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EDIT: If you like this journal entry, check out The Sarcastic Guide to Writing ebook www.amazon.com/The-Sarcastic-G… for exclusive content on world-building, character, and dialogue!

I enjoy belittling everyone, as you know, so I thought I'd post some thoughts on a lot of the writing I see around DA, and the common problems that plague it.  I present five common pitfalls for your consideration.

1. The Mary Sue Of course.  Regardless of whether it disguises itself as a fursona, an OC in a fanfic, or some other spurious creation, the Mary Sue lurks everywhere. I understand the appeal of this kind of protagonist, especially in regard to the tween and teen years.  When I was that age, my world a daily upheaval of confusion that all too often manifested as feeling bad about myself, I used to do what I call the "I'm-Better-Than-You" stories in my head, in which I'd show the Saddle Club and Ramona Quimby my superiority by having better horses and toys (respectively.)  Yeah.  And that's why I'm glad I didn't post that crap.  Mary Sues are oft the weapon of people struggling with their own feelings of self-worth by practicing in oneupsmanship.  You'll notice that many who write Mary Sues are often screamingly defensive of them, and if there's a fandom involved, be quick to let you know that they know more and care more about the fandom than you ever could.
Mary Sues abound in original tales, too, but they take the same role, as defender of their writer, and a better, prettier, more accepted version of them, too.  Sympathize with the Mary Sue writers, but don't enable them.  Say things like "I didn't feel any tension" or "What would you say your character is trying to overcome internally and externally?"  I promise you sputters and blank looks.  To those who write them: No one wants to read about someone perfect and awesome and great who knows everything.  You personally can't stand those kind of people in real life, and in fact, their very belittling presence is what drives you to write Mary Sues in the first place.  Until you can give me someone with a real emotional flaw and the courage to overcome it, I don't want to read your story.  After all, I know your guy is going to win and be completely untroubled by it all, right?  So why should I bother?


2. Over-describing the mundane.  Whoof.  This one's a big one, holy crap.  I can't tell you the number of times I've read stuff like "She pursed her fine ruby lips, delicately placed them against the crystalline ridge of the glass, and tipped the sweet, clear water down her delicate throat, which pulsed gently as she swallowed," instead of "Jane sipped from her cup."  (In fact, I think a small part of my literary aesthetic just died typing that sentence.)  Somehow, this gets worse with animals; I guess cause they're supposed to be all wild and beautiful and cool.  Unless said drinking has a whole plot hinging on it, don't freaking bother waiting my time.  I don't care how people put on their pants, look at their reflections (which is a cheap trick anyway), tie their shoes, or eat.  If it doesn't relate to the story, I don't care.  And I will get at mad at you when I realize the description has no plot relevance or fails to add to the story's environment.  Describing magic, cultures, or other things significant to the feel of the world is one thing.  Telling me how someone does some everyday activity is not.  This can tie in to the Mary Sue thing, above, because everything a Mary Sue does is gaspingly wondrous to watch.  Didn't you know?

   3. No end in sight.  Everyone wants to write a novel.  EVERYONE.  But the amount of people who can say they've successfully finished a novel are quite small in comparison.  The definition of a writer is someone who writes, not someone who talks about it.  And if you start walking amongst writers, published or not, and start talking about all these bestseller ideas you've got if you'd only find the time to finish them, you will become a source of amusement to people who kind of already consider themselves pathetic in the first place.  (We are writers, after all.)  How many graphic novels on DA have an actual ending planned?  How many novels or short stories?  I admit to this pitfall freely; Dragon Rose literally started as "once there was a girl with an awesome horse."  Once the core idea's shine wears off, a lot of people are left blinking at the cursor thinking "Now what?" (I did.) It's why most writers hate plot.  But if you don't have an ending in mind, I'm of the opinion that your idea will peter out before it hits the finish line.  Plot and plan, and sweat and struggle to do it.  If you don't, you're working with no end in sight.  And I, as a reader, am not inclined to follow a storyteller who doesn't know where he's going.  Not when there a bunch of other people out there who already do, and want me to spend time in their worlds.

