Author Topic: Mary Sue who?  (Read 737 times)

Offline eternaldream24

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Mary Sue who?
« on: December 26, 2011, 12:20:46 AM »
Ok I have a "situation" and I just want some opinions/comments on it.

I'm writing a YA fantasy and my situation involves my main character. I've had my chapters read by many people to try to get as much feedback as I can. (unbiased people not friends or family) and I would say 80-90% give me positive feedback about my main character and how I am portraying and developing her.

However, there is a small percentage of people who call her boring and a Mary Sue. I want to try to please everyone, but I know thats impossible. So what do I do...should I maybe try comprising by changing her character just a bit or should I just except that no matter what someone is going to hate what I write?

My intentions are that I want my MC to have a fairly happy normal life, because my book gets very tragic and I want to be able to pull that happiness away from her, and make her learn that life isn't always happy.
I didn't want to take the whole broken or messed up family/life route that other YA books take. I just wanted to do mine different.

Any thoughts on all of this?

Offline WordBird

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Re: Mary Sue who?
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2011, 12:33:26 AM »
Based on things I've read from Wolfe and Stephen Covey, my thought is:

Begin with the End in mind.

Offline Joe Mynhardt

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Re: Mary Sue who?
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2011, 12:42:07 AM »
I'd go with a character trait that makes her a bit more unique. It's the combination of traits that makes a person who they are, so if your character has traits that the reader can connect with as well as traits that make her unique, the readers will care for her. They'll want to know what happens to her. 
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Offline Laura H

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Re: Mary Sue who?
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2011, 07:52:29 AM »
It's the combination of traits that makes a person who they are, so if your character has traits that the reader can connect with as well as traits that make her unique, the readers will care for her.

Yes -that.  Make her relate-able.
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Wolfe

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Re: Mary Sue who?
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2011, 09:23:40 AM »
If I had to guess, just from what you offered, the reason why some found the character boring is because of the setup. Your first few chapters, if that, want to establish how nice and normal your character's life is before the tragedy, correct?

If so, then that's the problem.

The modern reader isn't going to give you a chance to get to the 'tragic' part if you open with prose that reads like happy, nuclear family.

Your character isn't a Mary-Sue, it's that your opening offers a dry setup. Readers these days, in majority, will give you a paragraph or page if they're generous before they decide to continue. The rest, including those in publishing, give you a sentence.

Your problem is structure. Look there to fix the issues your test readers have identified indirectly.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2011, 09:26:58 AM by Wolfe »

Offline PretzelGirl

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Re: Mary Sue who?
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2011, 03:49:25 AM »
Perhaps you could pepper hints throughout the book that something tragic is going to happen, or some clues, little things that show what is to come. Your character may not know this, but through the things she does and things that happen to her , the reader will pick up on it...

There has to always be something to move the story on, some tension, even if your character has a seemingly flawless life to beging with.
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