Loading...
View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Tue May 21, 2019 2:49 am



Reply to topic  [ 14 posts ] 
 Characterization and the Sue/Stu (Discussion) 
Author Message
Sub-Administrator
User avatar

Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2007 1:56 pm
Posts: 2482
Location: Your Reflection. *snicker*
Gender: Female
Post Characterization and the Sue/Stu (Discussion) • Posted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 10:30 pm
This topic is for discussion, not writing.

For me, when writing a story, the largest parts are the characters and the dialogue; action, description, and plot often come second. Planning comes last. Yet, I'm weary recently. Very weary of the creature that creeps in the forgotten meadow under a half lit moon. A being of untold horror. A being of wraith and destruction. That will tear a well constructed (or poorly done) story to dust. The Mary Sue.

So, how does one avoid this and what are some examples that you can think of. Perhaps some that you have even made yourself. Why do you think this even happens in the first place? Also, feel free to bring up her dear companions, Gary Stu and Cannon Sue. I want to discuss characterization too and how to avoid this dreaded creature. :P

_________________
Image
“Asphixation, defenstration, breathing wool, decapitation. Drinking from a lava pool, driving drunk to look so cool. Crazy bees sting you a lot, eating any rats you caught - all these ways that you can die. Don't forget poisonous pie!" -Classic SmashQueen, Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:03 pm
There's always another secret... ~ Mistborn, Sanderson


Profile YIM
Moderator

Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:04 pm
Posts: 159
Gender: Female
Post Re: Characterization and the Sue/Stu (Discussion) • Posted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 2:25 pm
Ah, the Sue. The creature comes up with young writers who want everything "cool" in one character instead of balancing out a team. Or wish fulfillment.

When I was about...13 or 14 I would frequent fanfiction.net a lot and read a lot of stories. At one point, all I could find were Mary Sues in the Kingdom Hearts section. If they weren't Sues, then the stories started off as the same: Kingdom Hearts dream sequence, going to Traverse Town, and meeting Sora. As you can imagine, this gets tiring almost immediately. I say "almost" because hope still lingered. Until the OC had butterfly wings. After that, I gave up, and made my own OC that was the opposite of what I kept seeing (so a normal teenage gamer that doesn't influence a whole lot and is mainly along for the ride; any "power-ups" were unintentional, supernatural in a way, not permanent, and wound up hurting more than helping in the end although that never came up because of lost interest).

Avoiding an OC boils down to making the character relatable, realistic, flawed. Is there a power? Have it make sense for the world the character is in. No one is going to be a vampire at Hogwarts. ...There was more but due to multitasking at the moment I can't focus. XD;

If you want an example of someone who uses Sues in his work, try http://www.fanfiction.net/u/573595/ngrey651. There's even one story with Relationship Sue (that's really her name in there) and she's...just nuts. Played for laughs. Forgot what happened to her.

_________________
Image
"May the way of the Hero lead to the Triforce."
Spoiler: show
Image
* * *
Nightmare Inc. We kill your childhood.

And then some.
* * *
This space claimed by Mintle "Shelly" Turteetish! (Formerly known as Vaati.)

"Hello ladies. Look at your villain, now back to me. Now back at your villain, now back to me. Sadly, he isn't me, but if he stopped toying with you and started messing with the flow of time, he could attempt to look like me. Look down, back up, where are you? You're in the palace of my dreams, witnessing the man your villain can't look like. What's in your hand? Back at me. I have it. It's the Light Force, flowing out of your beloved princess. Look again. THE PRINCESS IS NOW DEKU NUTS. Anything is possible when your villain tries to look like me and not a pig-beast. I'm on a Helmaroc."

