tropes definition, but here is a much broader definition:Any character who is so perfect and lacking in any form of realism that it makes you sick. E.G. Edward Cullen, Bella Swan, Mary Sue (from "A Trekkie's Tale," a parody of bad fanfiction).
So now you may be wondering, "But Wicked, how do I know if my character is a Mary Sue?!"
The answer is simple. Did you hook your character up with canons, or when you made them, did you have a favorite canon in mind? Did you make the character to fulfill a fantasy of rolling through everyone else's problems and solving them, playing hero in place of the canons, and stomping on whatever RPing everyone else wants to do? If so, you have a Mary Sue.
In some cases, a Sue can be redeemable. My favorite test can be found here although there are a number of good ones out there. This is one of my favorite tests simply because it subtracts things for having certain traits. Keep in mind, though, that a character can still be a Sue if the writing so dictates it. This is brought up in the test, so please be honest if you are going to take it.
Now one question in that test suits an RP site perfectly: "Do other complain that your character does all of the cool and heroic stuff?" If you think the answer may be yes, whether you have heard said complaints or not, then check this box. If, in a plot, someone appears to be dead, in every way shape or form, most characters will assume the character is dead. But MARY SUE will assume otherwise. DON'T be the Mary Sue.
But now we have another question.
How do I reduce my Sueness?
Well a Mary Sue is perfect. How do you make your character imperfect without soiling your image of the character? You add a personality flaw and build around it. A character with a fear that may drastically affect their actions (say, a fear of blood), suddenly becomes less of a Sue. If the character is so easily distracted that they may become distracted during a fight if they see so much as a flicker in the distance, suddenly, that character becomes less of a Sue. If the character suffers from a physical ailment and is affected by it at not-so-ideal times, that character suddenly becomes less of a Sue. But keep in mind, it's the writing that truly matters.
Keep in mind that not all characters will like your own. And not all of those characters will be bad guys. So don't take it personally if a stoic doesn't like your hothead. The key is to find a personality you will enjoy writing as, and write it.
But Staff, I'm not playing a Sue, I'm playing WITH one!
That's not a question!
But I'll offer some advice anyways. If you're playing with a Sue, don't fuel the Sue. Stay in character, rather than in Sue-world. Just because you're playing with a Sue doesn't mean that you have to cater to their whims. If their Sueness progresses into Godmoding, you have every right to
smack them over the head with the heaviest possible nearby objectinform the staff and receive the word of Godintervention that should enlighten them, if we're lucky. If not, then there's a good chance that there will be some head-chewing, and you're not obligated to RP with someone you don't want to RP with.
Is this why no one wants to RP with me?
No, because no one likes you. Yes.
That depends. If you're not one of the xat-members, meaning you don't go on the xat, you probably find a harder time finding RP partners. To remedy this, we have a "wanna RP" thread. You're also free to PM members you would like to RP with, join open threads, or start your own. There's not gonna be anyone lining up to RP with you if you don't make an effort yourself.
But if you ARE playing a Sue, then we would recommend a rewrite of the character you are playing. Be it personality-wise, or history-wise, or anything else-wise, a lot of characters can be fixed with a simple rewrite.
So what types of things should I avoid so I don't make a Sue to begin with?
I can tell you in one word: Cliches.
Think about it. What do you see the most in fandoms? Dual wields, scythes, guns, wolves, dragons... Try to be more original. It's ok to have a wolf or a fox for a zanpakuto spirit, but it's better to come up with something underused, like a horse, or a deer.
Don't pair up your characters with canons, or think "hey, I want to play this character but it's taken, so I'll do this instead!"
But that's a lot of stuff to keep in mind.
That's not a question either.
But in any case, you don't have to avoid everything like the plague, just a few key points (such as canon-copies and canon-wannabes and filler-girlfriends). It's ok to have some Sue traits. For example, Harry Potter is orphaned, forced to live with his mean aunt and uncle, grows up alienated, finds out that he's a freaking wizard with an inheritance, and is a talented one at that. Is he a Sue? No, because he's written believably, he fails now and again. He is flawed, and imperfect, as are the other characters in the series. If you haven't read Harry Potter, there are other examples, such as any character with believable development.
So it's ok to have a few Sue traits, as they are merely symptoms, rather than the disease. But when you start getting fourties or more on the Sue litmus test, there's a big problem.
Wow, thanks! You just spent twenty/thirty/fourty/fifty or more minutes of my time explaining that to me!
Wow, you actually read my guide! We're equally impressed.