If they have no authority, they have only as much power as you give them. The problem there is only that a new writer does not know what to expect, and is easily hurt by the Mary Sue Police's criticisms. This is, of course, not the new writer's fault, because she does not know the environment that she is getting into.And on another note, "Mary Sue Police" don't have any authority, but they have a dangerous power. They are relentlessly critical of every single nitpick they find, and when that harsh and needlessly negative criticism reaches the author, they more often than not are devastated and quit.
Well, that's exactly what they want you to do - make those "believable characters" that don't go very far out and strike nerves anywhere. Such characters are their (and perhaps your) perception of a "good character". But if you do it only to avoid the Mary Sue Police, you're letting them control your writing and your perception of a "well-balanced character".That's why I see a lot of people (and myself as well) walking the fine line of making a believable character who has faults and weaknesses as well as strengths. That way the "Mary Sue Police" can't unleash their fangs and destroy the motivation of the author.
The problem here is, a new writer will almost never know what kind of fine line that is to walk. And for good reason too - that fine line is an imaginary construct, which becomes ingrained only when drilled into a newbie's head by disgruntled veterans.
If this is your main reason for "writing good, well-balanced characters", and the Mary Sue Police are the main way to guide people to write as such, then my advice to you is to completely flout their advice. You know the rules, now you can break them. Break them to your heart's content! Write with complete abandon and disregard for those self-styled "authorities on good writing" and show them just how "bad" you can make a character! Then go back and find your own motivation for writing those "good" characters. Often a metal sheet must be bent the other way before it can be straightened.
You could, of course, respond, "but it's not". But responding "but it's not" to "what if" is sacrificing creativity for faithfulness, which I'd argue should never be done without a more practical reason.
Neither am I, although Ash being 17 years old is one of the "liberties" you could take that people might be opposed to.BTW, I'm not talking about fics where Ash, for example, is 17 years old in a fic and aged significantly since his "canon" self. Obviously, there is more room for artistic liberties in that sort of situation.
Personally, I don't find that distracting; what I find distracting is the total lack of detail in most stories.I just find it distracting to read a story that is supposed to be canon where the familiar canon characters are essentially OCs in disguise.
There is a way that feels "right" and "wrong" to everybody; it is when people disagree to disagree that problems arise.You are right though, Zek, it's just my opinion, and there is no "right/wrong" way.
Unfortunately, most people care only about the "canon" characters and what they get into. Often their line of reasoning is that without using canon characters but using the canon world, your work is just a ripoff.Originally Posted by Caitlin