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  1. #61
    A Liver Made Fullmetal Misato Katsuragi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Constructive criticism v. flaming

    I don't think Mary Sue is a meaningless term, but that there are people who misuse it. I mean, yeah, if I see a Harry Potter fanfic (to give an example of fandom where I've seen a lot of Sues) where an OC is smarter than Hermione, the perfect Quidditch player, and has every person of their preferred sex falling head-over-heels for them, I think it's fair to call that character a Sue. But I agree that it's more important to address why these characters are dull for people who are not the writer to read about, even if they do actually qualify. (Part of the problem is that with those checklists, any original fiction protagonist who is the most specialest in their world in some way - e.g. Harry Potter, Edward Elric, Buffy Summers - is going to qualify. And people don't understand why this doesn't quite work for fanfic.) The main issue with 99% of actual Mary Sues is they're basically about wish fulfillment for the author, and so if you're not the author. that's not your wish fulfillment and so it's boring and you can't relate to it. It's the same reason no one wants to hear about what someone else dreamed about last night.

    Anyway, the main differences between constructive and non-constructive criticism: a) Tone and b) Are you actually giving them any tips for how to improve their work?

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    Requiem Raver Drakon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Constructive criticism v. flaming

    Quote Originally Posted by Zekurom View Post
    You can be unacceptably harsh without even flaming. Both types of reviews are equally bad, and I'd say the non-flaming one might even be worse because the author feels justified in posting it.
    The harsh reviews tend to be even worse because they shove the reviewer's ego into the author's face.
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    Default Re: Constructive criticism v. flaming

    Quote Originally Posted by Goodbye Blue Monday View Post
    I don't think Mary Sue is a meaningless term, but that there are people who misuse it.
    The reason it's "meaningless" is because one author's correct use of the term is another author's misuse. Who is right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drakon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Zekurom View Post
    You can be unacceptably harsh without even flaming. Both types of reviews are equally bad, and I'd say the non-flaming one might even be worse because the author feels justified in posting it.
    The harsh reviews tend to be even worse because they shove the reviewer's ego into the author's face.
    You mean the flaming reviews? Both types I was talking about were "harsh" reviews.
    Last edited by Zekurom; 5th March 2013 at 07:43 AM.
    The word "quadragonal" is the only word with "dragon" in it where "dragon" is not a root word. That makes it awesome.

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    Default Re: Constructive criticism v. flaming

    Quote Originally Posted by Zekurom View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Goodbye Blue Monday View Post
    I don't think Mary Sue is a meaningless term, but that there are people who misuse it.
    The reason it's "meaningless" is because one author's correct use of the term is another author's misuse. Who is right?
    Um, that's true with just about anything when it comes to writing, because writing is subjective. It doesn't mean other concepts are "meaningless."

    "Mary Sue" has a consistent core set of criteria. It's just that the people who sling it around forget that sometimes.

    Hi, I'm Rose. I love music, alcohol, pointless Internet debates and being a snob about my choices in entertainment. I write a lot. You can read some of my writing at Autostraddle.com, the best site for LBTQ women on the Internet, where I am a staff writer. Or the funhouse that is my tumblr. I also write music sometimes, and post the better fruits of my labors on my SoundCloud.

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    Requiem Raver Drakon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Constructive criticism v. flaming

    Quote Originally Posted by Zekurom View Post
    You mean the flaming reviews? Both types I was talking about were "harsh" reviews.
    Your second example.

    Quote Originally Posted by Goodbye Blue Monday View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Zekurom View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Goodbye Blue Monday View Post
    I don't think Mary Sue is a meaningless term, but that there are people who misuse it.
    The reason it's "meaningless" is because one author's correct use of the term is another author's misuse. Who is right?
    Um, that's true with just about anything when it comes to writing, because writing is subjective. It doesn't mean other concepts are "meaningless."

