sci_frey (sci_frey) wrote,

Mary Sues on Metafandom

Edited to include another excerpt from my thesis and a PDF of said thesis.

There's a lot of really positive talk over at metafandom  about what a Mary Sue is and how we can all stop bashing her.  I just wanted to add my two cents.

It's no secret that I am a champion of the Mary Sue. Each of these posts - all archived, so I won't repeat all the explanations here  - are based on the assumption that a good Mary Sue story – well written, consciously plotted and with an emphasis of the inherently meta nature of the Mary Sue – can exist and can be meaningful and break down walls and make the reader think. I  feel that they're vital for the evolution of people as fanfic writers and members of a self-sustaining fandom community.

I beleive that Mary Sues are a vital tool - both in the classroom and in fandom - for negotiating one's (IRL or OL) Identity and the formation of said Identity.  The reason so many people write Mary Sues in the early parts of their fanficcing careers is because they are embarking upon fancrafting because they DO want to insert themselves into the world of the show, and their adoration manifests as an actual figurative insertion. I also discuss Mary Sue ficcing as a method of apprenticing oneself in Fandom AND as a method of learning/deconstructing the techniques of writing in order to better understand and weild the tools of the fancrafting trades.

I think Mary Sues are a necessary step in a new writer's evolution, and deserve to be championed because the writer simply tried, because they created, and because they were brave enough to share it.  And I think Mary Sues can be vital in later stages of a writer's or fancrafter's career as well, because the offers a chance to consciously and knowingly play with narratives, cliches, and structures.

If you really have a hate on for Mary Sue, please be aware that all the posts below link to discussions and podcasts which support Mary Sues. If you disagree with my opinion, I'm open to that, but please be respectful about it.

So, in a sort of particular order:

All my Delicious links on Mary Sues and my Mary Sue work and Fics.

Water Logged Mona Lisa: Who Is Mary Sue and Why Do We Need Her? (the abstract from my Master's Thesis)
The Mary Sue Checklist (Annotated) - which came out of the thesis.
The Five Archetypes of Mary Sue - which discusses the different flavours that Mary Sue comes in.
A PDF of the Thesis itself - because folks have asked for it. The accompanying novels are NOT present, though discussed.

Geek U: Episode 2, Mary Sues - a podcast about Mary Sues from's Geek University, and which is sort of a primer for Mary Sues.

And a discussion about how Cosplay is sort of like Mary Sueing.

The Slipstream Project:
In which our heroine, Mary Sue, becomes self aware, challenges the stereotypes of her genesis, and leads the reader through an adventure and an essay, and becomes a Meta Sue.

The History of Slipstream (which explains what the project is about)
Navigating the Slipstrem (which talks about why I find Mary Sues facinating)

Slipstream II: Quick To Say Yes
Slipstream III: Atlantian Interlude 
Slipstream IV: Down Once More (with multiple authors, still a WIP)

There are other Meta Sue fics floating about on my journal, as well. Across Time and it's sequel Across Space are a good example as well.

Tags: academic, mary sue

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