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  1. #1
    Center Back imzadi35's Avatar
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    Daniel Got a question...

    Hey everyone! Got a quick question for you all. I've written three novels about Stargate SG1, but someone told me the first one is a 'Mary-Sue' type of story. My question is what does that mean, and how do I fix my story so it isn't like that? Thanks in advance!
    Turas maith, slán abhaile
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    Sidney Freedman from M*A*S*H: "Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice, pull down your pants and slide on the ice."

  2. #2
    Attacking Midfielder Gatefan1976's Avatar
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    Default Re: Got a question...

    ALL THANKS TO THE WONDERFUL CREATOR OF THIS SIG GO TO R.I.G.
    A lie is just a truth that hasn't gone through conversion therapy yet

  3. #3
    Center Back imzadi35's Avatar
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    Default Re: Got a question...

    I checked on the link you gave me, but I didn't quite understand it. Sorry!
    Turas maith, slán abhaile
    (Safe Journey, Safe Home)

    John 3:16
    Sidney Freedman from M*A*S*H: "Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice, pull down your pants and slide on the ice."

  4. #4
    Attacking Midfielder Gatefan1976's Avatar
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    Default Re: Got a question...

    ALL THANKS TO THE WONDERFUL CREATOR OF THIS SIG GO TO R.I.G.
    A lie is just a truth that hasn't gone through conversion therapy yet

  5. #5
    Goalkeeper thekillman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Got a question...

    Quote Originally Posted by imzadi35 View Post
    Hey everyone! Got a quick question for you all. I've written three novels about Stargate SG1, but someone told me the first one is a 'Mary-Sue' type of story. My question is what does that mean, and how do I fix my story so it isn't like that? Thanks in advance!
    It means your character is too perfect. How you fix it is largely down to the story you want to tell. Mary sue stories can be good if it's a plot point, e.g. One Punch Man is about a man too powerful for his own good and is the ideal hero, so nobody actually believes what he does and everyone else runs with the credit. His own life is unfulfilling because nothing challenges him. And he doesn't fight his own injustices because it doesn't matter to him. If the day is saved, then that's fine.

    On the other hand, if you want to change it, i think the simplest way is to ask yourself, "how would an average joe react". A hero might gladly defeat anything on his path, but a regular person would likely avoid as many fights as he can. Disturbing experiences don't just go away. The character may recognize he has no stakes in this fight and may just abandon it.

  6. #6
    Full Back StargateMillennium's Avatar
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    Default Re: Got a question...

    Another thing to think about when it comes to Mary Sues and how to avoid them is how does the world interact with them. Often times the world is simply meant to serve their needs. The main characters that usually play the hero love them or hold them in high regard. Any one who dares defy the character is immediately bad as only bad people could dislike that character and will either suffer a terrible death or go through some sort of revelation that will cause them to love that character in the end like everyone else. Their skill sets are often far reaching and they can do just about everything to some degree. Any mistakes have little to no consequence. Events in the plot are simply meant to forward and advance how great these characters are.

    Alice in the RE films. All the characters from the game love her and whenever a fight breaks out, even if they hold their own at first, they always end up getting beaten then saved by Alice who then proceeds to finish the job. The world serves to show how awesome she is.

    Bella from Twilight. Practically every guy in the series is in love with her. Bella often makes stupid decisions that put herself in danger and every other character would proceed to put themselves in harms way for the sole purpose of protecting her for no reason aside form that they like her for reasons never told. The world serves her, everyone that isn't a bad guy loves her, and even her powers are strong enough to contend with everyone else's.

    Rey from...I'm gonna get flak for this...Rey from Force Awakens. She is probably the least Mary Sue and has more character than the previous two I've mentioned but she definitely shows a lot of the traits. She somehow has every skill in the book to the point she can outfly TIE fighters, go toe to toe in a lightsaber battle, she can already use the force to the point where she's ordering troopers around, she's an ingenious mechanic. All the original cast loves her: Hans, Chewie, Leia. THey do balance her out a bit by giving her both a learning arc and a plot point where she doesn't even want to deal with her force powers.


    Often times people avoid Mary Sues by creating "weaknesses" but I find that's an oversimplification of things. Characters don't have weaknesses. They have traits that cause problems under certain conditions. A leader that makes sure to listen to all sides could be secretly insecure and terrible at making their own judgement so when they lose their subordinates to take advise from, she ends up making bad decision. A scientist who is ingenious and highly analytical may be cold to other people to the point of even hated because he sees numbers, not people. What trait does your character have that could get on the nerves of either the reader or other characters? What skills do they not have and what positions are they sometimes put that their skill is bad in? What limits do they have on these skill sets? Are these limits actually shown?