* * *
Pyro Geno.
"He came back from above. To set. Things. On. FIRE."
* * *
Image


Profile
Zora Guard
User avatar

Joined: Fri May 01, 2009 8:50 am
Posts: 122
Location: Right here of course. Where else?
Gender: None specified
Post Re: Characterization and the Sue/Stu (Discussion) • Posted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 1:05 am
Valid points Smoosh, more on your last point later in fact. :p

Personally, the fun for me in creating a character is not in giving them strengths, but in giving them particular flaws. For example, in designing a super hero, for every power I give them, I give them some HUGE drawback. Liiiike, lets say we want a hero who has super hearing. A flaw of that power is that perhaps they can't NOT hear superly, and as such are constantly bombarded by white noise from all directions. Perhaps then they are always wearing headphones and listening to loud music so they have something to focus on. This is actually a character from a past project of mine revolving around specifically inhibiting the powers of super heroes. =P BUT THAT'S BESIDE THE POINT. >_> I find that super powered characters can still be fun, especially if you play on that. A great example of that is Doctor Manhattan, who is basically omnipotent, but because of that he is withdrawn from the world and in fact can't use his powers in a way we would consider effective. Or you could just make the guy a huge prick so that people are already inclined to dislike his presence. :p OR you could just run with it for giggles, thank YOU K-Bo: http://www.interrobangstudios.com/potlu ... rip_id=988

THAT IS ALL.

_________________
Image
ImageImage


Profile
Moderator

Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:04 pm
Posts: 159
Gender: Female
Post Re: Characterization and the Sue/Stu (Discussion) • Posted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 12:49 pm
Speaking of OCs, depending on the setting you could have one with Sue traits but not be a Sue at all. For example: half breeds. In any genre you'll see these outcasts of society. They usually have something special about them that makes people either adore them or abhor them.

For example: Danny Fenton (Danny Phantom). Teenager with ghost powers. Pretty Sue-ish by itself in most settings, but if you add in the factors from his normal life (C-average student, unpopular, bumbling kid, etc.) along with having ghost-obsessed parents and not having full control over his powers, then it not only becomes entirely possible for him to have supernatural powers but be a relatable, realistic person. He's not a Sue anymore. Add in Vlad Masters and suddenly there's every possibility someone else at another time could become a halfa, making them less of a rarity. Add in the various ghosts we see and anything becomes possible. It actually lowers Danny's chances of being a Sue (and diminishes it altogether, depending on who you ask) as he tries to save his town on a regular basis.

In this, the setting Danny is placed in alongside the people he knows makes him less of a Sue and more of teen just trying to fit in. (Just a quick reference from memory, may have missed something.)

One of my own OCs who's a half-breed is a semi-Sue. Basically "human turns into fanged and clawed power house". Except that she can't control herself at all (although later on she gains some semblance of control) and this only occurs when near death. The lack of control is attributed to her lack of consciousness and her attitude towards being an outcast, the spawn of a human and a nearly forgotten race hated and feared by just about anyone who knows of them (long story that stretches back centuries). She hates what she is and hides it as best she can in fear of losing everybody close to her (deals with her backstory and the resulting mental need to protect others, not threaten), but because she doesn't accept who she is, and due to circumstances surrounding her usual source of power, she winds up with an alter ego of sorts who takes control at critical moments.

To offset the Sueness, she is not the only half-breed out there and when prompted, she says that if there were any other half-breeds out there (before she finds out there are), they would probably be dead or in hiding. As well, the "powerhouse" thing is a bit of an overstatement as she's only twice as strong as a fully grown human man, about the same strength as a fully grown [REDACTED] woman. (Just remembered that last bit. >_> Never did write down everything about the story this was planned for.)

As for the origin of the fangs and claws, I turned this OC into a half-breed around the time when Inuyasha was popular in America. At the time, I wanted an excuse to have unnaturally colored hair as a norm in some places of the world I had created (this was mainly so my OC could have unnaturally colored hair and get away with it). The answer was to create a new race. While now days there's less of a chance of a village of rainbow heads to exist in the world, the strange transformations remain. Why? (Story spoilers ahead, really have to write this out one day.)
Spoiler: show
Because the enemies this OC faces end up being insanely powerful to the point where a finger flicked from 50 feet away could throw her into a wall. Again, it relates to a story in the far past.

So another way someone can make a Sue is if a strong source of influence persuades the creator to change things up. :P

(Terribly sorry for rambling, it has been years since I've mentioned this OC, I'm in a bit of a rush, and I can't shut up.)

