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Mary Sue - SOS!

For those who want to break the habit.

Mary Sue Writing Clinic
Posting Access:
All Members , Moderated
This community is aimed at helping those who recognise the dreaded Mary Sue in their writing, or have been told that their work is fully of Mary Sues, and want to know what the hell to do about it. Feel free to post your fanfiction for critique and writing help.

This is a members only community, because trolling will only take away from the help and advice, and deter people from posting their work here helping to get a serious and honest opinion on it. Memebership is open to anyone interested in either helping authors improve, or improving their own work. Usually both, feel free to critique, as well as post your own work.

This community is maintained and moderated by lunariia please email Lunariia@yahoo.com with questions, comments or problems.

Please visit our sister communities

oc_analysis For the ultimate check on your character! They also offer a useful Beta-reading service.
marysues for all your Mary Sue needs! The fics posted here are generally an object lesson in what to avoid!

Community Guidelines

Posting work

If you wish to post your work here please follow the following guidelines, to make things easier for everyone. Not following them will most likely result in your post being deleted by a moderator. If your story was deleted, feel free to repost it following the guidelines. If you're not sure why your post was deleted, please feel free to send an email to a moderator asking why. Do not make another post asking why your work was deleted, this just clutters up the commmunity.

Please post the following information before you post the main text of your story:

- Title: If it hasn't got one, give it one. There's no excuse!

- Fandom (If appropriate):

- A link to the story, there obviously isn't space to post a whole story here.

- Age Rating: It's very important you do this. This community is NOT restricted by age, therefore any inappropriate material must be labelled as such.

- Explanation: A brief explanation as to the reason you're posting the work is also helpful, it will guide your readers into areas you think you need the most help with, and they can focus on this.

- Then post an extract from your story, behind an lj cut. If you're not sure how to do this, then check the livejournal FAQ which has details. The extract should be around a a page of your story, roughly 500 words. This isn't a strict limit, but try not to go too overboard.

If you post your story here, you are accepting that we're going to be honest with you. If your writing, grammar or anything else need work, you will be told so. Please don't insult people who tell you what they think, they are here to help you.

Reviewing and critique

Be honest with the author. This DOES NOT mean being rude about their work. This is not the place to poke fun at people's stories, or laugh at them for making mistakes, they have come here for help.

- Quote relevant passages to illustrate a fault in the authors work, and show them the kind of mistake they're making.

- Give postive critique as well as negative, this often helps negative points get noticed, and paid attention to.

- Where at all possible, give advice on how to avoid mistakes in the future by suggesting possible changes or ways they can re-write things to improve them

- Be prepared to discuss points you are making, but try to avoid letting it descend into a flamewar. They're unpleasant for everyone.

Frequently Asked Questions

What's a Mary Sue?

A Mary Sue is the name given to a powerful character, often the personification of an author inserted into a world where she outshines everyone and everything else. This can take the form of a drastically altered character from another authors work which has been altered to suit an authors purpose (usually beyond all recognition.

Mary Sues are universally despised, generally because they outshine people's much loved characters, and unfortunately trample all over the delicate universes they inhabit.

How do I know whether the character i've created is a Mary Sue?

Some links to the 'litmus test' thought up to make you ask yourself the tough questions!

The original litmus test: http://missy.reimer.com/library/marysue.html (written with Gargoyles in mind)

Why do people write Mary Sues?

For a lot of reasons. Mostly because they love the universe an author has created, and they enjoy writing about it. Writing yourself into a universe is an easy way to fulfill that desire, it's an important stepping stone for many authors, which is why so many of us do it. That's what this community is here for, to hopefully help authors on the way to ditching the crutch of writing with Mary Sue

Where can I post my work?

http://www.fanfiction.net hosts fanfiction from many many different fandoms, http://www.fictionpress.net is it's sister site for original work. They are good place to host your work if you don't have webspace of your own. Free webspace providers such as http://www.lycos.com, http://www.geocities.com and http://www.yahoo.com will also provide space to host your writing.

What about copyright issues?

Fanfiction is a very very grey area where Copyright is concerned. Generally if it's not for profit, it's considered acceptable. There are some authors, however, who really dislike the idea of their universes being written with without their consent, and for that reason sites like fanfiction.net will not allow people to post work based on their writing. Generally, if it can't be posted at fanfiction.net posting is here is probably not a good idea, although unless I receive a specific complaint, I won't stop anyone posting work from any fandom.

There is no grey area, however, when it comes to copying work and passing it off as your own. If you see work posted here that does not belong to the person who has posted it, please drop a line to the moderators who will look into the matter.

Useful Links

A general site with lots more information


Other varieties of litmus test for different fandoms

Sailor Moon: http://www.sailorpandora.com/marysue/intro.html
Harry Potter: http://www.theninemuses.net/hp/work/marysue.html
Star Wars: http://theaerie.www2.50megs.com/station/test.html