Episode 526 A return to Mary Sue!

Apr 12, 2021

Mary Sues are always a fun topic! There are some misconceptions about them though… Mary Sues aren't all female, they can be any gender. Being super powerful or super popular or super pretty etc doesn't equal a Mary Sue, not even if your character super stands out next to all the others, those things ONLY indicate they might possibly be one. What equals a Mary Sue is a character that doesn't have to struggle very hard for anything, a character that is almost universally admired, and or loved (even by the enemy), a character that masters hard skills with ease and ends up teaching the teachers and beating the masters, a character that's destined to succeed and does in spite of internal story logic… All these things and more can add up to make a Mary Sue.

Topics and Show Notes

It's why Batman and Superman are NOT automatically Mary Sues even though they stand out and have super powers/abilities/skills. They have a million stories about how they face challenges, how they get people killed, how they lose powers, how people hate them etc. They could be Mary Sues only if they had bad writers.

Rei from the new Star Wars movies is a classic Mary Sue, although very well acted by the awesome Daisy Ridley, she doesn't face any serious struggles in her straight line trajectory to success, she defeats all enemies with ease, masters every skill better than all masters, and is destined to win. So even though she doesn't stand out aesthetically or physically, she qualifies. Similarly, Rick from Rick and Morty can be a bit of a Mary Sue in some stories in that he rarely faces real challenges because he's worked out everything beforehand. Whenever things seem to be going wrong for him you realise he's already engineered the situation so he can win, this makes him less compelling as a character, less immersive and believable.. You find out that even the social challenges he seems to face in some episodes were actually pre-engineered by him to reach exactly the conclusion they did.

The important point there is that it's only in SOME stories. Any character than be a Mary Sue if the writing fails them. but that doesn't mean that's what they always are! The classic story characters from the late 19th century Sherlock Holmes the super detective and Raffles the gentleman thief can be Mary Sues: over-powered and working to imbalance their story environments, but only at times.

This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Last Child of Gluttony: White lines flash past as your knee comes close to the road… your bike roars as you lean into the curve. The road is a blur of speedlines. Red lights flash bright in front of you, tailing off behind as you whip past them. You’re king of the road, no one can catch you. This music evokes speed, night, racing, roads and heat!

Topics and shownotes

Banes' Mary Sue newspost - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2021/apr/06/the-bestest-evar/

Our old Mary Sue Quackcast - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/quackcast/episode-211-how-mary-sure-are-you/

Featured comic:
Hierarchy - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2021/apr/06/featured-comic-hierarchy/

Featured Music:
Last Child of Gluttony - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Last_Child_Of_Gluttony_/ - by Cdmalcolm1, rated M.

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
Pitface - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/PIT_FACE/
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
kawaiidaigakusei - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/kawaiidaigakusei/
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/banes

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Episode 524 - Empathy

Mar 28, 2021

4 likes, 0 comments

Image credit: There's Something About Mary, 20th Century Fox. Empathy is like sympathy but you don't think about it. It's what happens when you see someone get hurt and you wince in pain watching them, it's when you see a really uncomfortable moment in a sitcom like The Office and you cringe, It's when you feel sad when the characters are sad about something. Empathy is an important tool for audience immersion- if they're feeling that strongly for the characters then you've got them invested in your story! Funny story… the topic of this Quackcast was inspired by us talking about the risks of “going commando” and the fact that it can happen to women as well as men. This led us to go looking for photographic and video proof, as you do… and what we saw gave us instant empathy for the poor unfortunate. Hence the Quackcast topic ;) This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to PleaseRewind: Quiet threat, creepy, seeping, strumming, thrumbing, coming CLOSER, inside, peering around, waiting to begin. This is a quiet track filled with an undertone of urgency suggested by the constant quick rhythm and lonely guitar.

Episode 495 - A fan of fanfiction?

Sep 7, 2020

3 likes, 0 comments

Fanfiction is a massive subject, there are so many aspects to it, from the bad stuff with the Mary Sues, rampant shipping, author inserts and wish fulfilment etc to homages and great works that extend the story and characters beyond what they were in the original and add interesting and fun aspects to fan favourites. There are many good reasons to do fanfiction: It's fun, you're inspired and want to use that inspiration, all the characteristics of the story are readymade so you don't have to do world building or character development, the work has a built in audience so you're going to have readers no matter what and hopefully some feedback, it can help make you more popular as a creator because of the fans of the original work, and you get to experiment because you can't sell the work or do anything serious with it so you may as well have fun and enjoy it!

