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What are "Mary Sues" or "Supar Marin Sindrom?

 
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SYSTEM
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Joined: 30 Jul 2004
Posts: 3737
Location: Sierra Hotel.

PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 1:05 am    Post subject: What are "Mary Sues" or "Supar Marin Sindrom? Reply with quote

They're pretty much the same thing, although Supar Marin Sindrome (No hard and fast spelling is enforced on that) is a bit more specific.

For the TLDR crowd, it's an author surrogate character that serves no purpose except to stroke the writer's ego.

Further reading is at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Sue

Is your character a Mary Sue? Keep in mind that these tests aren't perfect, and they're mostly tailored towards fandoms full of tween girls, but some apply.

http://www.katfeete.net/writing/marysue.html
http://www.ponylandpress.com/ms-test.html
http://www.springhole.net/quizzes/marysue.htm


Some warning signs you may have a sue:
- Is your character a Spartan that is not mentioned by canon?
- Does your character get a ton of kills?
- Is your character a supersoldier or is somehow above the crowd? Do you believe this justifies him or her getting more action than anything else?
- Do you focus a lot on your hero's exploits?
- Do you focus a lot on sex or feel like you need to describe everything during it?

Note that it's possible to have these and not have a sue. These are symptoms, not necessarily cause. The cause is authors living vicariously through their creations.

This thread will remain open for discussion, for now.
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kabu
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Joined: 18 Oct 2008
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 1:21 am    Post subject: Re: What are "Mary Sues" or "Supar Marin Sind Reply with quote

Dave wrote:

- Is your character a Spartan that is not mentioned by canon?


I don't really see a problem with the taking... "liberties" with canon. It's conducive to creativity. I also approve of mucking up the timeline (not that Bungie needs any help with that).
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eb4642
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Joined: 09 May 2009
Posts: 77
Location: The Dark Tower of NW10

PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 1:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

More alarm bells to be aware of:

  • Is your character selfless, putting their life on the line for other people without thinking about it, but invariably pulling through alive?
  • Do you consider your character attractive enough to want to date and/or sleep with him/her? Or does your character fall in love with (and get) a person you would find attractive enough to date and/or sleep with? Do you lay awake at night, acting out your character's love life in your mind?
  • Are they "special" Spartans? Spartan ODSTs? Lone wolves or late joiners? Spartan-IV or aboves? Do they have god-modded unobtainium armour? Kill them dead.
  • Are they a marine, a grunt or a low-ranking worker who's been assigned onto a special mission or to a special group (like the ODSTs or the Spartans) because of "exceptional skills", "special abilities" or another not-particularly-good reason?


If you spot any of the signs above, run through the Mary Sue litmus test immediately.
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Last edited by eb4642 on Sun Dec 06, 2009 5:50 pm; edited 1 time in total
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CaptainRaspberry
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Joined: 20 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 05, 2009 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wait, so you mean I have to abandon my plants to have a 100+ chapter epic about the super-duper-secret TROJAN supersoldier program, designed to help the Spartans from the shadows and are the real reason Halsey's projects were so successful?
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SYSTEM
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Location: Sierra Hotel.

PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Topic cleaned. This is not the OT thread.
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Shurmanator
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Joined: 14 Aug 2009
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 12:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

An Obvious One:
Is your hero able to absorb bullets/radiation/plasma/heat/nuclear bombs like a sponge long enough to achieve his/her heroic goal of saving the world/galaxy? And then, only after achieving that goal (which took about 10 minutes of him/her getting shot/blasted/irradiated) and giving a 5 minute speech about sacrifice and honor, does he/she finally die?
But then come back to life in the next paragraph?

If so, Mary Sue is in the house.
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J. D. Ford
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 06, 2009 4:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's no excuse for this, really...unless you're copying something you saw on Nickelodeon or bad Saturday morning anime. Or C-movies. And if you're copying that, you need to reexamine your personal definition of 'writing.' Yes, fan fiction is derivative, but that does not equate to 'ripoff.' Some authors may feel that way, but true fan fiction (i.e., the fan fiction we strive to create on this site) is original material set in a preexisting, fictional setting. That requires effort. Fan fiction without effort or attention to detail is of less use than toilet paper.

Mary Sue is a clear sign of defective characterization. Plain and simple. They are simply not inspired by reality. If you compare a character, no matter how heroic, to a real-life counterpart (probably from history), and there are no similarities in terms of how they react to a normal situation, you know something is wrong. Just because a character is fictional doesn't mean they shouldn't think and speak as a real person would. That's where the effort comes in. Full, three dimensional characterization requires a writer to study the people and world around him (or her). If that doesn't factor into one's writing, one's writing will be flat and unrealistic.

And I think 'literary fungal infection' is a great way to put it, actually, because stuff like this has a tendency to spread if not properly addressed.


~J. D.
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