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Posted: Oct 11 2010, 02:18 PM
Group: Head Administrator
Member No.: 67
Joined: 24-November 09
Mary Sues: reprinted and edited from PPC Wiki
Red hair that looked like liquid fire cascaded gently down her back to her waist; the lighting hitting it making it seem alive. Her hair and grown considerably it was now just bellow her ass. Her long dark red hair cascaded down her body as she let her dress fall to the ground. Her fiery emerald eye’s linked with his as she licked her lips, staring into he’s big brown orbs.
Definition: A Mary Sue is a pet character that the author exempts from realism and/or rules that otherwise govern a fictional world. The more that the author exalts this "darling" at the expense of the rest of the story, the more of a Mary Sue the character becomes. Mary Sue is impervious to failure and resistant to all in-story attempts at criticism and humiliation; any attempt at an external critique usually provokes an authorial temper tantrum. With a preference for style over substance, attitude over empathy, and romantic relationships above all others, the Mary Sue is nevertheless a popular character type due to her function as cheap wish-fulfillment.
The Mary Sues (or Sues) that the PPC deals with are all in fanfiction, but unfortunately, they also abound in print. (See Canon Sue.) The term originated in fandom, where the female Sue is omnipresent, but there are male varieties as well. Mary Sue's XY counterpart1 is called Gary Stu, Marty Stu, or Marty Sam; all of these are synonymous plays on the feminine blanket term.
1 = Please note that the term "masculine counterpart" is intentionally avoided here, as it would be a misnomer in many cases.
Etymology: In 1973, Star Trek fan Paula Smith wrote the parody "A Trekkie's Tale," starring a flawless character named Lieutenant Mary-Sue. The term became popular in Star Trek fandom to refer to author-inserts of this variety, and later spread to fandom in general.
Sues in Fanfiction
A fanfic containing (and therefore starring) a Mary Sue is known as a Sue-Fic or Suefic. The one characteristic common to almost all Suefic (apart from the Sue) is being poorly written with regards to spelling, punctuation, and grammar and/or more complex aspects such as characterization, plot, and even internal consistency.
Because of the above, and because of Mary Sue's inability to share the spotlight or follow the rules of a given universe, her appearance in fanfiction inevitably warrants PPC intervention. Mary Sue's most common crimes against canon are:
• Warping canon characters
• forcing Twu Wuv between the Sue and a canonical
• killing, banishing, or embarrassing rival characters for no good reason
• twisting the geography, denizens, or timeline of a canon universe for her own ends
• Ignoring, or more frequently, trampling over the ideas or spirit in which a canon universe was created.
Sub-concepts of Mary Sue
'Sues are commonly described using the convention description!Sue, e.g. evil!Sue or emo!Sue. This is an easy way to categorize the different varieties.
The original type of 'Sue is sometimes described as Bubbly!Sue or Purity!Sue (Puella perfecta). She is very social, helpful, kind, and caring. The canon characters are won over by how perfect she is in every way. At some point, she usually reveals some tragic past.
One new variety of 'Sues is the group of Emo!Sues (Mulier doluta), Goth!Sues (Diabola gothica), etc. While it has always been common for the 'Sue to be something of a rebel, these take it to a whole new level. They generally wear stereotypical goth make-up and clothing--or, some have remarked, like a twelve-year-old's idea of goth--and have pale skin and black hair. Emo!Sues, as their name suggests, attract a mate by angsting almost non-stop throughout the story. She always has some sort of tragic past. Other common traits of these 'Sues are cutting and drug use. The future mate usually starts out feeling sorry for the 'Sue.
Evil!Sues (Diabola insolentis) are often the close relatives of the main antagonist in the fandom. She often has pale skin, black hair, and black or red eyes, and dresses in dark red or black. Part of the way through the story she meets her future mate, she learns the error of her ways, and he redeems her through his love.
Warrior!Sues (Miles medimundi) are peerless fighters and bristle at the suggestion that they might need help from anyone. They frequently make their first appearance in the story when their future mate is about to be killed by bad guys. A mysterious cloaked and hooded character rides up, kills the bad guys, and then, to the other characters' astonishment, reveals herself to be a woman. In other words, she's a really horrible rip-off of Eowyn. This type of 'Sue also often means that there is at least one Designated Misogynistic Bastard, often Gandalf, Aragorn, or Boromir in Arda Suefics. He questions the 'Sue's ability to come along, often making comments about how women are only good for making babies, and then is dramatically proven wrong.
Grrl!Sues (Muliercula insolentis) are über-feminists, sometimes downright misandrist. They are out to prove that a woman is at least as good as a man, and nearly every male is a Designated Misogynistic Bastard. Of course, they fall for the one who isn't. Quite often they manufacture misogyny in not only the characters but the whole society of the continuum, claiming oppression and abuse in order to angst and/or throw hissyfits, which, for example, requires one to ignore that two of the Hogwarts founders were women, or that the very first official Patrol General of the Long Patrol was a female.
Anti!Sues (Puella imperfecta) take the typical Mary-Sue traits and invert them in an attempt to avoid being branded as Mary-Sues. They still dominate the story like their idealized cousins, but are even worse as a result of their lack of any positive values whatsoever.
GodMode!Sues (Miles supremus) are an extraordinarily powerful relative of the warrior!Sue capable of pulling whatever power they need out of their asses to beat the bad guys, save the world, etc. This incredible adaptability is commonly combined with near-total invincibility--agents forced to fight them find that nothing can kill them short of total disintegration. Extreme caution is advised when she appears in a fic. Calling for back-up (e.g. agents from the Eclectic Subdivision of Advanced Species, which is set up to deal with especially powerful Sues) is highly recommended.
Their even more dangerous relatives are known as the Black Hole!Sues (Miles supremus omnipotens) because they can become so powerful that the laws of reality are distorted by the very fact of her existence, causing the plot to be centered around her in a way that other 'Sues can only dream of. Finding one in a fic is considered grounds for an Emergency and should NEVER be taken on by even the most experienced agents without backup.
It isn't uncommon for one 'Sue have characteristics from different categories. For example, they may swing wildly between angst and bubbly joy.
Possession!Sues (Regula fictus), also called Canon!Sues, are created when a Suethor takes a canon character and gives them Sue-ish characteristics. This process is often referred to as 'Sueing' (or 'sueing', but the lower case can cause confusion with lawsuit "suing").
The male version of a Mary Sue is sometimes called a Gary Stu, Marty Stu or a Marty Sam (Diabolus cupidus). He is often tall, dark, and handsome, and spends much of the story brooding. He is also the perfect warrior, has all the best toys, and is awesome at everything with an absolute maximum of one (1) dramatic training montage, at the end of which he will invariably best his master. (Eragon, we're looking at you.) The main exception to this is when he is created to be the perfect mate of the main Mary Sue; then he can be however complements the main 'Sue the best.
Accessory: Rainbow gem
Weapon(s): Lightsaber powered by a dark blue crystal, blaster, holdout blaster, vibroknife
financial status: moderately wealthy
Ship(s): Falyn Star, Horizon class yacht, latest model, modified
Current Status: Coruscant
If you are not very careful, love will take you to the dark side. Slower than hate, yes, but no less surely for that. ~ Obi-Wan Kenobi