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:
According to my research, brown eyes are the most comon eye color with blue being second most common. Hazel and amber, not to be confused with each other, are also more common than rare. Green and grey are the rare colors. This leaves red and violet. According to the reading I've done on the subject, red and violet eyes are found in cases of albinoism.
Unless your character is an albino or an alien, they can have blue eyes that look violet, but not true-violet eyes. Sorry, it's science.
Black hair is stated to be the most common hair color although there is technically no black hair, only very dark brown.
Brown hair is probably the easist hair color to work with, all you have to do is say brunette and people get that.
Blond hair is probably the most variable in color, ranging from white-blond to dark gold. The rarest form of blond is the strawberry blond, which mixes red and blond.
Auburn hair is the hair that falls under "reddish brown".
Chesnut hair, on the other hand, tends towards the darker red browns, but is considered a sepperate range of shades
Red hair, being the rares of shades in the world, ranges from the afformentioned strawberry blond to titian and includes copper. Often also refered to as carrot tops. 1-2% of the world has red hair, with the predominate number living in or being from Scottland and Ireland.
Grey and white hair is, in truth, the absence of pigmentation and not an actual coloration. It typically happens as a person ages although it can start as early as ten.
I don't know that I can say much about this beyond saying that if you have blue or green skin on a permanent basis, you probably aren't Earthian human, sorry. Although if someone wants to disprove this theory, you're welcome to do so in the comments!
Mary Sues are known for being exceptional. Pretty, beautiful, ugly, it doesnt' really matter as long as it stands out seems to be the by word.
I feel that this can be unfair because some people are, to put it simply, beautiful. Beauty by itself should not be the byword for a Mary Sue because it invalidates a lot of characters that are otherwise well crafted.
The trick to handling a beautiful character, however, is to not flaunt that beauty at every occasion.
If you have a character who is a model, that's great, but they don't have to always be at the height of fashion and beautiful. Have fun, write a scene where they spend the whole time in a ratty pair of sweats and their dad's college shirt.
What I'm trying to say is to write your characters as human.
Next is my thoughts on Mary Sue: exceptional talents.