   4. Finding ten ways to say black.  This, combined with the over-describing sin above, can make for some real howlers.  If Stephanie Meyer suffers from over-describing the mundane, then Christopher Paolini suffers from the ten-ways sin.  This is where you find a different way to refer to someone or something every time you don't mention them by name.  "The fair-haired lad" becomes "the blonde boy" becomes "the golden Adonis" becomes the "young hero" when he's not "Vlad".  Or, if someone has black hair, they have raven locks, sable curls, and midnight tresses.  This will completely screw up your writing style, because you will inevitably start using words you don't know and never use in real life conversation.  The term hackneyed comes to mind, and it gets even worse when people start trying to use Victorian or Old English.  Unless you are an etymologist, a person who understands the history of words, where they came from, and how they evolved, don't do this.  Because there are reasons why South Texan ranchers don't use the same kind of words high-bred Brits do, and there would be a reason why your illiterate peasant couldn't describe why your hero's hair is an "auriferous halo" if the story was being told from his point of view.  He wouldn't know the meaning of the words!  Call Vlad Vlad and his blonde hair blonde and get on with the freaking story.  We won't fuss at you, I promise.  In the end, we'll probably thank you.

   5. Writing fan fiction.  I might get some real flak for this one, but keep in mind this is merely a humble and unpublished writer's opinion.  There are also people out there who write for established canons and get paid for it, so it's not like there's no money in it, either.  I confess of only writing one fanfiction in my life, which was for Watership Down.  (Yes.  You may laugh.  I wasn't brave enough to touch Adams's characters, though; that was one small mercy.)  I do not personally feel it is possible for someone to grasp what it means to establish character or world when they are writing fanfiction.  Granted, it can be a good exercise or experiment, but I see people writing entire novel-length tales in a world that isn't theirs.  And getting lauded by people who love the world and its characters, and would probably settle for seeing them jump rope, as long as their hero of choice is doing it with their love interest of choice.  Fandom also seems a weird, distorted beast that likes to breathe fire, where arguments break out over who is respecting canon and so on, when folks should be focusing on writing style and if stuff is even making sense without the foregone exposition.  It is, in many respects, a rather illusionary and volatile environment to write in, since even if you win it's sort of lame.  No fanfiction writer, anywhere, can be better than the one who created the world in the first place, like Jordan or Tolkien or Adams.  They had originality and the courage to put themselves out there.  (Even Paolini's work is better than any of his fanfiction writers.  I just gagged a little.)   Eventually, you're going to have to do it too, or at least get a grasp of what means good writing.  Fanfiction is not a good place to learn serious writing, how to world-build or create emotional hooks out of character, or even how to receive critique.  It is, however, extremely fun to poke the fandom.  Fanfiction written as satire or deconstruction would count as one of the aforementioned exercise perks to writing fanfiction.  I honestly can't say whether I want My Immortal to be a joke or a serious effort.
  • Listening to: Globus - Europa
  • Reading: Historical ficiton about Genghis Kahn
  • Watching: Futurama
Add a Comment:
 
