PDA

View Full Version : Question about Fan Fiction



Celia Cyanide
10-06-2009, 07:02 PM
Okay...I'd like to hear from those of you who read and write fan fiction, and everyone else, too.

Let's say you write fan fiction for a friend. And you put your friend into the fan fiction. Is it still a "Mary Sue" if it's not you writing yourself into the story?

kaitie
10-06-2009, 07:12 PM
I'd say not in the traditional sense, unless you make her some kind of superpowerful no weaknesses type to live vicariously through. :P If you write her as she actually is I don't think it counts. Heck, Stephen King wrote himself into a novel and I don't count that. ;)

Mata Hari
10-06-2009, 07:47 PM
I would only define a Mary Sue as a female character who has no distinguishing characteristics or personality, and who contributes to the story in no way despite being one of the major characters. Mary Sues also often have countless advantages with other characters (for example, being the concentration of a reverse harem), illustrating everyone seems to admire and love them for no apparent reason.

I don't think it has anything to do with it being a character inserted into the universe by the author --- but generally these original characters become Mary Sues because their personalities are completely eclipsed by the author's love for the other characters in the fandom; the author neglects his original character because he or she is too absorbed in the world and characters he or she is borrowing.

What's more I don't think you necessarily need to be writing fanfic to write a Mary Sue.

Bella from Twilight is a Mary Sue, in my opinion. Her appeal towards Edward has more to do with his involuntary attraction to her than anything else. Who IS Bella? Why does everyone fall in love with her?

But her ordinariness is probably why she's so easy to relate to. She didn't have to do anything but smell good in order to net Edward. Lucky girl... although Edward is ALMOST verging on being a Gary Stu himself.

Celia Cyanide
10-06-2009, 08:05 PM
I'd say not in the traditional sense, unless you make her some kind of superpowerful no weaknesses type to live vicariously through.

So...it was, it would be, even if it's not the writer, it's her friend? I'm just curious.

veinglory
10-06-2009, 08:07 PM
To the reader it doesn't matter who is being "Sued". The character will have the same limitations as a fully rounded fictional person.

ChristineR
10-06-2009, 08:20 PM
Mary Sue is a pretty nebulous concept anyhow. There are a number of Mary Sue tests out there, and you can play around with them and see that characters like Harry Potter are supposed to be Marty Stu. Most definitions do rely on author insertion, though, even though you can get a positive on a Mary Sue test without having any obvious author insertion.

Truthfully, I think the tendency is to label any author created character in a fan fic as Mary, even when she doesn't have superpowers. So I suspect you may get the label thrown at your friend. That isn't a reason not to write it though.

Celia Cyanide
10-06-2009, 08:22 PM
Actually, I'm not the writer, I'm the friend!

The funny thing is, I took that "Mary Sue Litmus Test" the other day, and apparently, I am a Mary Sue, so there you go.

veinglory
10-06-2009, 08:38 PM
Those tests are for fun, not a serious assessment. Like anything you can make a wish fulifilment character work, or at least I think thats what Harry Dresden and Anita Blake effectively are. It gets called a Mary Sue when it is done badly in a way that is unpleasant for the reader.

Medievalist
10-06-2009, 09:32 PM
Those texts are in joke. Really. That's all; they're silly fun.

Celia Cyanide
10-06-2009, 09:44 PM
I guess I don't really know enough about fan fiction to get the joke! :)

Are Mary Sues in fan fiction usually the author writing him/herself into the story?

Also, I was reading on wikipedia about Mary Sues, and it sounds like most fan fiction writers are female. Why is that?

panda
10-06-2009, 09:53 PM
Are Mary Sues in fan fiction usually the author writing him/herself into the story?


This would be like a new student, Veronica (ie with all the traits/mannerisms of you, the Author), arriving at Hogwarts.




Also, I was reading on wikipedia about Mary Sues, and it sounds like most fan fiction writers are female. Why is that?

Because we've taken over all literature, one venue at a time. Next Step...World Domination. ;)

Celia Cyanide
10-06-2009, 10:20 PM
This would be like a new student, Veronica (ie with all the traits/mannerisms of you, the Author), arriving at Hogwarts.

So, let's say it has all the traits/mannerisms of your friend? Is that a Mary Sue, or is there a different name for that? I'm just interested/curious. I don't read to much fanfic, but my friend is writing one about me.


Because we've taken over all literature, one venue at a time. Next Step...World Domination. ;)

Why'd we have to start with fanfic? :(

TheIT
10-06-2009, 10:30 PM
IMO, whether a character is like a real person is irrelevent as long as the character fits within the story universe. "Mary Sue" becomes a curse word when the rest of the cast start acting out of character in order to accommodate the wish-fulfilling Mary Sue character. For example, in Star Trek fan fiction, the Mary Sue would be smarter than Spock and Spock himself would be going to him/her for answers. The Mary Sue would always save the day/get the love interest/speak all the wise words of wisdom, etc, and all the characters from the original source material would defer to this wonder character.

