Mary Sue character in Star Trek
#1
Who is she? I heard from a lot of Star Trek forums about her, but who is she?
Don't insult the precious, my precious!:book:
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#2
(June 2nd, 2020, 09:31 PM)badlands Wrote: Who is she? I heard from a lot of Star Trek forums about her, but who is she?

Do they never refer to her by name?
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#3
If I recall correctly, she was a fan fiction writer who put herself into the stories she wrote back in the 1960s. And her name was indeed "Mary Sue". But I don't know if this is just a fan legend or if she really existed.
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#4
Oh! The overall concept. Yes, it's in fan fiction, and is when a character represents the as author way too blatantly. A NJ housewife is transplanted to ancient Greece and is seduced by Ares and Hercules, for example. (Or Xena and Gabrielle! Wink )

And yes, it originated in Star Trek fan fiction:

Quote:The term "Mary Sue" comes from the name of a character created by Paula Smith in 1973 for her parody story "A Trekkie's Tale"[3]:15 published in her fanzine Menagerie #2.[4] The story starred Lieutenant Mary Sue ("the youngest Lieutenant in the fleet — only fifteen and a half years old"), and satirized unrealistic characters in Star Trek fan fiction.[5] The complete story reads:

"Gee, golly, gosh, gloriosky," thought Mary Sue as she stepped on the bridge of the Enterprise. "Here I am, the youngest lieutenant in the fleet - only fifteen and a half years old." Captain Kirk came up to her.

"Oh, Lieutenant, I love you madly. Will you come to bed with me?" "Captain! I am not that kind of girl!" "You're right, and I respect you for it. Here, take over the ship for a minute while I go get some coffee for us." Mr. Spock came onto the bridge. "What are you doing in the command seat, Lieutenant?" "The Captain told me to." "Flawlessly logical. I admire your mind." .....
August  - Jack's Pack Fan # 1, Keeper of the List, 3-Time Speaker of the JoAT Fan Quote of the Week, and the only person ever to have Back 2 Back Jack and Cleo fan quotes !
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#5
The idea of a Mary Sue* gets rightly put down as a lazy writing tic. However, I contend that creating Mary Sue characters is a growth process many great writers need to go through. No shame, just call it practice!!





*The male version is often called "Marty Sue", "Gary Stu" or some variant.
--

Aaron Bossig
Host of The Hungry Trilobyte Podcast

@aaronbossig on Twitter.
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#6
It may have started out as described above, but the current usage has changed. Generally when you hear people refer to a "Mary Sue" now, they mean a character that experiences no real character development. It's still lazy writing, but there's no effort to move beyond it now, so it's not even a stepping stone to better writing.
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#7
I've just always associated it with the author putting herself (in the case of a female) into the story, usually with a romantic twist. I first came across it in Xena fan fiction, in the late 90's. A girl I knew whose heritage was Croatian wrote about a Romani girl meeting Joxer, having a fling with him, and teaching him self-confidence and fighting skills. Another was African-American, and in her stories, a Nubian girl met Joxer, had a fling with him, and taught him self-confidence and fighting skills. Another girl with red hair wrote about Joxer meeting a Celtic girl,and...
well, you get the idea.

I guess the prime example would be the lady who wrote Twilight fan fiction, imagining if she and Edward Cullen got into bondage and submission. Then she changed the names, dropped the vampire references, and made a fortune selling it as 50 Shades of Gray.
August  - Jack's Pack Fan # 1, Keeper of the List, 3-Time Speaker of the JoAT Fan Quote of the Week, and the only person ever to have Back 2 Back Jack and Cleo fan quotes !
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#8
(June 14th, 2020, 07:59 AM)august Wrote: I've just always associated it with the author putting herself (in the case of a female) into the story, usually with a romantic twist. I first came across it in Xena fan fiction, in the late 90's. A girl I knew whose heritage was Croatian wrote about a Romani girl meeting Joxer, having a fling with him, and teaching him self-confidence and fighting skills. Another was African-American, and in her stories, a Nubian girl  met Joxer, had a fling with him, and taught him self-confidence and fighting skills. Another girl with red hair wrote about Joxer meeting a Celtic girl,and...
well, you get the idea.

