Having or Gaining Wings

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HatedLove6's avatar

Literature Text

Having or Gaining Wings

The only reason this is here, is because numerous Mary-Sue tests ask about this, whether the test is for in general, original fiction or for a specific fan fiction, even when wings are allowed in the universe.  Otherwise, this wouldn't even be an issue for me.  

First, is the character a species where wings are possible, for example, angels, fallen angels, harpies, sirens, etc.?  If so, the person complaining needs to stop.  If not, how does the person gain the use of wings?

Is it due to an animal shamanic power?  Does the character have a talisman enabling flight by materializing a set of wings?  Or maybe it's the characters own raw energy that takes the shape of wings?

Like everything, if it's explained within the bounds of the chosen universal rules, there shouldn't be any complaints on the wings/power specifically.  The writing style can be complained about, certainly, but just not the fact if a character has a pair of wings.
If you haven't please read my Mary-Sue: Who is She? Series first.


Yeah, this one's quite short. This was just a complaint based on biasness against wings in general.
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Griffonmender's avatar

There are two things to be said on this:

The first thing is alternate wings. We generally think of about three types: bird-style “angel” wings, bat-like “devil” wings, and butterfly/moth like “fairy” wings. These are all well and good, and cover a wide variety of looks. But there are more. The pterodactyl had a long bony limb covered with a membrane for a wing, similar to the bat wing, except lacking fingers. A bee’s wings are clear, round, and almost comically small, and only achieve flight by beating very fast (for those of you wondering how your character could have cute little nubby wings but still fly, there you go.)


Number of wings is also an important factor. According to Judeo-Christian myth seraphim have six wings, and close examination will show that a beetle has four (: two tough outer wings and two membranous inner ones), as does the dragonfly.


As is placement: although most wings are placed between the shoulder blades, and occasionally the lower back, they can just as easily take the place of arms, like a bird’s, or the legs, as in the case stycoraptoryx, or both in the case of one particular dinosaur (whose name I have regrettably forgot.) This is especially important if you have multiple sets of wings, as those extra pairs have to go somewhere.


On a similar note, although most “demon” wings have the membrane between the first finger of the wing and the body stop about halfway down the back, the same membrane on an actual bat’s wings goes all the way to the ankles. Varying how far membranous or insect-like wings attach back to the body can make for a more unique appearance.


And naturally there are fantasy varieties like mechanical wings, bone wings and wings made of other things. Basing them off existing wings can help with designing/describing them, but is not necessary.


The second thing is to remember that wings are often compared to arms for a reason: they pretty much are arms. And thus clothes need to be designed to fit these appendages. If you have illustrations, draw in slits/adapted sleeves, if you are writing describe them. For your character’s sake and yours, don’t leave your audience wondering how your eight-winged girl got in the tightly-laced, high-collared and corseted Victorian era dress with several dozen buttons up the back.


And finally, unless this is a sugarbowl old-timey magical girl universe where there is no such thing as a painful transformation, growing what is effectively a second pair of arms (not to mention a whole new muscle group) is probably going to hurt, or at least feel mildly uncomfortable. And if the wings burst out all at once, they’re almost certainly going to ruin some clothes.


In short, any wings are fine so long as you can make a logical anatomical arrangement and the appropriate alterations for wardrobe. ^^