:iconwafflekatz101:
WaffleKatz101 Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2015  Student General Artist
As a very young writer, I can say I agree with everything (Except the fanfiction... Fanfiction is my life! I hate anime, which makes up the entire fanfic genre though... Mainly a band and a book series dominate my notes) especially the 'over descriptions'. In all honesty, I do this. But only when a character is paying very close attention to another one (Ex. For my AU set in the past, when Daniel poisons Ashling, he pays attention to how she drinks her wine). The Mary-Sue problem isn't really mine, as all my characters have flaws (Trauma. Cocky. Clingy.) and wrongs, but for the 'a million words for...' I get that every single time I write Warrior Cats fanfiction. For that band I spoke of though... It's honestly six men on a bus screaming because they keep fighting. No description needed.
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:iconrobinscot:
robinscot Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2015
It is not that I ignore any of these grammatical and/or stylistic features when I read student work. proofreading guide
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:iconsnapsunset:
Snapsunset Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
  While I do agree with you ,but I do want to say a few things about the fifth mistake. Since fanfiction is written in a canon universe, you really can't world build there. You can try and describe the world in detail, but that's different from world building. If it's fanfiction, it probably has more praise than critique. If there is any, the author might not deal with it well.
  While I find that some fanfiction writers are more interesting to read than the actual author, I know that's not a good argument. I do want to add especially since a lot of them should probably focus more in English.
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:icon1auroraangel1:
1AuroraAngel1 Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2014  Student General Artist
All aspiring writers should read this. 
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:iconfiolee-freak4427:
Fiolee-Freak4427 Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I completely agreed with you until you started talking about fan-fiction. The way I see it, it's sort of a way for a fandom to see different endings that may not have been in the original show, movie, or book. Also I always know how I want to begin and end a story I just never know what to put in the middle which is common for many professional writers.
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:iconrebeccannoying:
Rebeccannoying Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
I get amazing ideas all the time for stories; I can usually visualize in great detail how they begin, and have a decent understanding of how it will end and what message I wish to send in the process. It's getting from the beginning to the end that always trips me up xD Then again, I only write for myself when incredibly random inspiration strikes, and I'm definitely not a writer. Most of my "fun writing" folder is full of snippets of scenes and stories that pop into my head out of nowhere and won't get out of my head until I record them :)
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:iconaveneer:
Aveneer Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2010
:la: Reading this and your other journal about writing made me interested in writing again! n.n
I had my fantasies and mindtwists laying around in the back of my head, waiting for me to 'find time to write', but I guess I'm just going to go for it! :D
I'm just wondering... (small hope, but a try is better than nothing?)
Whenever I finish/get to a certain part of my story ( The comments learned me that you only read the first 5 pages, so idk) and when I get it translated, would you mind reading it? :cookie:
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2010
Sure, If it gets you writing again, send me the first five pages.
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:iconaveneer:
Aveneer Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2010
:D
I guess I'm going to get ready to write in a bit then ^^
Schoolwork first though (;
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:iconmorgue-awall:
Morgue-Awall Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
My problem is not the ending. I have how I want it to end. I just... don't know how to get there. xD
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2010
Then go for it. Sometimes that stuff works itself on the page. But how it ends is all you need.
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:iconmorgue-awall:
Morgue-Awall Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2010  Hobbyist Writer
Yes, I suppose you're right. I'm just too lazy. xD
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:iconpollutedessence:
PollutedEssence Featured By Owner May 8, 2010
Very helpful! I think I need to work on #2. I try not to, but I think I slip sometimes. Appreciate you writing this! You have some really good ones!
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:iconashien:
Ashien Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2010
RE: #5

I beg to disagree! :D A good fanfiction author is worth ten times their weight in gold, but they are there. Vathara, on ff.net, is pretty good; she works with the world and blends worlds together quite well. Lightning on the wave rewrote the entire Harry Potter series into a completely different saga - based on the common fanfiction plot that Harry Potter had a twin who was called the boy-who-lived, exploring a lot of psychological stuff - and did it *well*. Some fanfiction is used to fulfil fantasies, and play around with the characters people love, but it isn't always done badly.
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:iconiratheiv:
IRAtheIV Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2010   Traditional Artist
arent mary-sues in fairy tales?
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:iconkreativprotege:
KreativProtege Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2010  Hobbyist Interface Designer
there a way to save other peoples journals by chance? :P
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:iconlaughingfacade:
LaughingFacade Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Let us all pray at the mighty altar of wisdom that Droemar has once again revealed to us...thank you! I've been running a few of my main charries through the Mary Sue Litmus test, and it's all immensely helpful! And the tips are very useful! Anyways, I was wondering, do you ever edit writing? I'm not suggesting that I'm going to throw a few hundred first-draft novel-ish things into your inbox or anything (because that's fun, right? :eyeroll:), but it'd be helpful to get a character review, if you do.

