[LMB] OT: Judging a Mary Sue

Gwynne Powell gwynnepowell at hotmail.com
Fri Sep 20 07:18:49 BST 2013

> From: John Lennard <john.c.lennard at gmail.com>

> So, fossicking about in the great swamp that is 'so what constitutes a Mary
> Sue exactly, nowadays?', I came across an interesting test case, and would
> solicit opinions.

I find the whole Mary-Sue issue very inhibiting. I'll be rocking along
writing something I really like, then I'll start to wonder if it's all 
rather Mary-Sue, and then I toss it. 

> In a certain fic in a given fandom, an OC who is the principal pov suffers
> from a recognised RL disability, a medical condition that imposes
> constantly visible physical limitations, other medical problems, visible
> otherness from 'the norm', and psychological pressures on self-worth and
> identity arising from prejudice and incomprehension. The condition is not
> canonically present in the fictional world.
> The OC also has a very strong artistic talent, and finds high public
> success as an artist.
> As it transpires, the fic writer suffers from a similar though less extreme
> condition in RL, and in depicting what it means to live with it drew
> directly and consistently on personal experience -- though the fic writer
> and the OC are of different genders.
> Has the fic writer committed a Mary Sue?

The next question is - does being a Mary-Sue make it a bad work? Or
is it even more readable and interesting because it is based on something
the writer knows very well? 

What's the male equivalent? I've read plenty of works by make writers
that seem to be the bloke version. Some of them were great reads, 
some were irritating drivel. 

So, is it ok to commit Mary-Sue, or not?


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