I am the most sporadic writer on the planet, but I promise to do my best to keep writing for whoever decides to follow me. I have books with prompts. If nothing else, you'll get random little stories. Consider this part of my New Years Resolutions, six months later.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mary Sue: Conclusion

For the moment, I cannot find anything else to suggest to prevent, adapt or fix your Mary Sue. Just remember that there is SCIENCE behind appearance, conflict is good for the plot, not everyone finds your character beloved, and if the world works for the character, go for it. That one is probably the most important of all.

In the meantime, I'm going to polish up these blog posts, bring them together into a .pdf with some supplementary pages, stuff like worksheets to help you determine if your character is, in fact, a Mary Sue, and links to places where you can check the SCIENCE of appearance.

I'll post the download link on the blog, and it'll be available on both of my websites as well, for free.

I'm not sure where I'll go from here, with NaNoWriMo looming near, as well as the Election Season in full swing at my day job. (American politics...season ends Nov. 6). All I know is, I intend to keep working on this blog. It's rather fun, don't you know?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

On Mary Sue: Universe

I've mentioned this over and over, but the universe or world your character is placed in has a great deal to do with whether or not your character is a Mary Sue. In a lot of ways, making a character fit into the world they find themselves in is your plot. Take superheros, for instance. How many of them do we have running around here on Earth?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

On Mary Sue: Names

It may seem a little weird to devote one chapter of the Mary Sue series to names, but I think I can tell you a few things you've never thought of before.

First of all, with a Mary Sue, the name tends to be exotic, like Angel or Raven, or has an odd spelling like Myshel, usually in a world were Mary, John, Sue, and Amanda are common names. An exotic name is meant to convey that the character is special or worth noticing.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

On Mary Sue: Interpersonal Relationships

While this particular section could also have been referred to as popularity, I find 'interpersonal relationships' lends itself better to the topic.

When people talk about Mary Sue, they use phrases such as "everyone loves her" and "all the (appropriate gender) were attracted to her".

Friday, October 5, 2012

On Mary Sue: Personality

Probably the most defining traits of the Mary Sue is her personality.

Mary Sues can be sweet, kind, bubbly, and perfect. They can be any extreme of personality, in truth, although most of them tends toward sweet and naive to be honest. They're the type of person most people hate. Although there are people out there who are sweet, kind, or bubbly, they also have flaws, which Mary Sue does not.

Think about the people you know, in general, you could probably list three things you like and three things you don't like about them. You could also find a mutual friend to make a similar list, but with completely different results. People react to each other differently, and it's the same thing with characters.

On Mary Sue: Exceptional Talents

I mean, I can't miss. ... I'm on a team with super-humans. And one god, in case you've forgotten. Even you...well, you climb walls really well. ... I gave up a lot for this life. I could have been happy with Mockingbir-- Bobbi. We could have had a good, simple life. But I wanted to play with the big boys. And if I miss it means I'm just another dude with a bow. It means I've been fooling myself this whole time. And that's why I never miss.
--Clint Barton (Earth-616) 
If you're a fan of the Marval comic books or the movies, you know who Clint Barton is, he's Hawkeye, the world's greatest marksman and he never misses.

Not every character can be Hawkeye though. I'm not saying that they can't be the best at their job, I'm just saying that Hawkeye was unique because of his talent. Whatever else Clint Barton might have been, he was known for his skill as an archer.

I feel obligated to point out that Hawkeye works because his universe worked for him. Therefore, it is not that you can't have a character who is best at a talent, but that they have to exist in a world where them being the best works.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

On Mary Sue: Appearance

Think on this.

How often during the course of a day do you think about your appearance? What about other people? Do you constantly obsess over what everyone around you is wearing 24-7 regardless of whatever else you might be doing?

If you're a make-up artist, or a fashion designer or in a similar field you might get a pass on this, but is your character?

Most people might notice what someone's wearing if they're just seeing them for the first time, or if it's something particularly unusual, but unless you make an effort, how often do you notice more than 'jeans, shirt, button down, black pants?' What makes you notice what you notice?

If I had to guess, I'd say you notice when someone is wearing clothes with bright colors or an obnoxious pattern. You notice a shirt with writing on it. Once you've noticed it, you tend to let it go unless it's just so incredably unusual that you can't help but notice it.

Unless you're a boyfriend.

Boyfriends should always note what their girlfriends are wearing and comment on it.

The following is some research on appearance, to help explain why some concepts are more than likely filed under the Mary Sue catagory:

Friday, September 7, 2012

On Mary Sue Intro

Mary Sue is a character trope more commonly found in fanfiction, although they can also be found in original stories. Here are some comments made about Mary Sue:

Urban Dictionary:

A female character who is so perfect that she is annoying. The name originated in a very short Star Trek story that mocked the sort of female characters who showed up in fanfiction. It usually refers to original female chaacters put into fanfiction but can refer to any character. Mary Sues are characters who are usually extraordinarily gorgeous, amazingly talented, unusually powerful, and exceedingly attractive to whoever the author has a crush on. They often possess ridiculously fancy and pretentious first names -- Angel, Raven, Jewel, Lorelei Bianca Julia Marizza Snape -- and are very, very annoying. 

