Friday, March 30, 2012

Definition: Mary Sue-ism

I would like to say that yes, a very good example of this is Twilight. In case you were wondering.

Mary Sue-ism is when your main character, or any other character, is portrayed as "perfect" or that, against all odds, everyone is completely in love with that character. No matter how horribly flawed, idiotic, unintelligent, clumsy, unaware, oblivious, and downright ridiculous that character may seem. *coughBellacough* 

(You know what, I think I might have to have a post that is dedicated to all the things wrong with Bella that Meyer did not intend. I really should.)

The short and sweet definition from Wikipedia goes as following...

A fictional character, usually female and especially in fanfic, whose implausible talents and likeableness weaken the story.

I know when you hear the words "Mary Sue" you immediately think of the main love interest of our very own Spiderman, right? Or at least that's what I think of. The term "Mary Sue" actually originated not from the popular Spiderman comics and movies, but of a Star Trek fan-fic.

The Urban Dictionary describes a Mary Sue as the following....

A female character who is so perfect that she is annoying. The name originated in a very short Star Trek story that mocked the sort of female characters who showed up in fanfiction. It usually refers to original female characters put into fanfiction, but can refer to any character.

Mary-Sues are characters who are usually extraordinarily gorgeous, amazingly talented, unusually powerful, and exceedingly attractive to whoever the author has a crush on. They often possess ridiculously fancy and pretentious first names -- Angel, Raven, Jewel, Lorelei Bianca Julia Marizza Snape -- and are very, very annoying. 
 I love the urban dictionary sometimes, I really do. Especially times like now when I can't think of a better way to put it.

The obvious example is Bella from Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. Just another reason I would not recommend that book to anyone. No matter what this girl does, everyone loves her. She has guys drooling (sometimes quite literally) after her every step. No one gets mad at her. She's literally "perfect"!

Before I go off on that soapbox, let's rein in the topic. Bella's only flaw *ahem* make that the only flaw given to her on purpose would be clumsiness. I know we did a big circle here, but my point is that Bella Swan is a Mary Sue. Points against her: everyone loves her, she's some sort of freak of nature (in more ways than one, of course, but I mean with the vampire-y powers), everyone loves her, she gets good grades, makes friends easy (?), and even smells good!?

Mary Sues sever any really connections that could offer between themselves and the readers. The only thing they can give is an idea of "perfection" that the readers will never achieve, and that bond is fragile. It's like having friends just to get a hold of their money. First off, it's not nice. Secondly, it's not real friendship and it won't last.

The point is don't write these "perfect" people into your story. They drag the story down. Here's a great resource on Mary Sue's It is mainly related to Mary Sues in fan-fiction, but it can relate to novel writing too. There's some great advice there on how to avoid writing them.

Hope I cleared some things up. Have a nice spring and keep writing!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Writing Advice

Well, this is a very broad topic. I'm going to make this pretty general.

A list of things you SHOULD/MUST do:

1. Never give up. This is big - if you can't finish it, move on or change it, but don't give up on your writing unless you've been brainwashed by zombies to hate writing.
2. Keep your characters interesting and real. I (and 98% of the rest of humanity) can't stand flat, boring characters.
3. Include a background to your story; not just setting, but why things are as they are. Include who, what, when, where, why, and how. You can't just put what, when, and where.
4. Love your work. Have fun. Find beauty in the words. Even in writer's block, look at the simple beauty of language and writing, and smile.
5. Let your dreams be just as real as your writing. Let your emotions be just as real as your characters. Let your family and friends be just as real as your imagination.

A list of things you SHOULD NOT do if you value your life and/or self-esteem:

1. Don't be obviously cliche. It's like a crutch: it's okay in the first draft, but eventually your writing has to stand up on its own without looking cliche.
2. Don't let zombies brainwash you into hating writing. That's a tragedy worse than anything Shakespeare could have come up with.
3. Never plagorize. That's very uncreative, and people will catch you and tie you to a stake and leave you for the wild beasties of the night. *Ahem* Or at least thunk you over the head with your book.
4. Don't be normal, and don't let your character be, either. I went to a church event back in January, called Acquire the Fire - the entire theme was "Normal is Not Enough!" Live by those words.
5. Never, for the sake of all that's good and pure, put the almost right word. There's a big difference between skinny and emaciated. Between indigo and dark blue. Between strolling and sprinting.

In other words, be creative and fun. Love your writing and never let it go. Don't be unfun, uncreative, and a work-stealer.

Another few things:

Read a lot. And don't stick to just one genre; love general fiction, fantasy, science-fiction, romance, paranormal, adventure, dystopian, YA novels, children's books, adult series. Love nonfiction and facts and research. Love the sounds the words make. Love it all, until you feel like it'll drown you if you don't write/type them into a whole new existence.

Experiment with your writing. I admit, I have trouble on this one - but playing it safe leads to a boring book. If you add something new, it interests you and the reader. Add a crazy character! Change your plot drastically! Turn your MC into a unicorn! Make it take place in space instead of New York! Change it from first person to third person! Make it in future tense!

Put yourself in your character's shoes. Unless they need them, of course. And I'm not asking you to go kill a dragon or fall in love with a vampire (unless he actually drinks human blood and doesn't sparkle). I just want you to imagine doing them, and how you'd feel. We will know you ignored this advice if your character is happy and laughing in a hostage negotiation (unless they're hyped up on drugs).

Push through to the end of the book. I know I said earlier you can move on, but that's kind of relative. I mean, if you change the plot enough because your original idea didn't work, didn't you already move on and create a whole new book? The content of your story is a delicate balance; when you make a major change, you've already made a major change to the ending. You've made a major change to that entire world.

This is pretty good for improvisation. (I really should think more before I post these posts.) Anyways, have a blessed week and happy writing! <3

Monday, March 26, 2012

New Things to Come

We're coming back into our routine. You didn't give up on us have you? :D

Now that we're back, we're bringing some new events, new people, and of course, more writing! What to look for in the coming weeks:

Blogfests - Yes, I've always wanted to host one and here we are!

More Published Authors - More authors to aspire to and more writing advice to keep you going along.

New Design - Change can be good, and so we're changing our blog design. I know we'll miss the coffee

New Writing - Guest writers, interviews, guest posts, stories, and so much more!

Thank you guys so much for your support and keep writing!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Well, It's been Forever.

It's been a long, long time since anyone posted, so I've taken it upon myself. And since I haven't planned anything, I'll give you a few resources for when you're stuck.

A bunch of random generators, for naming, setting, magical needs. :D

Because dictionaries are useful. I'm pretty sure you don't need this one, though.

This person has an entire collection of entries on emotions, settings, weather, color, etc. Very useful.

Almost Out of Ink - an awesome artist. You can get inspiration for your writing from sharpie drawings.

I used to this other, awesome website (I think it was on blogspot, but I really don't know) on burns and other injuries. Another place you can try is

but I can't tell you which of those links are helpful, because I haven't checked some of them out yet. The obvious ones (i.e. google, wikipedia) are good, of course, but a few I've never heard of.

So, I hope you find this useful. I don't really have anything else to say, so I'll just leave you with a random quote:
"It is hard enough to remember my opinions, without also remembering my reasons for them!"
-Friedrich Nietzsche

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