Thanks again!
~LaughingFacade
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2010
Character review? I'm not quite sure what that means, but I might be interested. The most I ever look at is the first five pages, because I can usually diagnose any problems from those. I can't take any right now, but if you've got a summary or a character template or something, I'd be willing to give some kind of feedback.
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:iconlaughingfacade:
LaughingFacade Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I guess by character review, I just mean searching for anomalies and things that are illogical. So yeah, like a character template =) Would you mind if I sent you one so you could look it over?
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2010
Sure, go ahead.
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:iconlaughingfacade:
LaughingFacade Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks very much! It'll take me a little while to put it together, but I should have it done by tomorrow morning at the latest =)
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:iconclgcart:
CLGCArt Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2010  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Is there a way to +fav journal entries 'cause I'd love to for all your lovely tip journals!

You bring up a lot of excellent points here concerning young writers and I can recall accidentally committing a few way back in the day. I agree with your thoughts on fanfiction. I used to write fanfiction when, hell, I was in middle school, maybe? I finally figured out that it was limiting my ability to come up with original characters and dropped it all together. However, I think fanfiction can be a great starting point for grasping certain fiction concepts like theme, scene transition, dialogue, and so on and so forth. Yes, it doesn't help much in the imagination department, but it can help with the basic writing skills and prepare young writers for criticism since we all know how harsh fanfiction lovers can be. I think one of mine ended up on a website chronicling poorly done fanfiction. I made an account and thanked them for their harsh words simply because it helped me grow as a writer in terms of taking criticism.
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:iconstarfirec13:
StarfireC13 Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2009
What on earth is a Mary Sue? I wanna know so I know whether I've created any by mistake. ^^;
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Dec 16, 2009
If you have a character you'd like to test for being a Mary Sue, Google the Mary Sue Litmus test. Basically, if your character is a super awesome person whose never wrong and everyone loves and listens to, chances are it's a Mary Sue.
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:iconstarfirec13:
StarfireC13 Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2009
Okay, thanks. :D
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:iconutaunna:
Utaunna Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2009
Lol, funny, I always have nice endings with nothing to put in front of them. XD
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:iconfurrama:
Furrama Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2009   Digital Artist
Ok, so in regards to No. 4, how would you go on describing a character that has not yet been named by the general narration? I had a huge problem with this a while back- I had a character who didn't go by any name until a different character named him, and for many many pages I wasn't sure on how to refer to him. I kept using different descriptors, and it just sounded and looked soooo stupid. So stupid in fact I quit writing it (my thinking being, "Oh I can already see this is going to go well!" /EYEROLL).

