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 499 - Life's worth?!

Oct 5, 2020

5 likes, 0 comments

What is the worth of human life in your stories? This isn't something people often consider, we just tend to have a fairly accurate guess based on our experience of the real world, but sometimes stories get it really wrong and that can harm suspension of disbelief.

Episode 491 - Getting retro right!

Aug 10, 2020

3 likes, 2 comments

DD member Furwerk Studios posted in our forum about how annoying it was that movies try and do an 80s retro thing often get things totally wrong and end up looking dumb because of it: Not just superficial looks-wise but stylistically too in terms of the kinds of shots they do, lighting and story structure. I thought that'd make an interesting topic for a cast! Why do people often mess up retro stuff? We're not talking about historical accuracy here, that's slightly different, what we're talking about is setting something in an era and getting the “feel” of that era right. It pays off hugely when it works, but when it doesn't it comes off as superficial, disappointing and ignorant.

Episode 482 - 2n Guess

Jun 7, 2020

2 likes, 2 comments

Tantz's newspost on Saturday about the problems of second guessing yourself and the issues that can arise from that was the inspiration for this week's newspost. Second guessing yourself can have GOOD possibilities and negative ones. The good: it forces you to hone your creative work and improve it, you don't just put things out there, you evaluate them and improve them! The bad: you can get stuck in a loop where you keep on thinking your stuff is not good enough, you might get hung up on one little thing and never move past it.

Episode 481 - Fun with history?

May 31, 2020

4 likes, 0 comments

Today we're chatting about using historical stuff in your story and knowing how to use it right! Sometimes it's good to change stuff and sometimes it's not. The thing is that you should ONLY change it if you know what you're doing and why you're doing it. A good example is A Knight's Tale- It has a historical setting and there are a lot of deliberate historical anachronisms in it, and they're all very obvious, they do not pretend to be anything but what they are.

Episode 479 - Big ideas in fiction

May 18, 2020

4 likes, 0 comments

My original idea for this Quackcast was: “Genre fiction is the best place to explore ideas, straight fiction doesn't do it as well” What I meant was that diverting from straight reality in fiction makes it easier to conceptualise, simplify and explain complicated ideas to a general audience for a whole number of reasons. There was some disagreement between Tantz and I because I expressed myself poorly so she'd thought that I was saying it was much easier to write SciFi and fantasy (Genre fiction), and it was easier to write about big ideas, while straight fiction wasn't good for that- Which is fair enough! My initial statement is so badly worded that's a valid interpretation! Fortunately Banes and Pit were on hand to smooth things out and explain things properly. Pit mediated between us and Banes conceptualised my concept FAR, far better than I did! Unfortunately you don't get much of that disagreement on the Quackcast. You DO get a bit of it on the PATREON only video however ^_^

Episode 475 - Tropeagedden! overuse of fashionable tropes...

Apr 20, 2020

4 likes, 3 comments

Certain tropes or stylistic ways of telling a story can get really, really popular and trendy very quickly and it seems like they're everywhere! Suddenly many story are all told with the same sort of stylistic flourishes. The first few times it's done that way it's clever and meaningful but after that people just use the same thing without understanding it properly and consequently usually do a really crappy job!

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.


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