I guess the prime example would be the lady who wrote Twilight fan fiction, imagining if she and Edward Cullen got into bondage and submission. Then she changed the names, dropped the vampire references, and made a fortune selling it as 50 Shades of Gray.

As I said, I think that's the real origin of the term, yes. I just point out that it's currently being used to describe characters that are poorly written, and usually only exist to exemplify a political leaning.

Yes, 50 Shades of Gray is a prime example of the original use of the term, I guess. I've never read the book or seen the movies, but I can't say I ever got on the hate train for that one. I can't help but admire someone who writes a fanfic and is now likely a millionaire because of it!
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#9
I may never read fan fiction again after following this discussion ...
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#10
I'll give you the same advice I've gotten from fan after fan after fan in different fandoms I've stumbled across/into (Trek, Xena, Buffy, BSG, Harry Potter, etc.) when I've mentioned "oh, I hear so-and-so writes fan fiction - is it good?"

Invariably the answer is: "Stay away - it's PORN!"
August  - Jack's Pack Fan # 1, Keeper of the List, 3-Time Speaker of the JoAT Fan Quote of the Week, and the only person ever to have Back 2 Back Jack and Cleo fan quotes !
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#11
Generally speaking, I only consider a character to be a Mary Sue if that character either A) has absolutely no faults or B) is nothing but faults. The lazy writing comes in from the desire to make your self-insert either wholly good or wholly bad, neither of which makes for good storytelling.
--

Aaron Bossig
Host of The Hungry Trilobyte Podcast

@aaronbossig on Twitter.
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#12
There is sometimes a fine line between good and bad characterization that is sometimes known as "the publisher needed an 'A' list book and pushed this out."

The Mary Sue phenomenon is not unique to fan fiction. Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote himself (literally) into more than a few of his own stories. He was, for his time, a very good writer. Hence, he got away with it.

I think Hemingway was accused of writing himself into a story, or maybe Faulkner. I don't know why I still confuse the two after all these years. They had very different writing styles.
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#13
Yep, with Burroughs, he was following the convention of fiction where something improbable is told in the first person - Moby Dick would be a mainstream lit example. In that wonderful book Master of Adventure (I want to say the biographer is named Richard Lupoff?) there's actually a brief bio of the Burroughs who appears in the novels as narrator - and of course, he is a very different person from the actual author. For example, he is a young adult shortly after the Civil War when his uncle John Carter goes missing, whereas the real ERB wasn't born until....is it 1875? If you continue the life of "I" as being the same person, he ends up being elected president of the united planet in one of the Moon Maid books, c. 2100 AD. :O

But a number of authors have been said to resemble their protagonists, or vice versa. Micky Spillane and Mike Hammer for example - I think the former even played the latter in a few movies. Conan Doyle and Dr. Watson. And after all, just how many tall, gangly, awkward high school teacher/writer protagonists does Stephen King have? Tongue
August  - Jack's Pack Fan # 1, Keeper of the List, 3-Time Speaker of the JoAT Fan Quote of the Week, and the only person ever to have Back 2 Back Jack and Cleo fan quotes !
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#14
Some authors make self-insertion a sort of trademark. E.g. Vonnegut and Kilgore Trout.

The late Gene Wolfe made almost a game of it and of nudging at the "fourth wall" at times. He almost always wrote 1st person, which also facilitated some other characteristic stunts like the "unreliable narrator". His protagonist in "The Fifth Head of Cerberus" (1st part of the 3-part novella The Fifth Head of Cerberus) drops clues throughout to the reader to work out that his real name is...Gene Wolfe! In at least one of his short stories (one of at least a couple of Sherlock Holmes pastiches with the hero-detective "March Street"), the story ends with the robot-biographer standing in for Dr. Watson noticing a letter on Street's desk addressed to Gene Wolfe.

Then there's J.R.R. Tolkien, whose invented character "J.R.R. Tolkien" discovered and translated The Red Book of Westmarch...
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