    "Mary Sue" has a consistent core set of criteria. It's just that the people who sling it around forget that sometimes.
    It is true that there is a core set of criteria that's actually very small and valid, it's just that I feel that the MS tests are sometimes bloated with meaningless questions. Why the hell does a non-Japanese user of a katana get pegged as a Mary Sue but say, a non-Indian user of a talwar gets a pass?
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    Default Re: Constructive criticism v. flaming

    Quote Originally Posted by Drakon View Post
    It is true that there is a core set of criteria that's actually very small and valid, it's just that I feel that the MS tests are sometimes bloated with meaningless questions. Why the hell does a non-Japanese user of a katana get pegged as a Mary Sue but say, a non-Indian user of a talwar gets a pass?
    If you're talking about the Mary Sue Litmus Test, I thought that was there as an example, not as a definitive criterion. It was probably chosen because fans of various forms of Japanese entertainment are more of a presence on Fanfiction.net and roleplaying sites than, say, fans of South Asian entertainment.

    I've been in fandoms that weren't Japanese but had a shitload of anime fans in them - mainly, Harry Potter - and random Japanese characteristics or names in OCs are a pretty good indication of a Mary Sue/Gary Stu, because it usually means it's their favorite anime character(s) inserted into that fictional world. I used to be very active in some Harry Potter roleplaying communities, and people who did that kind of stuff with their characters were the banes of everyone else's existence. Because they were the same people whose characters were Parselmouths and star Quidditch players and Prefects and blah blah blah, and made the roleplay a lot less fun for those of us trying to create rounded, believable characters with faults.
    Last edited by Misato Katsuragi; 5th March 2013 at 04:19 PM.

    Hi, I'm Rose. I love music, alcohol, pointless Internet debates and being a snob about my choices in entertainment. I write a lot. You can read some of my writing at Autostraddle.com, the best site for LBTQ women on the Internet, where I am a staff writer. Or the funhouse that is my tumblr. I also write music sometimes, and post the better fruits of my labors on my SoundCloud.

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    CEO of the Monsters Lugion's Avatar
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    Default Re: Constructive criticism v. flaming

    I think @Goodbye Blue Monday; really knows what she's talking about here.

    Sure, bland (or just plain bad) characters aren't always Mary Sues, but that doesn't mean none of them are. I've brought up the example before, but one of my former schoolmates self-published a novel, and the main character is so incredibly Mary Sue it seems that you'd actually have to read it to believe it (Zekurom :P).

    Let's see... He was inducted into the greatest order of assassins at the ripe old age of... three. And proceeded to defeat all of the best veteran assassins in mock combat at that same age. This detail is important to the story for all of one chapter. He massacred monsters called "Soul Eaters" (killing one is said to be a considerable feat), who were invading a town at the beginning of the story, and every time the event is mentioned, the number of monsters that he slaughtered increases (it starts at 400, I believe, and then increases to 1,000, then 10,000, and so on). At one point, he balances the tip of his sword on the shaft of an upside-down scythe, and holds himself up in the air while spinning around... in his sleep. This event had no build-up, was entirely random, and is never brought up again. At another point, he jumps into the air, kicks a guard in the chest twenty-two (!) times, and then back-flips, grabs his two companions, and crashes through a window... all before touching the ground again. Like the previous event, no build-up, and it's never mentioned again. Also, the male companion turns out to be evil, and is the son of the god of carnage (who has some weird nonsense name, like so many other characters and places in the story- there's literally a pronunciation guide in the back of the book), and so, of course, the female companion (who was the evil guy's girlfriend) immediately falls in love with the main character and is pregnant with his child by the end of the book. Then, finally, after thwarting the Soul Eater invasion, deposing the evil imposter king, etc.... it's suddenly revealed that the main character is actually the evil companion's half-brother... and son of the god of carnage... There are no other gods ever mentioned, no religious anything (I'm totally serious here), and yet, this guy is the son of the only god ever mentioned... and it's such an ass-pull, because there's no build-up to it, and that part is just tacked onto the end of the story.