    Stargate spin off series: Stargate Millennium
    https://www.fanfiction.net/u/5580179/StargateMillennium


  7. #7
    Goalkeeper thekillman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Got a question...

    Quote Originally Posted by StargateMillennium View Post
    Rey from...I'm gonna get flak for this...Rey from Force Awakens. She is probably the least Mary Sue and has more character than the previous two I've mentioned but she definitely shows a lot of the traits. She somehow has every skill in the book to the point she can outfly TIE fighters, go toe to toe in a lightsaber battle, she can already use the force to the point where she's ordering troopers around, she's an ingenious mechanic. All the original cast loves her: Hans, Chewie, Leia. THey do balance her out a bit by giving her both a learning arc and a plot point where she doesn't even want to deal with her force powers.
    She's no less of a Sue than Luke though, a guy who was a farmer learns to use the Force in an afternoon and flies a fighter with such skill that only he can make the impossible hit, then makes the impossible hit by using the Force rather than his instruments even though he struggled to hit practice bots with his eyes closed.

    My point is, protagonist weirdness comes with the Star Wars genre. Fans have put in a ton of work to retroactively make sense of Star Wars, but we see Luke on screen running around with Yoda on his back and suddenly he's holding his own against Darth Vader. Rey on the other hand struggled with a heavily injured man who by all rights shouldn't even be alive, as Chewie's gun was shown one-shotting people.

    Then there's anakin, who flew Podracers as a chilld even though humans shouldn't be able to, was liked by everyone and by accident saved an entire planet because he landed an impossible critical hit.

    This is why people get flak for saying she's a Sue, since Luke and Anakin were basically ones themselves.

    Also, i think JJ even said that it's basically Star Wars tradition to start a trilogy with a strong force user on a desert planet, who gets dragged into the plot by droids.

  8. #8
    You call that a glowstick?
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    Default Re: Got a question...

    ANother key for Mary Sue/Marty Stu....are they a long lost relative or friend? Daniels sister? Sam’s roommate? Jack’s cousin?

    Do they selflessly sacrifice to save the team who then go OTT to praise them? Are they just too good?

    One could argue that Daniel and even Sam in the early seasons had the mary sue thing going on.

    WHen you read the character do you think ‘yeah, the author is inserting themselves into this story’?

    Are they Colonel Makepeace that is there when he needs to be there? Or are they virtual nobodies that pop put of nowhere to become the center of the story? Do our heroes secretly admire the new character?

  9. #9
    Center Back imzadi35's Avatar
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    Default Re: Got a question...

    My character is an original AU character. If you'd like to read some of it so you see what I mean, here's a link to the story...
    https://spauli1.wordpress.com/fiction/second-chances/
    Turas maith, slán abhaile
    (Safe Journey, Safe Home)

    John 3:16
    Sidney Freedman from M*A*S*H: "Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice, pull down your pants and slide on the ice."

  10. #10
    Full Back StargateMillennium's Avatar
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    Default Re: Got a question...

    Alright, I just recently started it so I'm barely a quarter of the way through, but I'm beginning to understand what's going on.

    I'm going to revise my definition of Mary Sue is essentially a character that the story is telling the reader to like. A character is just a body with a history and a bunch of personality traits and motivations affected by the history. It then is up to the reader to figure out whether or not they like the person or not. A Mary Sue or Gary Stu is intentionally presented in a light that pretty much tells the reader you must like that person.

    This is where self-inserts come in. While not all Sues are self inserts and not all self inserts are Sues, that is what usually ends up happening. The writer obviously views themself in a good light. So their story casts a good light on them and tells the reader to love them.

    This is done in a number of ways. In action films, they often have every skill available. I read a Mass Effect story where the OC was combat, tech, and biotic (keep in mind everyone in ME could only be two) and was performing on par with Tali, Wrex, and Liara at all times. They rarely ever make mistakes and the mistakes they do make have little to no consequence.
    In the romance genre, every person loves the character to often extreme amounts with often no reasons and the only people who don't like them are bad in nature. I mentioned Bella from Twilight earlier.
    Now, a few other things you often find in other Sues. They often have a tragic back story. They often have some or many defining features such as a unique name or extreme physical trait that makes them stand out.
    Also, as part of that constant positive light, all the characters of the show tend to like them/hold them in absolute praise.

    Before I move on, just remember that being a Sue is essentially a spectrum. The original term was created for a Star Trek fanfic where the OC named Mary Sue (where the term comes from), fits all these to a T. Alice and Bella I consider to be on the extreme spectrum. Rey I consider on the less extreme spectrum. Wesley Crusher I consider to be in the middle. And labeling a person a Sue isn't exactly clear cut. Lots of good characters have tragic backstories. Lots of good characters have a notable physical trait. Lots of good characters have a wide array of skills.