How would you combat this issue?
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2009
I have this happen often, because I usually have groups of major characters who don't all sit down and shake hands over coffee. I have found that it is best to choose one moniker and stick with it. If someone thinks of a character as "the kid", use that. Or "the girl", "the dog". Simple is usually best, because people do really think this way. If you see some guy screaming at a counter, you're like "What's up with that guy?" not "What's up with that greasy-haired gentleman?"
I also try not and drag it out too long, say for only a couple of pages, max. Especially if the reader has already met the character in question and knows who they are. Dramatic irony can only take you so far. And most of the time, if the characters are together for that long, they can and should probably introduce themselves. It would be rare scene that you couldn't justify that, unless it was like an assassin keeping someone prisoner or something.
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:iconkrystle-tears:
krystle-tears Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2009  Professional Interface Designer
I tend to kill of my Mary Sues with my Psycho Janes.
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2009
ROFLMAO.
Now that's an archetype I'd like to see defined.
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:icondeathcomes4u:
Deathcomes4u Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2009  Professional General Artist
i love you for beating me to this. If i find a way to post the fanfic writers help tute i wrote, i should very much like to link to this in the descrip. I may have to post it on livejournal cause DA is a prick and won't let me post it here, but this covers all the points i missed (mine's a technical guide to improving writing for fanficers) and thankyou for being the first to really hit home on the truths of MarySues.
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2009
Feel free to link to it or reiterate. Whatever helps weed the little Sue bastards out!
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:icondeathcomes4u:
Deathcomes4u Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2009  Professional General Artist
:XD: i'm probably so happy about it cause it validates my OC as not marysue, because she has flaws and suckages abounding to counter her good parts, and redemption in the form of complex emotional journeys. Plus ive already used her as a standalone out of the fandom that spawned her and found people like her. Not to say she didn't have TOTALLY marysue origins (oh boy did she ever), but she got better haha X3
Mine doesn't so much help with de-marysueing (i may have to do a part 2 covering that though) but more with grammatical and structural issues. I see too many awesome plot bunnies lain to waste by shit writing techniques lol. Oh and mary sues :XD:
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:iconmelladh:
melladh Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2009
I don't think you need to have an ending planned out, but neither do I really claim to have that great results either way. My writing actually turns even worse when I plan, because it makes me take long unintuitive jumps between the major plot events. In the general lame-noob-defense that so many pull, I do not write for an audience, and I am not really interested in being published. I'm mostly here because, as Douglas Adams put it, "otherwise I'd just be talking to myself", even if that IS the intended result.

To be frank I actually think Stephen King would be an excellent example of an author who really should plan. I have not read many of his books, but they tend to start out beautifully. Eventually, though, he tends to derail in a frantic drugged up nightmare where I can't help but lose immersion and suddenly find myself standing there staring at the narrator, who I at this point imagine scribbling furiously while foaming at the mouth and giggling to himself.
But it's a matter of taste as well. Personally I prefer Neil Gaiman, another author without plans. And as he writes to the preface of Smoke and Mirrors; when he does plan, the stories still tend to get a life of their own, and not go where he intended to anyway.

If you ever want a horrible example of Mary Sue, look up Jan Guillio's Evil (it's even been made into a movie, which I admit I have not seen)
It's about an "underdog" (though ofcourse he really isn't) who's better than everyone, and even though he's not looking for trouble everyone keeps challenging him. They always get defeated as if our main "hero" is superman, and everyone else are ants that he merely needs to trod on. It's just that awesome.

I would also like to add that Robert Jordan must be the biggest describer of the mundane whose work has ever been near my bookshelves. I like a certain measure of world description, I can even enjoy some even more pointless descriptions if I like the tune that the sentences play. But when I had spent approximately four pages plowing through which particular metal was used for what particular shape inlaid in the furniture placed in this room, which then only three pages of events unfurled in... I was starting to get bored.

And I'm well aware of my addiction to parenthesis.
Also, I have written two full length novels. :D They were shite!

</rant>
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2009
Hey, I'm not saying that the professionals don't get away with this crap. It's just that we want to reduce the level of crap in our literary work. I do agree with Douglas Adams, though. I think I actually have more respect for people who write for that reason, because I'm definitely writing to get published. It's a rather Zen approach to writing.
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:iconsharpfang:
Sharpfang Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2009
Some more sins:

RPG transcript
when the writer writes the same story from viewpoints of two characters, one paragraph each. It isn't a bad style if it isn't abused - sometimes an outside or 3rd party view is introduced, sometimes one person gets several paragraphs in a row. But "He said... She did... He nodded... She smiled..." it gets annoying after a time.

Writing in Stick Figures.
Equivalent to drawing stick figures. When I can see you know a decent story, it's in your head, but you fail to transfer it to paper, you don't see it from a point of someone who does not have it in their head. Skipping essential descriptions. Dryly relating actions which have a deep emotional background. Assuming things are obvious while they aren't.