_________________
Image
"May the way of the Hero lead to the Triforce."
Spoiler: show
Image
* * *
Nightmare Inc. We kill your childhood.

And then some.
* * *
This space claimed by Mintle "Shelly" Turteetish! (Formerly known as Vaati.)

"Hello ladies. Look at your villain, now back to me. Now back at your villain, now back to me. Sadly, he isn't me, but if he stopped toying with you and started messing with the flow of time, he could attempt to look like me. Look down, back up, where are you? You're in the palace of my dreams, witnessing the man your villain can't look like. What's in your hand? Back at me. I have it. It's the Light Force, flowing out of your beloved princess. Look again. THE PRINCESS IS NOW DEKU NUTS. Anything is possible when your villain tries to look like me and not a pig-beast. I'm on a Helmaroc."

* * *
Pyro Geno.
"He came back from above. To set. Things. On. FIRE."
* * *
Image


Profile
Sub-Administrator
User avatar

Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2007 1:56 pm
Posts: 2482
Location: Your Reflection. *snicker*
Gender: Female
Post Re: Characterization and the Sue/Stu (Discussion) • Posted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 9:33 pm
Hmmm, I think that for the character you mention it would be better to cut out the alter-ego all together. Extreme emotion and extreme situations often bring out either the worst or best or hidden in people, she doesn't need the excuse of an alter-ego of sorts, she could just be herself...and I mean, all of herself. Even the things she hates. I'd say more, but I'm not sure how coherent my points are...really tired. :p

_________________
Image
“Asphixation, defenstration, breathing wool, decapitation. Drinking from a lava pool, driving drunk to look so cool. Crazy bees sting you a lot, eating any rats you caught - all these ways that you can die. Don't forget poisonous pie!" -Classic SmashQueen, Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:03 pm
There's always another secret... ~ Mistborn, Sanderson


Profile YIM
Administrator
User avatar

Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2007 2:19 pm
Posts: 4427
Location: Kanada
Gender: Male
Post Re: Characterization and the Sue/Stu (Discussion) • Posted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 3:14 am
Beyond the heinous creation of Twilight, I have not really experienced many published Sues, not that I'm much of an avid reader anymore. In my experience an author seems to have to TRY to create that sort of 'flawless' character, rather than accidentally do so out of ignorance. We all know its rampant in Fan Fiction, but I blame that mostly on the maturity level of the individuals writing them, age doesn't have everything to do with it. My first entrance into writing was fan fiction, but once I reached a certain maturity in high school I abandoned it for my own personal creations.

LiB's comic link seems to be the common interpretation of Sues, even if a bit exaggerated (but that's where all the fun comes from!). I also recall Tetromino favouriting a sort of flow-chart-esque comic on DeviantArt or somewhere... Anyhow, it is in cases like that which convince me that making a Sue is an artform, that making one accidentally always seems too difficult.

Now, I'm not sure if I've ever made my own before, as I have not done very much personal writing that has lasted that long. In general, my characters are average intelligence, have average physical traits, and are more of a commentary for the reader than an actual person. I do provide them with A character, attempting to make them as human as possible. A common fault in my (mostly) male protagonists, is alcoholism (not influenced from any life experiences though), needs for anger management, and bouts of depression/suicidal tendencies. I seem to write characters you either hate or pity.

Despite nearing 4 years of Forever Forgotten, I also do not know how my characters come off in that series. Mervil was created mostly out of my pubescent disdain of the world, though was to start out as a bit of a kinder individual. He carries an omnipotence and an omniscience about him, but he's been blinded by a need for vengeance, and silenced by bitter sorrow. BLAH BLAH BLAH. Basically, he's a very powerful sorcerer who has anger problems and anger control issues (see previous points), and who has used his powers at great consequence. I would have to rely on my fellow writers/readers to give me their opinion, because I've tried to make him not a Sue. :P

Forever Forgotten To Dust features a very conscious effort to make the antithesis to Mervil. Klaus IS in a place of power, politically and spiritually, but is marked by his stubbornness and need to prove himself to his superiors and the townspeople. He refuses proper treatment of a debilitating injury, content with living his life with it, etc. His personality is rather calm and collected, feeling remorse for his actions and discontent with his position; but, again, he has a biting temper.