    If you're really that curious... here.
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    Default Re: Constructive criticism v. flaming

    Quote Originally Posted by Prof. Lugion View Post
    Let's see... He was inducted into the greatest order of assassins at the ripe old age of... three. And proceeded to defeat all of the best veteran assassins in mock combat at that same age. This detail is important to the story for all of one chapter. He massacred monsters called "Soul Eaters" (killing one is said to be a considerable feat), who were invading a town at the beginning of the story, and every time the event is mentioned, the number of monsters that he slaughtered increases (it starts at 400, I believe, and then increases to 1,000, then 10,000, and so on). At one point, he balances the tip of his sword on the shaft of an upside-down scythe, and holds himself up in the air while spinning around... in his sleep. This event had no build-up, was entirely random, and is never brought up again. At another point, he jumps into the air, kicks a guard in the chest twenty-two (!) times, and then back-flips, grabs his two companions, and crashes through a window... all before touching the ground again. Like the previous event, no build-up, and it's never mentioned again. Also, the male companion turns out to be evil, and is the son of the god of carnage (who has some weird nonsense name, like so many other characters and places in the story- there's literally a pronunciation guide in the back of the book), and so, of course, the female companion (who was the evil guy's girlfriend) immediately falls in love with the main character and is pregnant with his child by the end of the book. Then, finally, after thwarting the Soul Eater invasion, deposing the evil imposter king, etc.... it's suddenly revealed that the main character is actually the evil companion's half-brother... and son of the god of carnage... There are no other gods ever mentioned, no religious anything (I'm totally serious here), and yet, this guy is the son of the only god ever mentioned... and it's such an ass-pull, because there's no build-up to it, and that part is just tacked onto the end of the story.
    And this will be my prime example of a Mary Sue that I'll use against unfair accusations. Thank you, kind sir and/or ma'am.

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    Default Re: Constructive criticism v. flaming

    Quote Originally Posted by Goodbye Blue Monday View Post
    Um, that's true with just about anything when it comes to writing, because writing is subjective. It doesn't mean other concepts are "meaningless."

    "Mary Sue" has a consistent core set of criteria. It's just that the people who sling it around forget that sometimes.
    Pray tell, what is that consistent core set? Please enlighten me.

    The term is also considered "meaningless" because almost everything it's said to mean is already covered by other terms, and Mary Sue is simply a memetic label. Show me a Mary Sue and I will show you a dozen other ways to describe it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prof. Lugion View Post
    Sure, bland (or just plain bad) characters aren't always Mary Sues, but that doesn't mean none of them are. I've brought up the example before, but one of my former schoolmates self-published a novel, and the main character is so incredibly Mary Sue it seems that you'd actually have to read it to believe it (Zekurom :P).
    And I still haven't read it.

    *edit* Never mind, I saw the preview. I think whatever "Mary Sue"-ness the characters have is the least of the concerns of the story.
    Last edited by Zekurom; 5th March 2013 at 09:36 PM.
    The word "quadragonal" is the only word with "dragon" in it where "dragon" is not a root word. That makes it awesome.

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    Default Re: Constructive criticism v. flaming

    The thing that really gets me about those Mary Sue tests are the fact that they refer to themselves as "litmus tests." By definition, that means they are meant to be taken as a definitive yes/no and not just suggestions.

    "Meaningless" may not be the best word to describe it. I still stand by what I said that in terms of criticism, calling a character a Mary Sue is a totally useless observation. It's just not helpful, especially because of the scattered definitions. Yes, they exist. Yes, they can be infuriating (especially in an RP, I imagine). In the end, though, it doesn't help the author to drop the MS-bomb and leave.

    I read the first page of the preview for that book. Who the hell told that guy he should publish it? A majority of the fanfiction on here is better written, never mind the crippling grammatical errors (new lines when a new character speaks is not optional!).

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    Default Re: Constructive criticism v. flaming

    Quote Originally Posted by Zekurom View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Goodbye Blue Monday View Post
    Um, that's true with just about anything when it comes to writing, because writing is subjective. It doesn't mean other concepts are "meaningless."

    "Mary Sue" has a consistent core set of criteria. It's just that the people who sling it around forget that sometimes.
    Pray tell, what is that consistent core set? Please enlighten me.
    A flawless character (or only has flaws that are endearing and/or obviously irrelevant to the story), often intended as a self-insert of the author, who (in fanfiction/roleplaying) takes over too much of the action, and bores the reader? It's really not rocket science. I think you're being obtuse here for the sake of extra condescension.