TV Tropes has a page for her:
Mary Sue on TV Tropes

Wikipedia says:

Mary Sue (sometimes just Sue), in literary criticism and particularly in fan fiction, is a fictional character with overly idealized and hackneyed mannerisms, lacking noteworthy flaws, and primarily functioning as a wish-fulfillment fantasy for the author or reader. It is generally accepted as a character whose positive aspects overwhelm their other traits until they become one-dimensional. While the label "Mary Sue" itself originates from a parody of this type of character, most characters labelled "Mary Sues" by readers are not intended by authors as such. Male Mary Sues are often dubbed "Gary Stu", "Larry Stu", "Marty Stu", or similar names.
While the term is generally limited to fan-created characters, and its most common usage today occurs within the fan fiction community or in reference to fan fiction, original characters in role-playing games or literary canon are also sometimes criticized as being "Mary Sues" or "canon Sues" if they dominate the spotlight or are too unrealistic or unlikely in other ways. One example of this criticism is Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The thing is that everyone bashes the Mary Sue, but how many people offer to help fix her? I haven't heard of anyone doing so. Therefore, I am going to undertake to fix a Mary Sue.

1.) Appearance
2.) Talents
3.) Personality
4.) Interpersonal Relationships
5.) Names
6.) Universe

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I have way too many ideas...

Personal note:

I was organizing my laptop the other day to reflect a priority change I've had lately and I realized that I have ten works that I want to publish that are in the midst of rough draft stage.


Over half of them are novels, one is a short story that I'm hoping to sell on Amazon at some point, there are two short story series one for kids, one for adults. Seriously brain. NO MORE IDEAS.

I am working on a rather impressive blog post but it's taking time because I want to do this right.

In the mean time I have ten works that I need to try to finish at some point.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Thought on Names

My Elven book contains names that I created at the age of 13. Why am I keeping them? Because they fit the characters and can be outlandish enough to be considered Elven names.

The thing is some of my characters have outlandishly long names that are generally saved for formal or 'you're in trouble' moments.

Take the MC and his twin brother.

Trebonistanthilis and Kristonistanthilis

Similar names, identical appearances what's the catch?

They use short names.

Trebon and Kris

Although I didn't realize it at first, as I get to know Trebon specifically I've come to realize that their short names actually say a lot about them.

Trebon, the somewhat speciesist (like racist but with species) younger brother
Kris, the more open minded (in this instance) older brother

Trebon doesn't shorten his name to 'Trey', which he could. I don't remember why originally, but it makes sense now. Trebon grew up in an isolated, nomadic warrior society that puts a lot of emphasis on purity of birth, strong traditions and faith. Kris, while also isolated, was raised with tutors who left him open to the concept that he shares his world with Humans and they aren't all bad.

Later on, Trebon does take on the name 'Trey' for the purpose of hiding. (Long story, Gods and Magic involved) but at the time he does that he also is spending a great deal of time amongst Humans and learning to understand and respect them. He doesn't think of himself as 'Trey', but he's not so snaptastic about being called 'Trey' as he was in the beginning.

Kris, on the other hand, could have used Kriston, but he doesn't. He uses Kris. (Point in fact 'Kriston' was the nickname used by his ultimate namesake before the deconstruction of Elven society occurred) Kris never really had an issue with Humans because he's been raised that way.

It's all in the names, and I never actually realized it. It's why the brothers have names like Kenilias (Ken), Kerilias (Kerry) and Rubelation (Rube), and Trebon's guards are Andalon (Andy) but the other Cailiyan might occasionally be called Cai, he doesn't have a short name he prefers.

I could go into other names and what they say about their characters. (Blog of an Ex-Teenage Superhero comes to mind especially or even AKBF) but I'd rather not since I haven't put as much development into the Blog or AKBF yet that went into the Elven Story.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

To read writing books...

Yes, I do read writing books. Some of them I put aside because I don't particularly like the style, and some I rather enjoy. It amuses me though, because a lot of them talk about the importance of social networking. It scares me because me and social networking are not friends. We aren't even acquaintances. Ok, that's an exaggeration. The truth is, I might have a Tumblr, LiveJournal, Dreamwidth, Twitter, and Facebook account, but I don't actually use them. Not the way a lot of people do. I know that my Tumblr stuff goes to Twitter, and for some reason that makes people think they want to follow me, and I know my LJ and DW are crossposting (or are supposed to be crossposting). Facebook just sits off on it's lonesome now that I've got bored with playing games over there.

The latest book I've been reading, and one I really liked is 'How To Be A Writer In The E-Age And Keep Your Sanity', By Catherine Ryan Hide & Anne R Allen. I recommend this book for people who want to be writers because it's rather awesome. This joins one other book as a default recommendation at the moment, and the other book is "Sometimes The Magic Works, Lessons Of A Writing Life" By Terry Brooks, who numbers as one of my three role models in the publishing industry.