But rather than blab on, I'll just end it here by saying that most of my secondary/tertiary characters are pretty flat and used mostly for their necessity and not much else :p.

_________________
Image Image Image
It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.

-Carl Sagan


Profile WWW
Moderator

Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:04 pm
Posts: 159
Gender: Female
Post Re: Characterization and the Sue/Stu (Discussion) • Posted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 1:48 pm
Tetromino wrote:
Hmmm, I think that for the character you mention it would be better to cut out the alter-ego all together. Extreme emotion and extreme situations often bring out either the worst or best or hidden in people, she doesn't need the excuse of an alter-ego of sorts, she could just be herself...and I mean, all of herself. Even the things she hates. I'd say more, but I'm not sure how coherent my points are...really tired. :p

Yeah. There's quite a bit I never ironed out so there's a lot of loose ends and ideas that thrown out (bye alter ego haha!). The alter ego was something that popped up in an RP some years ago and I never got around to to addressing it in-story. <_<; I will admit, it's easier to have her be one and the same only...unaware of what's happening.

@Zeldaeinstein - Still have to read FF at some point. >_>

The problem with Sues is that they've soiled the word "fan-fiction". Usually when people hear the word they become disgusted and want others to move onto original works. (Haters and lovers for both sides and it can get nasty.) Well fan-fiction is a sort of stepping stone to get to original creations for some, and it can also be a fun hobby. It can get boring though once you've outgrown a fandom or simply lose interest. Depending on the person and their experiences, they may wind up creating some pretty good OCs or continue to resort to Sues.

Also, for more Sue-ness try House of Night. "Vampyre" story with flat characters and a stupid plot. Ugh.


If I may direct attention to this livejournal http://zelda-queen.livejournal.com/ zelda_queen sporks a lot of Sue fics from fanfiction to published works (thus how I know of House of Night). If you want to see someone point out the many flaws of a Sue as well as poke fun of the stupid stuff, give her LJ a try.
/ramble

_________________
Image
"May the way of the Hero lead to the Triforce."
Spoiler: show
Image
* * *
Nightmare Inc. We kill your childhood.

And then some.
* * *
This space claimed by Mintle "Shelly" Turteetish! (Formerly known as Vaati.)

"Hello ladies. Look at your villain, now back to me. Now back at your villain, now back to me. Sadly, he isn't me, but if he stopped toying with you and started messing with the flow of time, he could attempt to look like me. Look down, back up, where are you? You're in the palace of my dreams, witnessing the man your villain can't look like. What's in your hand? Back at me. I have it. It's the Light Force, flowing out of your beloved princess. Look again. THE PRINCESS IS NOW DEKU NUTS. Anything is possible when your villain tries to look like me and not a pig-beast. I'm on a Helmaroc."

* * *
Pyro Geno.
"He came back from above. To set. Things. On. FIRE."
* * *
Image


Profile
Hylian Swordsman
User avatar

Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 5:00 pm
Posts: 407
Location: Candyland!
Gender: None specified
Post Re: Characterization and the Sue/Stu (Discussion) • Posted: Tue Aug 23, 2011 12:15 pm
I think everyone who's participated in this topic would enjoy fanfiction from The One Called Demetra. She's a zero-tolerence fanfiction writer on FF.net. She adresses everything from Sues to Grammar to Weeaboos. In one of her stories, the LOTR characters get fed up with all the Sues cluttering up their world and go on a massive witch/sue hunt. In another, a stereotypical teenage girl enters the universe of fanfiction and is forced to play the underdog in an uncivil war. Hilarious and awesome. She also despises Twilight, which increases her awesome-level by about 207 points. Here's a link: http://www.fanfiction.net/u/1415541/The ... ed_Demetra

_________________
Image
‘You don't need to treat me like that. I'm not crazy, okay? I'm totally and completely sane. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go blow up this dead body.’ -Wash
“Your toast has been burned, and no amount of scraping will remove the black stuff!”
"...It's not going so well. I lit myself on fire." -Caboose.


