What Is a Mary Sue?Hover over blue text for elaboration.What Is a Mary Sue?2 years ago in Writing More Like This
Mary Sues are a common phenomenon in stories: a character who gets special treatment. The definition of a Mary Sue is subjective, so it isn't always easy to tell whether a character is or isn't a Sue.
A male Mary Sue might also be called a Gary Stu, Marty Stu, or Marty Sue. Male characters are less often accused of being Mary Sues than females are.
Mary Sues are a natural part of learning to write, and while the writing community often lashes out at writers for creating them, their existence does not indicate a lack of writing ability. Mary Sues can be analyzed, improved, and outgrown over time, and they're common starting places for many writers.
Mary Sues are created when the author becomes too invested in a character (or that character's success) for the story's own good. This can manifest
10 Quick Tips: ProseFor the short of time, patience or remaining-eyesight: here is a quick, ten-point tutorial for better prose.10 Quick Tips: Prose5 years ago in Writing More Like This
The points are drawn from books, articles, casually-offered-advice and my own experience. Much like the Ten Commandments, they aren't all concrete rules. Just things to strongly keep in mind.
1. Vary sentence structure.
-> In particular, avoid starting every line with "I..." or "He..."
-> Try to vary your sentence length too.
2. Don't repeat words within a sentence.
-> Or too many times in sentences that follow each other.
-> Avoid repeated use of character names by using he/she where possible.
3. Avoid adverbs.
-> They clutter sentences and there's usually a better way.
-> Ask yourself, "Does this add any new information?"
4. Swap "which" for "that" where possible.
-> This is black magic. It just sounds better.
-> Also avoid "however".
5. Make pairs of adjectives different.
10Q Writers' Tutorial: SettingTen Easy Questions to Fix Your Fantasy Setting10Q Writers' Tutorial: Setting5 years ago in Writing More Like This
(may also work for sci-fi)
A fantasy story has to take place somewhere. And what better surroundings for your epic/tragic/blood-thirsty tale of war/love/orc-beauty-pageants than your mystical land of Neverheardofit?
Imagine it! The ragged mountains clad in purple fog. The bubbling streams sparkling with fairy magic. The sleepy-eyed dragons emerging from their noble lairs, their flickering tongues tasting the sweetness of battle in the air.
(Or just some spaceships and laser guns. This is a sci-fi tutorial too.)
You can certainly feel the magic (or techno-awesome) but, for some reason, your readers just aren't getting it. They keep asking awkward questions or, worse than that, not reading further than the first chapter.
You could give up in despair: A tragic artist, never to be understood.
Or you could try this simple little Ten Question Tutorial. It can't hurt,