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    Default Re: Constructive criticism v. flaming

    In all honesty I don't think someone that creates a Mary-Sue can really be called a writer. I mean we've all been in that point where we make a character that is kinda suish but it's just distasteful when someone makes a full on sue and takes pride in them.

    By the way @AetherX; I wholeheartedly agree, compared to that book I think any of us has a chance at getting a best seller.

    Anyways regarding the subject of Mary Sue's and all, I don't think it's a meaningless term but kind of like a guideline of sorts. It doesn't mean that a character shouldn't have anything that makes them special but it kind of warns you not to overdo it too much. So say your character uses a katana and it's not Japanese, so what? as long as you don't overdo everything else it works. A character that is good at every sport and is athletic can in turn be bored of everything around him or not have any actual friends or hobbies because he's always had to do things like that.

    Things like Mary-Sue exist, that much is obvious but it doesn't mean that anything that makes a character stand above the crowd makes them a sue.

    And regarding that let's not get too far away from what the thread's about, there is a Mary Sue thread after all.

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    Default Re: Constructive criticism v. flaming

    Quote Originally Posted by Goodbye Blue Monday View Post
    A flawless character (or only has flaws that are endearing and/or obviously irrelevant to the story), often intended as a self-insert of the author, who (in fanfiction/roleplaying) takes over too much of the action, and bores the reader? It's really not rocket science. I think you're being obtuse here for the sake of extra condescension.
    This writer disagrees. No mention of "flaws" anywhere, and self-insert only as an emergent fact, not part of the definition. But yeah, Flaze is right. We're starting to stray from the topic.
    The word "quadragonal" is the only word with "dragon" in it where "dragon" is not a root word. That makes it awesome.

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    A Liver Made Fullmetal Misato Katsuragi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Constructive criticism v. flaming

    Quote Originally Posted by Zekurom View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Goodbye Blue Monday View Post
    A flawless character (or only has flaws that are endearing and/or obviously irrelevant to the story), often intended as a self-insert of the author, who (in fanfiction/roleplaying) takes over too much of the action, and bores the reader? It's really not rocket science. I think you're being obtuse here for the sake of extra condescension.
    This writer disagrees. No mention of "flaws" anywhere, and self-insert only as an emergent fact, not part of the definition. But yeah, Flaze is right. We're starting to stray from the topic.
    Well, there was a reason that I said "often a self-insert." Not always. Sues aren't always self-inserts, and a lot of self-inserts aren't Sues (there are some celebrated authors who use them, like Tolstoy). But they often go together, especially in the hands of less-experienced writers.

    I won't expand more since this is seen as going off-topic.

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    Default Re: Constructive criticism v. flaming

    So...I wrote a story as my "sample work" for signing up for the writing club/school newspaper and I asked several people to critique my work but all they did was read the first few sentences then say "I can already tell this is going to be a good story" and no matter who I asked it was always that same response; and in my mind, I'm just all "you didn't even read the whole thing asdfghjkafdgsjdgg"

    "wow you're so good at writing, you have so many ideas, you're sure to get in!"

    "this is a really great story"

    "this is so good"

    yeah, the compliments were nice but when the day came you can just imagine how I felt when I didn't see my name on the accepted members list. I still got in in the end tho, because joining a club is mandatory but that's nothing to boast about because I just got the empty slot of someone who got accepted but joined another club.

    You know I actually used to misuse it's but not for the reason you think. I just didn't know that its existed and used it's for both a contraction of "it is" and as a possessive pronoun then one day my dad saw me writing and corrected me and I never made that mistake ever again so yeah, guys, if I'm doing something wrong don't hesitate to correct me.

    I was really intimidated about this part of the forums at first, actually, because you're all better writers than me and I'm not a very prolific writer to be honest but after reading a few threads I sorta got up the courage and I guess I will post something eventually.
    P.S. sorry this last part is a bit off topic
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