Profile
Sub-Administrator
User avatar

Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2007 1:56 pm
Posts: 2482
Location: Your Reflection. *snicker*
Gender: Female
Post Re: Characterization and the Sue/Stu (Discussion) • Posted: Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:56 pm
@Smoosh: I have a personal request that you read To Dust (at least) because I'm a little scare about characterization in it on my part and going in the Sue category with some of the characters. Sometimes, I feel when authors try for interesting characters, we try to hard and end up with a Sue in spite of all our efforts or that people who don't like certain characters will label them as Sues. This happens in Fanfiction/(even regular fiction), especially with female characters who people don't like.

I tend to think that when someone doesn't like a character and can give actually reasons, that means they're well written, but yes, I would like some advice. Not editing. I re-edit things all the time. :p

@everyone: Really, MS's have kind of expanded beyond that definition of "flawless". Some people expand it to character's with a "dark and depressing past" and getting all the caste to fall in love with them, respect the character, and/or befriend him or her. But, is that necessarily a Sue-trait or can Sue traits still be used to make a good character?

_________________
Image
“Asphixation, defenstration, breathing wool, decapitation. Drinking from a lava pool, driving drunk to look so cool. Crazy bees sting you a lot, eating any rats you caught - all these ways that you can die. Don't forget poisonous pie!" -Classic SmashQueen, Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:03 pm
There's always another secret... ~ Mistborn, Sanderson


Profile YIM
Sheikah Elder
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:41 am
Posts: 1043
Location: Terra Australis
Gender: Male
Post Re: Characterization and the Sue/Stu (Discussion) • Posted: Fri Aug 26, 2011 8:10 am
On the FF note, Will (from To Dust) very nearly comes over as a Gary Stu if not for the fact that his "tragic past" makes him do some kinda jerkish things before having what is pretty much a failing moment of suck in the most recent chapter.
Spoiler: show
He tries to kill the guy he blames for everything, which makes him fall out with the only people who actually liked him. The first of them who do trust him almost kills him for it too.

I didn't really notice the undesireable tendencies at first cause I had planned for that failing from the start. He may come over as such to people who just start reading it though.

It's an interesting note of how closely one can come to the line before realising it.

_________________
"The man that cannot visualize a horse galloping on a tomato is an idiot." - Andre Breton


Profile
Sub-Administrator
User avatar

Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2007 1:56 pm
Posts: 2482
Location: Your Reflection. *snicker*
Gender: Female
Post Re: Characterization and the Sue/Stu (Discussion) • Posted: Fri Aug 26, 2011 11:10 am
Accept that I wouldn't think of Will as a GS. Someone will probably hate his guts for most of To Dust. Kaz hates traders...and if your character gets treated like dirt for awhile, don't be surprised. I can't see anyone but Tap and Daedus being more than tolerating for awhile, for the sake of realism and all that good stuff in the story writing can. :P

_________________
Image
“Asphixation, defenstration, breathing wool, decapitation. Drinking from a lava pool, driving drunk to look so cool. Crazy bees sting you a lot, eating any rats you caught - all these ways that you can die. Don't forget poisonous pie!" -Classic SmashQueen, Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:03 pm
There's always another secret... ~ Mistborn, Sanderson


Profile YIM
Sheikah Elder
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2009 12:41 am
Posts: 1043
Location: Terra Australis
Gender: Male
Post Re: Characterization and the Sue/Stu (Discussion) • Posted: Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:06 pm
Yes Tetromino, but you already have a good understanding of his character and a few things that aren't said at first. Anyway, yeah he isn't but he comes close if you only look at one part of him was what I was indicating. Fortunately however character flaws are a big part of FF, and I think that it's actually hard to really Sue/Stu a character in that if you're writing for the setting properly. In fact when you think about it a few things that may seem suey can work well in FF, like immortality.