What I get out of these books mostly are ideas of how to do what I'm already doing better, and renewed confidence that I can do this, that I can be a great writer if I push myself hard enough. I just have to keep putting one word after the other until I can see the story for what it is.

I think the most important thing about reading books on writing is that at the end of it, you are the only one who can decide if a book works for you or not. You are the one who has to figure out what to take out of the book, and what to leave because it doesn't work for you.

For me, that means, learning to write an actual blog. Usually this will be about writing. This isn't my diary (really, you don't want to read that,) this is just a way for people to see me evolve and celebrate. Maybe I'll even get brave enough to post something on Twitter soon.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Camp NaNo August 2012

On day two of this most interesting challenge, to write 50,000 words in 30 days, I find myself in good position. I have already written over 5,000 words and I think I'm going to write so more in a few minutes. I'm working on Warrior's Rage, which I also called the Elven Fic.

I've decided for NaNo to write this particular rough draft because if ever there was a story I knew front to back and side to side, it's this one.

I also decided to just tell the stupid story as I see fit and I can fix it in the next draft.

Which is why scene (chapter?) 1 is written in a completely different form of pov than scene 2. I intend to just write this, learn about the characters and make notes on my plot ideas as I go along. I have eighteen scenes to write, which means I need to strive for between 2500 and 2750 words per to achieve the stated goal.

I anticipate more to go into the story after I've written the pivotal scenes.

Not to mention I really haven't figured out what they spend fifty years studying at the sequestered palace. I know they don't start studying riding until age 40, and weapons at age 45, but what about earlier? I picture Elves developing through baby/toddler/childhood at the same rate as a Human child, but to then mature through adolescence on the long track.

I'm using Scrivner to work all that out, and I fully intend to use it to organize the drafts later, when I'm in the revisions, so that I can see what I started with, what I've changed, and where I need to go.

Honestly, I think Scrivener is going to be an awesome assistant to writing this novel just because I can stop, write out some thought or idea, and then go back to writing without going crazy. I prefer to write the novel itself in Word at this time, but that's just a personal preference.

I'm sure as I become more adjusted to using Scrivener I'll actually use it more, but the editing features in Word are, at the moment, far superior to Scrivener

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Always on my mind

Setting aside the childrens' books, it's a week away from the beginning of Camp NaNoWriMo the August edition.

Originally, I was going to write Highband Honor the sequel to A Killer Best Friend, but I'm not. I've decided to bring up an old but good story, Warrior's Rage. I keep trying to write this story, it's been fifteen years, you'd think I'd have a passable rough draft at least.

We'll see if I can hammer out Warrior's Rage for August. Then it'll be a toss up of "Finish Gemini" "Finigh Highband Honor" and "Write King's Peace" for NaNoWriMo. I'll probably do a combo of all three, now that I think of it.

It's amazing how my writing tends to become so sporadic when it comes to original fic. I guess it's because it's not as instant gratification as fanfiction. Oh well. I'll keep adding words, maybe, some day, I'll get the groove figured out.

Until then.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Just some updates

Did some research about the books I want to compete with. Figured it would be five books. Each books focuses specifically on two characters, but all ten characters play a greater or lesser role in the stories. Definitly sticking to the series title though. I kind of like it.

Note to self: GOOGLE THE TITLE!

Trying to decide if I want to do something with a touch of social commentary in there or not. Don't want to loose my readers on the last book, but I just want to present this concept without problems.

Also, note to self: WORK ON BIG PEOPLE NOVELS!

Didn't write adult becuase that sort of implies a level of maturity I donn't necessarily advocate.

That's about all I have to say right now. :)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Back Again

Look, here I am again. I guess I found something to say for a change. Today, I devoted all day to working out the kinks to an 'easy reader' children's book. Now, I'm working on the rewrite, pulling some things, adding others, and generally sure that this is going to be a horrible project.


Because I can think of three stories for this series, and I'm terrified they would want more.
Because what do I know about writing for the under-10 catagory?
Because I now have to seek out an agent willing to take a chance on me.

I'm excited because, again, I can think of three stories off the top of my head and I want to find more.
Because I'm doing something new and dangerous, mostly because I can.
Because getting an agent is an important part of being a seriously published author.

I'm going to sit down and write out the next book in the series here soon, and then wrap up with the third. I call the series The Toybox Gang, both because of the prominance of magical stuffed animals, and because of the relative age of the kids.

Wait, I have a fourth story! I almost forgot about that one. It started the whole idea of magical toys after all.

So that's four stories. One written, three additional concieved.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Do you see this? This is how long it takes me to care that I have a blog and write something. I really need to get better at this. Maybe if I made it a really annoying reminder? Who knows (NOT ME!). I'm so deep in not caring at the moment that it ain't even funny.

Working on a kid's story to compliment The Gemini and Highband Honor. Hope to have a first draft done by tonight.