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March 12, 2011
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OC vs. Mary Sue Meme, part One by SilverBellsAbove OC vs. Mary Sue Meme, part One by SilverBellsAbove
There is a point that I have been trying to make for a long time. About Mary Sues.

These two characters are identical. Their traits are also identical. But what a difference! Why is one nice, and the other obnoxious? It's the voice of the author at work: for good... or bad.

'Mary Sue traits' mean nothing. Those litmus tests you see around are not useful. A Mary Sue can have all the same traits as an otherwise normal person, much less any fictional character. It's how the author uses those traits that matters: in a confident, reasonable way, or a self-serving or even insecure way.

Mary Sues are inherently insecure of themselves. Why would they try and convince us that they're so cool if they were confident in their coolness?

And while it is the author's fault, the author's not the one to be scolded. It's the product they make that must be questioned and examined rather than blindly fav'd or 'cool story bro'd'.

The fact that many Sue/Stu authors lash out when their work is questioned is proof of the insecurity. And only with criticism and sometimes even parody and satire can anybody get over it?

I did. I think.

(Part one of two)
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Sophism232 Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2014
You know, when you think about it, their roles could be switched. Sometimes the one whose full of herself is the good character, because it's one of her flaws and the more quiet one could be a sue because the author is going out of their way to make her very modest and likable. I'm not specifically referring to you (I really love this!) but it's just a thought.
Derriwynn Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2011
...Thank you for doing this. :) I am actually considering doing this now, with my OC.
SilverBellsAbove Featured By Owner Mar 31, 2011
Go ahead! This is a pretty good meme. Though, it is oriented to making fun instead of making a point. It's set up to compare your OC to the stoopid speshul sue.

I wanted to use it to prove a point, so I had to be careful to not make it some kind of curb stomp with a fine character vs. somebody with a rainbow monkey lion penguin friend with sunset hair and size -1 waist.

It just doesn't say anything, you know?
editoress Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2011
Point made. I've always thought the difference between any given OC and a Sue was purpose. Extra characters can be excellent additional viewpoint or factor for a story, but if the author's intention is an Avatar of Awesome or Romance or My Opinion, then there's a problem. Granted, most litmus test have identified the symptoms of the illness, but they're not one hundred percent accurate.

Still, I've never seen the difference demonstrated so clearly, and definitely not with characters whose traits were identical. Bravo, madam.
SilverBellsAbove Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2011
Like I said. Symptoms are not the disease.

This is only part one of two. The second part is going to be with a character that anybody would call a blatant, really terrible Mary Sue: Special elf race, super speshul awesome powers etc etc.

But it CAN be pulled off. Just, most of the time people make those characters with ulterior motives. When those motives aren't there, it's easier to treat them sensibly.
editoress Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2011
Well, good luck with that. Actually, the more I think of it, the more I realize that those types have been pulled off. Heroes of many novels would technically count as a Sue with any litmus test, but very few (that I read, anyway) are actually Sues.

I salute you for educating the internet.
SilverBellsAbove Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2011
Yes, exactly. This is what produces so much debate about what's acceptable in fiction and why some heroes who have these traits are OK but others are not. It's that the ones who are not OK are self-serving and writerwank and the ones that are ok have those traits to prove a point or to truly demonstrate their full effect.
Angel-of-Dawn Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2011
I have to agree with you about what makes a character a Mary Sue. It's about how the author tries to portray the character.

I'm kinda iffy about what you said about "Mary Sues are inherently insecure of themselves. Why would they try and convince us that they're so cool if they were confident in their coolness?" I will admit that the Mary Sues are the "shield" for the author's insecure, but not all Mary Sues don't act too confidence just to prove if they're cool. Some of the authors will have the Mary Sues portray as the victims and want us audience to feel sorry for the "victim" Mary Sues.

Not only do we have to tell the difference between an original character and a Mary Sue based by how the author portrays the character, but we also need to tell the difference of how much development did the author put into the character. Months ago, I agreed with Huey (former member of FEF) about how Mary Sue had lack of character development. I feel that the authors who make Mary Sues only know the basic character development (ie: Character A falls in love with Character B because Character B is smart, but never fully explain what makes Character B smart). I think the Mary Sues authors don't want to make fully character development because they think it will make the story boring. However, what they don't know is that having a fully character development (whether it's small or not) is what makes the character more interesting and the story exciting.

For example, if the character is facing a situation that may change their belief, moral, or the relationship with another character, does the character meet the emotional or mentality consequence from the situation? And if so, does the character find the revelation after the turmoil struggle to find his/her inner self and does it effect the character toward that consequence? While character becomes to realize the consequence (whether it's good or bad), they also find something that will make revelation to the consequence whereas Mary Sues will stick to their original belief and morals because "it's the right thing to do" or "I'm always the the righteous part."

It is sad that MS/GS authors will lash on us when we question their character and believe that we don't "understand how awesome they are" when apparently, it is the authors who are blind to their illusion about their characters and never fully seen that the characters are based from their insecurities.
AzeilaRose Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I've had people call my OC's Mary-Sues and it drives me crazy. I love the point you made that there are no real Mary-Sue traits so much as it is the author's writing ability.
I have confident OC's, but they aren't cocky like the Mary-Sue above.
"It's how the user uses those traits that matters: in a confident, reasonable way, or a self-serving or even insecure way."
So true!!!
It also annoys me that not one person seems to know exactly what a MS is, they just throw the term around when they don't like an OC.
From now on I'm going to ref to this when someone is accusing my characters of being MS. ;P
SilverBellsAbove Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2011
This is only part one of two. I am going to do this meme again with the most Mary Sue character I can come up with-- like... some sexy hourglass figure elf who is an expert fighter with perfect hair and a magical artifact and has a name that means 'savior of the world' and stuff like that.

The trick is to make a situation in which those would be REASONABLE traits, and to write her well enough that she seems to fit in.

I won't pretend that a character which piles on the crap (Half dragon, half ninja, half unicorn with blue hair with green tips, who is so thin she might be anorexic yet has big boobs and etc etc etc) is probably a Mary Sue. It's just that it's so not plausible to pull that sort of thing off.

But a Mary Sue ALWAYS comes in and warps the story around her. Characters the author likes always WILL accept her eventually, and if she's not acceptable, she will CHANGE to be so (such as the Self Insert that somehow gets prettier once she gets into the plot, or loses weight at an unreasonable speed, or becomes good at something just to impress a character). She ALWAYS is perfectly suited to the role the author wants her to take-- even if that role is 'I am so unique I don't fit in.' It doesn't matter what she looks like-- it's the author's insecurity, selfishness, and want for awesome that makes her run. And the Mary Sue runs the story around her. Not by the established world's rules but by HER OWN rules.

Which is kind of why you can't go after the author/artist of these characters. That will just rile up their own insecurity that they're projecting on their work. Their work is a metaphor for their own problems, so going after the work is safer than going after the author/artist.
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