_________________
"The man that cannot visualize a horse galloping on a tomato is an idiot." - Andre Breton


Profile
Sub-Administrator
User avatar

Joined: Tue Mar 20, 2007 1:56 pm
Posts: 2482
Location: Your Reflection. *snicker*
Gender: Female
Post Re: Characterization and the Sue/Stu (Discussion) • Posted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 4:36 pm
Time to put in the SUGAR...errr...I mean, change the focus of the topic. Yeah.

Let's talk about Character Planning...or how does character b. become who they are later in your stories and/or you plan out a character (arch). This is the 'why' a character does what they do or how they become the character they are today. ;P

_________________
Image
“Asphixation, defenstration, breathing wool, decapitation. Drinking from a lava pool, driving drunk to look so cool. Crazy bees sting you a lot, eating any rats you caught - all these ways that you can die. Don't forget poisonous pie!" -Classic SmashQueen, Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:03 pm
There's always another secret... ~ Mistborn, Sanderson


Profile YIM
Moderator

Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:04 pm
Posts: 159
Gender: Female
Post Re: Characterization and the Sue/Stu (Discussion) • Posted: Sun Sep 25, 2011 6:01 pm
The one thing about Character Planning/Development is that you have to treat the character as if they were real. Suethors see characters as idols or things and don't take into consideration of how the character would feel if, say, their home burnt down. All the Suethors see is a fantasy that must not be interrupted by any means. In the infamous "My Inner Life" self-insert (probably taboo among pleasant company, but you guys knew this would be brought up), Link has come home from a war and shows no signs of shell shock. All this does is put him and the self-insert (more so of the latter) up on a pedestal.

In my old story (let's call this Project Arc for reference sakes; this is the same one with the half-breed OC), I got into the protagonist's head by asking one question. Why? This is what it all broke down to one day over half a decade ago.

Spoiler: show
Why does [OC] put herself in danger so much?
Because she wants to keep her friends safe.

Why does she want to keep them safe?
Because she doesn't want to lose them.

Why doesn't she want to lose them?
Because she doesn't want to be alone.

Why doesn't she want to be alone?
Because she lost almost everything once. She doesn't want to lose anybody ever again.

Once you get into the reason(s) behind what a character does, it's easier to write them. So this half-breed OC will put herself in danger without hesitation if somebody she cares about is in danger. Now you have to think about the repercussions. This particular OC keeps much to herself, pouring herself into work. Add in her heritage (an unnatural half-breed, the other "half" of the genetic donor having horrible rumors and truths that still circulate in some towns and thus making her a social stigma) and the responsibilities she has (like leadership duties and stress from learning that anyone near her is going to be targeted by the big bad), and you have a young woman with a lot of inner turmoil. She isolates herself from others while pushing herself to her limits. She becomes a powerful leader but at the cost of worrying others and nearly dying on what seems to be a yearly basis.

At least, that's what I can remember off the top of my head. I may be forgetting some details.

Tetromino, to generally answer your question: Characters become who they are based on experiences and outlooks on life as well as how they feel/react around others. Taking a realistic look at a character can make all the difference.

Again, off the top of my head so I may be neglecting some info.

_________________
Image
"May the way of the Hero lead to the Triforce."
Spoiler: show
Image
* * *
Nightmare Inc. We kill your childhood.

And then some.
* * *
This space claimed by Mintle "Shelly" Turteetish! (Formerly known as Vaati.)

"Hello ladies. Look at your villain, now back to me. Now back at your villain, now back to me. Sadly, he isn't me, but if he stopped toying with you and started messing with the flow of time, he could attempt to look like me. Look down, back up, where are you? You're in the palace of my dreams, witnessing the man your villain can't look like. What's in your hand? Back at me. I have it. It's the Light Force, flowing out of your beloved princess. Look again. THE PRINCESS IS NOW DEKU NUTS. Anything is possible when your villain tries to look like me and not a pig-beast. I'm on a Helmaroc."

* * *
Pyro Geno.
"He came back from above. To set. Things. On. FIRE."
* * *
Image


Profile
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Reply to topic   [ 14 posts ] 

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by STSoftware for PTF.