Celia Cyanide
10-06-2009, 10:54 PM
IMO, whether a character is like a real person is irrelevent as long as the character fits within the story universe. "Mary Sue" becomes a curse word when the rest of the cast start acting out of character in order to accommodate the wish-fulfilling Mary Sue character.

Thst is another thing I have always wondered about. If you don't like the characrers the way they are, why would you want to be in their story?

Richard White
10-06-2009, 11:24 PM
Being put into a story is called a "Tuckerism".

Many authors do that to their friends, giving them a little screen time (usually cameo apperances). I've been in two licensed Marvel Comics short stories. I was introduced in one story as a S.A.F.E. agent (similar to S.H.I.E.L.D. - I think Byron didn't have the license for S.H.I.E.L.D., so they came up with another agency), and then killed in another story (something about a girder falling through my body . . . ).

I was actually friends with both authors, but they were spatting with each other which is why I got killed. Yikes.

Celia Cyanide
10-07-2009, 12:35 AM
That is really cool!

Now I am wondering...because this whole fan fiction world is new to me...would you say that the main reason people write fan fiction is because they want to enter that world? Or because they want to take the story further?

TheIT
10-07-2009, 01:20 AM
Thst is another thing I have always wondered about. If you don't like the characrers the way they are, why would you want to be in their story?

I think you've got this reversed. Fanfic is written by people who love the world and the characters. Problem is, a lot of fanfic is written by people who haven't done much writing so they have difficulty portraying the world's characters accurately.

I think Mary Sues come from the author wanting to be part of the story, but the wish-fulfillment aspect becomes too strong and overwhelms the original characters. I don't think the author is intentionally trying to do so since they wouldn't be writing about those characters unless they liked them.

TheIT
10-07-2009, 01:28 AM
That is really cool!

Now I am wondering...because this whole fan fiction world is new to me...would you say that the main reason people write fan fiction is because they want to enter that world? Or because they want to take the story further?

Both. Sometimes it's fun to be part of the world, sometimes it's fun to have new stories set in a familiar setting.

Most of the fanfic I've read is based on the BBC science fiction series Blake's 7. It ran for four seasons and ended on a cliffhanger which was practically begging for someone to come along and finish the story. I've read a bunch of "fifth season openers" which speculate on what might happen next. Some are brilliant, some are dreck, some are good stories hidden within inexperienced writing. IMO, the best stories which capture the essence of the characters were a set of parodies of the original series and all the cliches in the other fanfic.

Writing fanfic is also a way to explore writing while playing in a familiar playground. The characters and world are there, so the writer just needs to figure out how to tell a story about them. A lot of famous authors started out writing fanfic. The fanfic can't be officially published, but it's good as an experiment.

Celia Cyanide
10-07-2009, 02:53 AM
I think you've got this reversed. Fanfic is written by people who love the world and the characters. Problem is, a lot of fanfic is written by people who haven't done much writing so they have difficulty portraying the world's characters accurately.

I think Mary Sues come from the author wanting to be part of the story, but the wish-fulfillment aspect becomes too strong and overwhelms the original characters. I don't think the author is intentionally trying to do so since they wouldn't be writing about those characters unless they liked them.

Interesting. I haven't read enough to really get that. I thought they were just trying to fix the things they thought were wrong with the characters.

When you see similar themes, like putting two of the characters together when it's not canon, is it because they read each others stories, or is it because they all respond to the source material in the same way? What do you think?

TheIT
10-07-2009, 03:33 AM
Interesting. I haven't read enough to really get that. I thought they were just trying to fix the things they thought were wrong with the characters.

When you see similar themes, like putting two of the characters together when it's not canon, is it because they read each others stories, or is it because they all respond to the source material in the same way? What do you think?

Most of the fanfic I've read seems more of a celebration of the characters rather than an attempt to fix something wrong with the characters.

Not sure what you're asking in the second paragraph.

panda
10-07-2009, 05:59 AM
Most of the fanfic I've read seems more of a celebration of the characters rather than an attempt to fix something wrong with the characters.

I agree with this. Yeah when you wander away from the characters (ala mary sues)...then it becomes real fiction imposed in someone else's fiction and loses the main fanfiction appeal...imo


So, let's say it has all the traits/mannerisms of your friend? Is that a Mary Sue, or is there a different name for that? I'm just interested/curious. I don't read to much fanfic, but my friend is writing one about me.



Why'd we have to start with fanfic? :(

Because we've already taken over general fiction?? ;)

I had no idea about fanfic and prevalence of women, I was referring to fiction, the female readers (buyers) and writers of fiction outnumber the male readers and writers in recent years. I may be wrong though...

I'd be so flattered if my book came out and people wanted to write about it themselves. Must write book first though.

Celia Cyanide
10-07-2009, 07:24 AM
Not sure what you're asking in the second paragraph.