Episode 473 - Genre vs Setting

Apr 5, 2020

3 likes, 3 comments

In this Quackcast we talk about the differences between genre and setting and what genre really is. For instance: Fantasy and SciFi aren't genres, they're settings… Mostly. It's complicated but they both pretty much USED to be genres, now they're mainly just settings for genre stories to take place in. What does that mean? Well, Fantasy wasn't even considered a genre back in the day, not really till after the success of Tolkien. Later on a lot of writers began using that same style and consumers really wanted it, so it became a “genre”. It was only later on when it graduated out of that to become a setting that has genre stories set within it.

Episode 471 - Fantasy

Mar 23, 2020

2 likes, 0 comments

Today we're having a chat about fantasy fiction! Mainly books and the fantasy writing that inspired us and that we love! Faves like Tolkien, Fritz Leiber and Piers Anthony! Just to define, we're talking swords, elves, armour, dragons etc, in a “medieval” context, generally European. As a subset there's native, Arabian, Asian, Mayan etc, also high fantasy, low fantasy, sword and sorcery, historical fantasy and even mythology…. And then techno fantasy, contemporary fantasy, steampunk, fantasy cyberpunk and so on… but we mainly stick to the mainstream stuff and only just touch on the weird little variations for now.

Episode 404 - Strong characters

Dec 10, 2018

3 likes, 0 comments

We mined Tantz's Saturday newspost for our discussion topic: Strong characters and how to write GOOD ones! What is a strong character? Well it has nothing to do with physical ability, power, command, or anything so obvious and trite. Strong characters are well rounded and well realised, they're often active and opposed to reactive, they make things happen, the story hinges on them. Failed attempts at “strong” characters or obvious and often result in Mary Sues, whether male or female. People hand them traits that they THINK will make the character strong: make them a general, make them a great fighter, make them royalty etc. The problem comes when none of that is ever logically backed up in the story. You can't just title a character something or have other characters talk about how great they are without having them demonstrate a reason for it, or else all you have is a pathetic paper tiger and a really shizzy failed part of your story.

Episode 351 - PLAY time

Dec 5, 2017

3 likes, 0 comments

We asked for scripts and we got 'em! We have five different scripts in this Quackcast performed by the Quackcast players: A realistic, dramatic one to start with Usedbooks where murder is on the menu. Yuki, played by Pitface, is doing a bit of detective work, questioning her dangerous brother Lee, played by Banes. Crater's Edge gives up a dose of fantasy and monsters. Keego, played by Ozoneocean, is a young boy looking after his ailing mother, played by Tantz Aerine. Daryl and Susie is all about gentle comedy. Daryl, played by Pitface, is a dragon with monsters in his head and he lives with a mischievous 9 year old girl named Susie, played by Banes. Constellation Chronicles gives us dark, scary SciFi. Wainwright, played by Ozoneocean, with Marcel, played by Tantz, are two astronauts investigating a mysterious distress signal from an old drifting derelict space hulk… We finish up with The KAMics for a dose of satirical comedy! It's awards time at the Muzzy Mallard and Rosemary, played by Tantz, and Beth, played by Pit, are up for some honours… or are they? It was a lot of fun to act these out! We can't wait to do more. They all have SFX and we've tried to do as good a job as possible on them. Please send us more scripts based on your comics so we can bring your work to life, just contact me directly to find where to send them! Have a look at the link to the newspost on scripts bellow to know what to include with your script. This week Gunwallce has given us the theme to The Cosmic Star: Fly on out into the deepest reaches of far outer space with us. This tune will groove you on out there smoothly, past glittering star systems and vast, swirling galaxies. Just lie back, get comfortable, relax, close your eyes and let the universe roll on by…

Episode 314 - The failure of heroes

Mar 13, 2017

5 likes, 3 comments

When heroes fail… Hey, why would you ever want a hero to fail? Well there are a lot of reasons and listening to this Quackcast will tell you why, but the quick version is that you don't want your hero to be a perfect Mary-Sue sort of character. Having your hero fail in their goals means you have somewhere interesting to go with your story. Having your hero fail emotionally means you can give them character development and make them more interesting. If you want to learn more then either listen to us or have a look at Tantz's newspost where I took the idea from! Our music this week from our resident composer Gunwallace is a theme to The World Outside of Time. It evokes a cold, echoing club scene, bleak and icy, with the promise of brief companionship, but not the reality.


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