    Alright, keep these in mind. Now on to your story. While I don't consider Caitlin a Mary Sue, she does possessive some of the mentioned traits. She has a very notable physical trait (absurdly blue eyes), she has a tragic backstory (no memory of where she came from or of her mother or her mother's fate), and she is loved by at least one of the characters. As far as I've gotten, she's only met Daniel but he's become infatuated with her to the point he's thinking about her even when they're warning a planet of Ori invasion.


    Stargate spin off series: Stargate Millennium
    https://www.fanfiction.net/u/5580179/StargateMillennium


  11. #11
    Center Back imzadi35's Avatar
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    Default Re: Got a question...

    What, if any, changes should I make? What do you think of it otherwise?
    Turas maith, slán abhaile
    (Safe Journey, Safe Home)

    John 3:16
    Sidney Freedman from M*A*S*H: "Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice, pull down your pants and slide on the ice."

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Got a question...

    IMO, you might rethink the tragic backstory, particularly if the plot doesn't depend on not knowing what happened to her mother.

    Characters don't have to be orphaned (or otherwise family-free) to be heroic. I mean, as an adult, how much does your mother figure into your life? Does she have to be dead to be an inspiration?

    Seaboe
    If you're going to allow yourself to be offended by a cat, you might as well just pack it in -- Steven Brust

  13. #13
    Center Back imzadi35's Avatar
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    Default Re: Got a question...

    I had originally planned the story to be a one-book story, but as I was writing the first book, I felt it was too long of a tale to be just one book. So I put it into three stories, each about 240 pages or more. SO the story about her mother comes up in the second story moreso than the first one. However for the first story where we meet Caitlin O'Brien, what do I do to make it not so Mary-Sue? Thanks in advance!
    Turas maith, slán abhaile
    (Safe Journey, Safe Home)

    John 3:16
    Sidney Freedman from M*A*S*H: "Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice, pull down your pants and slide on the ice."

  14. #14
    Full Back StargateMillennium's Avatar
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    Default Re: Got a question...

    Here's a question. Who calls her a Mary Sue? Reviewers? Friends you showed this to?

    I ask because I believe the biggest issue is how she is presented. Admittedly, I'm still only a quarter way through so things may change down the line. But at the beginning, she is a heavy focus of the story despite having a limited role. I'm guessing she plays a heavier role later. I would suggest starting her light and slowly have her come into focus.

    Also, there is a heavy focus on her physical trait rather than her personality. I mean, they talk about her eyes a lot. And not only that, almost every time they talk about her eyes, they have to mention the color. "I can't get her eyes out of my mind" vs "I can't get her blue eyes out of my mind." (Though, I have to wonder how blue could they be to stand out like that. I mean, my iris is as black as my pupil and people don't really notice.)

    Also, I would say try to have her personality stand out a bit more. There's too much emphasis on her physical. I like Mr Plinkett's challenge when it comes to developing character. Describe to me Caitlin without mentioning her physical traits/appearance, history, role in the story, or job.


    Stargate spin off series: Stargate Millennium
    https://www.fanfiction.net/u/5580179/StargateMillennium


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Got a question...

    The first thing I noticed just from the frist few sections is that Daniel really does not behave like Daniel. Unless that's the point and there's something about Caitlin that is literally bewitching him like Hathor then there's not much about her that would cause Daniel to give her a second look. From everything we see of Daniel in the show he isn't just attracted by physical appearance, to get him attracted to you you have to somehow challenge him mentally. Otherwise Daniel as a character is quite locked in his own world.

    Now clearly Caitlin is attracted to him at the same time so why not have her ask him out? That gives her more character by showing that she is assertive to ask him out, but if you want to highlight something else like say her shyness then you can make her come across really awkward while doing it, or alternatively if she's really confident you can just highlight her directness which may take Daniel a little aback.

    Having them literally bump into each other afterwards is believeable in so far as Daniel is that much of a clutz but people generally don't hold conversations with each other after something that awkward. They just say "sorry" and walk on. Instead, perhaps highlight that Daniel is a regular at that store. Caitin notices him, or has noticed him a number of times going there and picks up his name as he's making idle chatter with the store clerk. You don't need to go into what they're saying to each other. Just that they seem to vaguely know each other and just have Daniel say something like "thanks Joe" as he walks off, followed by a "No problem, Dr. Jackson." from the Clerk. Boom, Caitlin has her name, runs up to him and just goes, "Dr. Jackson?" as he's walking to his car. Daniel would likely be a polite but a bit curt, and she'd give him her number which would throw him for a loop.