Okay...for example...I have been reading some Dark Knight fan fiction (which is different than Batman fan fiction) and there is a whole subgenre of DK fanfic that is about Rachel Dawes hooking up with The Joker. Perhaps this example is unique to DK fanfic, but why is that? It seems like such a strange pairing to me, and yet people write about it all the time.

Celia Cyanide
10-07-2009, 07:29 AM
I had no idea about fanfic and prevalence of women, I was referring to fiction, the female readers (buyers) and writers of fiction outnumber the male readers and writers in recent years. I may be wrong though...

I'm pretty sure you're right about that. When I was reading about Mary Sues on wikipedia, it mentioned that the name is female because more women write fan fiction. I guess I found it surprising just because the kind I was reading was more for boys. But you make a good point here.


I'd be so flattered if my book came out and people wanted to write about it themselves. Must write book first though.

I would be too, although I know some authors don't like it. I can respect either response. I wouldn't want someone writing fan fic about me though. I mean, other than my friend who knows me writing about me. ;)

emilycross
10-07-2009, 02:58 PM
Okay...for example...I have been reading some Dark Knight fan fiction (which is different than Batman fan fiction) and there is a whole subgenre of DK fanfic that is about Rachel Dawes hooking up with The Joker. Perhaps this example is unique to DK fanfic, but why is that? It seems like such a strange pairing to me, and yet people write about it all the time.

Its a personal choice if people want to write pairings like this, so its hard to come up with a 'reason why'. People write FF for a number of reasons, usually out of enjoyment for the show/movie/series. As Marlene Arpe says "In the world of fan fiction, great TV and movie characters never die. They just get new scripts"

FF also, like Celia has said allows people to play around and develop their writing without having to invent all the characters etc. Some people make up OC (original characters) which are completely new but usually aren't done properly or become mary sueish. That being said, when i was younger (young teens) i loved reading xmen ff, and a writer developed an amazing villian, who was an amazingly complex character (and to this day i still remember the characters name).

In regards to pairings, there are canon (Rachel and Batman/Rachel and Harvey) and non-canon (Rachel and ?). Some sites have rules/regs about their FF and only want canon pairings while others don't have any restrictions. I guess people play around with the idea of different relationships and decide if they can apply to the universe. Generally i'd say most non-canon relationships are due to 'reading between the lines' or deciding to push the boundaries for fun.

The important thing is that FF has a 'don't ask won't tell' policy with authors. There have been a number of instances when fans have contacted authors with fan gifts, just to have their fanfic sites etc. shut down for copyright. Not because the author was anti-ff but because of legalities about copyright.

and of course there are instances where fans will step over this line, and actually try and publish themselves off the back of anothers work eg. Russet Noon.

Heres something i posted before about pros and cons of FF (http://thewriterschronicle.blogspot.com/2009/02/good-ideabad-idea-fanfiction.html) maybe it will help with some of your questions? I have a load of references at the end with links.

Celia Cyanide
10-07-2009, 06:56 PM
In regards to pairings, there are canon (Rachel and Batman/Rachel and Harvey) and non-canon (Rachel and ?). Some sites have rules/regs about their FF and only want canon pairings while others don't have any restrictions. I guess people play around with the idea of different relationships and decide if they can apply to the universe. Generally i'd say most non-canon relationships are due to 'reading between the lines' or deciding to push the boundaries for fun.

Or perhaps the Joker is the character they want to explore, but Rachel is the only girl?

The link was interesting, thanks! I like the Bad Fanfic site!

TheIT
10-07-2009, 09:55 PM
What Emilycross said. IIRC, the term "Mary Sue" came about because the first character identified as one was named Mary Sue.

Celia Cyanide
10-07-2009, 10:00 PM
What Emilycross said. IIRC, the term "Mary Sue" came about because the first character identified as one was named Mary Sue.

Actually, from what I understand, it was a parody fanfic in which the character was named Mary Sue. Leutenant Mary Sue in "A Trekkie's Tale."

Phaeal
10-07-2009, 10:03 PM
As I understand it, a Mary Sue or Marty Stu is any character perfect beyond reason, knows everything, can do everything, is loved by all, often dies to universal mourning, is prone to having unusual hair and eye colors. There are interesting articles on the Internet about this phenomenon, tracing it way back. Some believe that the Mary Sue or Marty Stu is a wish fulfilment mechanism for the author.

Mary Sues can appear in original fiction as well as fan fiction. Beware!

emilycross
10-08-2009, 02:08 AM
Actually Marty Stu is new to me, i always thought the male equivalent was Gary Stu


Offtopic - all my old fanfics just got reviewed today . . . (after a year or more of no reviews - and well years of neglect)

Coincidence?

Dun Dun Duuuuun

Cyia
10-08-2009, 02:15 AM
In the words of the ... ahem... lady... herself.

An Interview with Mary Sue (http://www.englishchick.com/badfic/msinterview.htm)

emilycross
10-09-2009, 01:54 AM
:roll: