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Steam Unicorn by IscaRedspider

Well,as my first critique, I'm probably going to be bad at this, but, here I go. I really liked the overall design. I thought it was a ...


Character Detail Hierarchy by Panhead13
Character Detail Hierarchy
I did this up in Paint. Comment if you have questions...This is also listed in order of importance, and foundation.

    Introduction: Character Basics and Mary Sues (Names and Hierarchy of Details)

    Characters. Without them, a story wouldn't be a story. Without them, we'd have no emotional investment in a novel. We wouldn't see the hero give the villain his comeuppance, mainly because neither the hero or the villain exist. So, yeah, trust me, characters are important. 
    Yet the internet is chock-filled with bad characters, unlikable heroes, bizarrely psychotic villains, and (GASP!) Mary Sues. However, one thing I find is that while everyone agrees that Mary Sues are bad, there are one fallacy and one lack of definition that I find most troubling.
  1. The Lack of a Definition: No one can get a solid definition on Mary Sue-dom.
  2. The Fallacy: All Mary Sues are bad characters (True), therefore, all bad characters are Mary Sues (False!)
    So, as I stated the two issues with characters and Mary Sues, we can correct these. First, we shall start with a definition of Mary Sues. This, while it's easy on the surface, is a lot harder to do in practice. "I know it when I see it" tends to apply to Mary Sues, as each and every case is different. But, however, I think I have a definition that is both exact enough to describe them as a whole, yet vague enough to allow for the changes that make fiction so diverse.
  • Mary Sue: A character, either in fanfiction or original fiction, that disrupts and/or breaks the willing suspension of disbelief.
    What exactly does this mean? What are the ramifications of this Divine Authorial Revelation? Well, after I get over my shameless self-flattery, we can break this down into component parts that explain this.
  • Mary Sue: A character, -Why, you wonder, am I starting with what seems to be the blatantly obvious? It's to differentiate from the Mary Sue's older brother, Deus ex Machina. Deus ex Machina is an event where everything is fixed by a hand wave, or the introduction of an all powerful character (The Deus, or God). Deus ex Machina is an event, not the character. The Mary Sue may implement the Deus ex Machina, but they are separate literary entities.
  • either in fanfiction or original fiction, -Many people argue that Mary Sues are only present in fanfiction; all other media have only bad characters, not Mary Sues. This, I find is not true. While some argue that a Mary Sue has to break canon in whatever world it is in, and that doesn't happen in original fiction, I can point out several instances in original fiction where "canon" is broken.
  • that disrupts and/or breaks the willing suspension of disbelief. -This is the crux of a Mary Sue. They are, at their core, massive glitches that disrupt the flow of a story. They make the reader go, "No, that isn't possible!" or, "No, that couldn't happen!" Once the reader thinks that, it's game over.
    Literature's job is to entertain. And unless a story is making fun of a Mary Sue, Mary Sues detract from this. This is in everything from stories to chat-based roleplay. However, the internet, while being filled with Mary Sues, is also filled with bad characters. What's the difference? I see it as a level of magnitude. Bad characters may not break the willing suspension of disbelief, but they fall flat when truly exposed to the harsh light of scrutiny. As such, with skills to locate Mary Sues, one can find normal Bad characters.
    For this, I'll be creating two characters for a chat roleplay group I'm in, :icona-world-divided: (My group). Now, don't worry. I'll be approaching this from two angles per chaacter; a story-based, literary angle, and a chatroom-based, roleplay angle. We'll make two characters, one a fleshed-out, realized character, and one a Mary Sue, though we'll be doing it in different ways. Both will be female, to show the contrasts between a good character and a Mary Sue.
    So...lets start with the second most important part of a character; names!
    Woah, woah, second most important? Why, you may ask? While it isn't the first most important thing for a character, but it is one of the first signs of a Mary Sue. How, you may ask? (And stop asking "how." We're on a schedule here). Well, let's see if you can guess. I'll show you the names of the two characters, in Exhibit A and Exhibit B. You, the jury, are going to guess which one is the Mary Sue.

    Exhibit A: Jasna Kira Halcyonis
    Exhibit B: Jessalina Sparklemaker Buttercup-Kawaii Moonflower.

    If you said Exhibit A, and you didn't read Exhibit B, that could be understandable. Jasna isn't a common Western name (By Western, I mean Western culture. England, France, America, etc.). However, if you said Exhibit A after reading both, go read My Immortal.
    If you answered with Exhibit B, you win the prize! Ten bonus points to you! (Not dA points. Bonus points. At the end of the year, you can cash them in for a whole lot of nothing) Mary Sues often have extremely exotic and/or unusual names, showing how "special' they are. Oftentimes, because of culture's obsession with Japanese, these names have random Japanese in them. Don't.
    Choose names
    Now, onto the big things.