No back-editing.
Some writers assume what was written is unchangeable. As you recall things you missed and put them not where they belong (5 pages ago) but right here, after the conclusion. "A man walks into a bar and says, "A beer please, and one for the road. And by the way, the man has has a slab of asphalt under his arm."

Spelling.
Its/it's
There/They're/Their
He's/His
I'm not saying perfect spelling is a necessity but how hard is it to learn the correct spelling of the top 100 words in the dictionary? It's an immersion-breaker.
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2009
Switching POVs without warning is a huge gaffe. I use a fairly big cast, so I'm always very careful about whose POV it is. I won't switch them without a break in the scene. I hate when I can't tell who is talking, and I wouldn't like to think of that happening with any of my casts.
Heh. The lack of description thing is also pretty maddening. Some of my most scathing critiques have started with "Okay, not only do I not know where I am, I don't care, and here's how you've failed miserably ..."
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:iconkaljaia:
Kaljaia Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2009
Very nice journal :)
I've been camping over on the Mary-sue litmus test for a while, and found it useful for pointing out the obvious in characters and stories.

I have been writing the same story now for about six years, and while it's much better now than it was then, it's still not done yet. That is, the first two hundred pages of plot is done, and the end is done, but the stuff in between is still being sorted out. And it's all on it's seventh rewrite.

My main problem is the lack of a good editor within shouting distance. I've had a dozen people read the first chapter, all of whom proclaimed themselves good plot editors, and they all said 'great, fix these six grammar errors.' So I still have no idea if the first chapter is a decent start! It's frustrating...
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2009
You should probably find a group at a college or find a local writer's group. I'm part of SCBWI, which is a global organization, but my city, Austin, has its own chapter. Critters.org is also a good place to get crit if you're absolutely desperate for it. (Although there were a lot of ... um, bad people there.)
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:iconliiadragon7:
LiiaDragon7 Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2009  Student Digital Artist
WOW! Thank you so much for that! it's exactly what I need! very much worth the time I took to read it! (now theres a few people I'd love to nag into reading this...)
sorry I have nothing useful to add!(hmm, I over use exclamation points...)
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:iconsenraikin:
Senraikin Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2009
You have no idea how badly this journal just helped me. I'm in the middle of working on a project and even if it turns out to be a comic, I can still apply all of these things. And it also taught me something as a writer. I don't have to focus on how characters get ready in the morning because it's not relevant to the story. So, I thank you kindly for writing this out, haha.

But I have a question, what's your definition of a Mary Sue/Mary Stu? I've heard a couple of definitions for them but when I hear someone else's, my own definition always changes.
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2009
I think there are multiple definitions out there, and many of them would be better than mine. But I believe a Mary Sue/Marty Stu is a character who allows the writer to show how great their creation is, not something that struggles to overcome an obstacle and tells a story while doing it. Hence my tendency to read Mary Sues as avatars of troubled people. Having been there, and having written Mary Sues while knowing full well why I was, I'm actually a bit more sympathetic to the presence of Sues than other people. That doesn't mean I'll them in a story, though. Sues are a chance for the writer to be clever at the reader's expense, and most readers don't appreciate that.
Remember: The reader owes nothing . If you feel that the author is trying to pull one over on you, talk down to you, or patronize you, you're probably right. And as such, you have every right not not read what they've written. Mary Sues are just the most common manifestation of a writer trying to do this.
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:iconsenraikin:
Senraikin Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2009
Your definition nearly matched the definition that most people told me but I wanted to make sure that I had a basic idea of what a Mary Sue/Stu is. Now that you mention that, there are a lot of wolf comics that do that-having a multi-colored wolf telling his or her pack how bad humans really are. It's not a good example but it's what most of these Mary Sues/Stus tend to do.
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:iconfyrrea:
Fyrrea Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Could I translate it to Polish and put it on a writers website? Of course I'll link to your DA page/journal
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2009
Yes, you're very welcome to do so.
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:iconalectryomachy:
alectryomachy Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2009
I enjoy reinventing my fanfiction ideas and writing them for shits and giggles to pursue a point of view I like without fucking too badly with canon. I don't write love stories with OCs unless it's with a character that was left ambiguously or clearly with no one. But lately I haven't written any just because each time I give fanfiction.net a chance I am very, very disappointed to the point of rage.

