Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sweet Mary Sue

Oh, dear. The last couple of weeks I've fallen off the wagon and have been doing a bit of netsurfing before work. That led me, though, to Laura Miller's Salon piece, A Reader's Advice to Writers: Beware of Mary Sue. Quotes:

"Even in the most routine series fiction, however, there's a distinction between the kind of character who embodies the fantasies of readers -- Nancy Drew, for example --and a character who's really only working for the author." I would like to see Miller--or anyone--elaborate on this.

"...Mary Sues occur in every kind of book, from historical novels about spunky young women with anachronistically modern values who defy the race, class and gender roles of their time..." This description brought Mary Russell in A Monstrous Regiment of Women to mind. It made me think of Amelia Peabody, too, though she does an incredible balancing act of being both anachronistic and a woman of her period. Plus she balances being a witty, attractive character with being quite impressively unpleasant. Alexia in Soulless might be a Mary Sue, especially since I think the presence of sex raises the chances of a character being a Mary Sue.

I have to say, as a writer I have become extremely self-conscious about Mary Sues.

Training Report: Only around 850 words. I would have preferred 1,000. In case I haven't whined about this before, one of the things I find difficult about the Monday, Wednesday, Friday work schedule is that I find it difficult to stay in anything remotely resembling flow. I lose time each workday bringing myself up to speed again. And since I ended up working on something else on Monday, I hadn't worked on this particular project since last Friday--a gap of four days. Today I spent quite a bit of time tweaking before I got down to any real writing. It was some very fine tweaking, so I'm quite hopeful things will go better on Friday. Then we have another weekend, and then I'm expecting some disruption in regularly scheduled programming next week for some elder work. Ah, but I should not be anxious about the future, should I? I should remain in this week. Yes. That's better.

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