    Daniel wouldn't think about that at all after that. He really wouldn't. But it might come up in conversation with the team later. They'd ask him if he intended to call her and he'd likely brush it off. It'd only be when Sam mentions that Bra'tac won't arrive until the morning which would prompt Cam to bring up that Daniel has no excuse not to call her. If you still want to mention her eyes have it come up almost as a joke like Mitchell asking if she was pretty and Daniel just admitting "Well her eyes were nice... very... blue...".

    In terms of your writing generally the best advice I can give based on what I've seen so far is "show, don't tell." People communicate in so many more ways than with their words and there's a lot of things that we can learn about Caitlin from the way she does things. Also your readers are smart so it is best to treat them that way. For example:

    “Please, call me Daniel. Your eyes are so beautiful. Are they a family trait?”
    Danny wouldn't ask this. They're eyes, they're genetic so he will almost certainly assume they're a family trait, unless they are so unusually blue that he may not ask and just privately think to himself that they must be coloured contact lenses of some sort. (But since this section is from Caitlin's point of view you wouldn't reveal this to the reader until later)

    “Yes,” she replied. “I got them from my mother’s side of the family.”

    “I see. So do you live here in Colorado Springs with your family, Miss O’Brien?” he asked.
    Here I don't see why Daniel would make an assumption that she must live with her family based on this response.

    “Please,” she replied. “Call me Caitlin, and actually, I live in an apartment in town here. My parents are deceased.”

    “Oh, I’m sorry.” Daniel quickly glanced at his watch. “Well, it was nice meeting you, Caitlin. I’ve got to run. I need to get back to work soon, so I’d better get my shopping done. I hope I’ll see you around town more.”
    Based on what you've said I understand that her parentage is important to the story but you don't need to reveal this here and now. In actual conversation no one says "deceased" unless they're talking to someone unless they're an official of some sort and you're talking very formally. She'd say "passed on" or "no longer with us." etc.

    Just consider as you read your own work how you would talk in a real life situation. And if you get stuck as far as the SG-1 lot are concerned, just imagine in your head how they would sound in an actual episode with their voices. Take their mannerisms into account because that's how you'll make readers feel they are reading a story about these familiar characters.

    Lastly, if you do want any particular advice over a specific section feel free to PM me. I don't have a huge amount of time available but if I can help I will.
    Please do me a huge favour and help me be with the love of my life.

  16. #16
    Center Back imzadi35's Avatar
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    Default Re: Got a question...

    Here's the pic of Caitlin I used for the whole of the three stories...



    Notice her eyes and how blue they are. And if you're wondering, I created this pic from a picture of a model I found and liked. I just adjusted the eye and hair color.
    Last edited by imzadi35; January 24th, 2018 at 07:31 PM.
    Turas maith, slán abhaile
    (Safe Journey, Safe Home)

    John 3:16
    Sidney Freedman from M*A*S*H: "Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice, pull down your pants and slide on the ice."

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Got a question...

    Okay, I'm reading these critiques and your responses, and you clearly have no intention of changing anything. You're hung up on her physical appearance and you want her story to be melodramatic. Fine. You're just going to have to accept that under the circumstances, some people are going to say she's a Mary Sue.

    Seaboe
    If you're going to allow yourself to be offended by a cat, you might as well just pack it in -- Steven Brust

  18. #18
    Center Back imzadi35's Avatar
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    Default Re: Got a question...

    I plan to listen to what everyone has to say, and make changes accordingly. But I have a couple of people here where I live that have read the story and liked it a lot. Besides, I've been told that I'm a good writer. I'm not perfect by any means, but I do the best I can.
    Turas maith, slán abhaile
    (Safe Journey, Safe Home)

    John 3:16
    Sidney Freedman from M*A*S*H: "Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice, pull down your pants and slide on the ice."

  19. #19
    Attacking Midfielder Gatefan1976's Avatar
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    Default Re: Got a question...

    Quote Originally Posted by Seaboe Muffinchucker View Post
    Okay, I'm reading these critiques and your responses, and you clearly have no intention of changing anything. You're hung up on her physical appearance and you want her story to be melodramatic. Fine. You're just going to have to accept that under the circumstances, some people are going to say she's a Mary Sue.

    Seaboe
    Just to add to this, you should listen to this.



    Yes, it's about gaming, specifically miniature painting, but it is really about critiquing the highly subjective subject of -art-, and writing is certainly an art form.
    ALL THANKS TO THE WONDERFUL CREATOR OF THIS SIG GO TO R.I.G.
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  20. #20
    Full Back StargateMillennium's Avatar
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    Default Re: Got a question...

    Just for the sake of argument, could you describe to me Caitlin without mentioning her physical traits/appearance, history, role in the story, or job?


    Stargate spin off series: Stargate Millennium
    https://www.fanfiction.net/u/5580179/StargateMillennium


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