Also, Mary Sues don't exist technically because a Mary Sue is a problem with the setting, not the character. It's quite possible to have a character who is half-angel, flies, has powers of a divine nature and is attractive. Is this character a Sue? Well, if you're writing Inuyasha fanfiction it is. However, if you were to use this character for something original or for something like Dungeons and Dragons, it would be perfectly acceptable. Halfbreed creatures with magic powers are a staple in DnD and in most fantasy worlds, so if it's logical in your setting it isn't a problem.
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:icondroemar:
Droemar Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2009
I think Mary Sue is more defined by the way characters and plot react to their presence. A half-angel who is attractive, flies, and has powers of a divine nature can still suffer and struggle to overcome human problems. If he doesn't, however, an instead enjoys himself thoroughly and solves everyone else's problem by his mere presence or pithy words, that would make him a Sue (or Stu as it were.) And while it could be a stretch in a fanfiction, it would still be possible to have the character behave in a non-Stu fashion.
But also, I don't write fanfiction, so I don't care.
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:iconalectryomachy:
alectryomachy Featured By Owner Dec 8, 2009
But the characters are determined by the setting. If they live in a society where humans are awaiting the return of a divine prophet half-angel to descend and save them from the apocalypse or whatever, if that half-angel appears people are going to alter their behavior around him. They are going to freak out and most likely the ones closest to him when he appears are going to want to kiss his ass and shine his shoes and offer him a latte. You don't rebuke a miracle if you believe in it and love it.

Anyway, the half-angel would then make a choice of how to treat the people based on his nature. If the author writes angels are pure and people as impure, the half-angel should be somewhere inbetween. If he tries to be more angelic than human maybe he'll be snobbier and more divine. If he's more human maybe he'll be lazier or naughtier or not care about the prophecy. However, if he was a perfect balance of both and thus defied what the author wrote as canon, that would be stupid and qualify as a setting fuck up, because the setting doesn't permit him to act that way.

But few people fuck up their own canon, save for Stephenie Meyer and her retarded venom logic.

I gave up on fanfiction after my searches for good tidbits became long journeys resulting in nothing of value. I sometimes dabble in it, but it's more for myself than anybody else. I'd rather just draw my favorite characters than waste time making up a world.
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:iconsonia555:
sonia555 Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2009
I agree with most of these--Except that I like both Chistopher and Stephanie; Stab me if you wish--but I don't agree entirely on the fanfiction thing. Fan fiction isn't, and it never will be, to make money, or to try and outshine the original writer. I look at it in two ways:

1) It's just to have fun.

2) It's to write about things that would NEVER happen in the the actual show, book, whatever, but that you can see happening--See what I mean?
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:iconmaria-mar:
maria-mar Featured By Owner Dec 5, 2009
Loved reading this, those are some good points. Too bad journals can't be faved or i would ;)

Only one little side joke... Paolini writting IS fanfiction.
Well, he probably doesn't want anyone to notice it :P
But his fantasy world is no more than a bad copy of Tolkien's, and all the dragon/rider stuff is so obviously copied from Anne McCaffrey's books it makes me sad. I loved Paolini until i discover Anne McCaffrey... then i just had a big disappointment :(
Also, his trilogy was made into a "fourlogy" all of a sudden, so probably he suffers from mistake #3 too xD
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