    Panhead13's Hierarchy of Details

    What is this "hierarchy?" Well, it's my ranking of different aspects of a character. I break it up into a few groups with a simple chart. A chart, you ask? Yes, I whipped it up in Chemistry class on MS Paint, and please hold all questions till the end of part one.
Hierarchy by Panhead13
    Wow. It's big, and it's, in my mind, kind of simple. We break a character down into five groups. History, Skills, Temperament, Limitations, and Details.
  • History is the big one. It is the FOUNDATION for everything above it. EVERYTHING comes from History.
  • Skills and Knowledge are things your character knows. Whether it's how to use a sword (And how good they are at it), how to hotwire a car, how to talk a mob down into submission. They learned them in their History.
  • Temperament-This is their personality. How they act alone, how they act to others, their views on life, their likes and dislikes. These are from past experiences, whether a traumatic event or a past you, it's up to them
  • Limitations and Talents are the things your character can and can't do. It builds off their fears, their skills, their personality, and, you guessed it, their history.
  • Finally, Details. Things like age, names, and other things that are either unimportant to the overall character, or hinge upon EVERYTHING ELSE (Age especially).
    So, we'd start at the history, right? Build it from the bottom up? Nope! We start in the bottom middle. And first, we must ask, "What do I want from my character?" Part Two will continue, and we will begin to build Jasna. I'll do it right next to you.
Copy and paste to a document, and either leave it as a or as a Literature deviation, NOT as a comment.


Character Class: (Either Story or Casual. Story characters are the "main characters" and are required to be on during events they're in (Exceptions can be made) while Casual characters are made for the fun of the RP)

City of Current Residence:

History: (This should cover their early life, teenage years, adult years (If they're an adult), and when they got their power in the Event (Rarely are characters able to Awaken powers pre-Event. See mods if you want to. But be warned -we will most likely decline you)
Personality: (This is tied to the History)

(What side are they on?)
Rank: (What's their job in the faction?)

Combat Skills: (Weapons, fighting styles, etc. Anything about how they fight)
Social Skills: (How they talk, work, and interact with others(Are they calm and collected? Do they use intellect? Charisma?) Cover any interaction, or method of interaction)
Mental Skills: (Intelligence, knowledgeable subjects, and anything non-social)
General Strengths:
General Weaknesses:

Gene-Positive? (Either Yes or No)
Ability Class: (If Gene-Negative, don't fill out. If Gene-Positive, either Transformation (Shapeshifting of some form), Manipulation (think your standard -kinesis powers), Generation(Able to create from energy), Enhancement (Taking a pre-existing attribute (Strength) and amplifying it beyond mundane possibility, or Other)
Ability Name: 
Ability Description: (If Gene-Negative, don't fill out. If Gene-Positive, describe the ability, it's strengths, common tactics, weaknesses and limitations)

I have just finished the Wheel of Time series. How does one explain it? How can one truly show, or write, something that changes them? In a way, it reminds me of my faith. There isn't a way to quantify the feelings, but they are too strong to be simply ignored. Such is my faith, and such were the feelings as I turned the final pages of A Memory of Light.
  The story left me breathless.  Stories of this scale are few and far between, and for good reason. Crafting a masterpiece like this is no easy task. Two people -Original author Robert Jordan and cover artist Darrell Sweet_ have passed away as the Wheel turned. Brandon Sanderson, one of my favorite authors, finished the epic saga, and Michael Whelan did a phenomenal job on the cover of A Memory of Light. It took me around a year to finish it.
  But those days were some of my favorite days. I walked the mysterious hallsof Tar Valon, climbed the treacherous peak of Dragonmount, and saw the Last Battle, Tarmon Gai'don, fought at Shayol Ghul. I watched people grow up (Or in Mat's case, fail to do so :) ). I saw battles fought, I saw kingdoms fall, and I saw men and women rise above what the world told them they were.
  This series is epic in every sense of the word. It has changed me, influenced my writing. I hope that my books are a mere shadow of what the Wheel of Time was.
  I've walked the path of the three ta'veren, and I shall do it again, many times in the future. I walked it with those characters; they have become something more, something that will be a part of me forever.
  Weave on, Wheel of Time!


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Artist | Student | Varied
United States
Always loved to draw, and always will.

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portuguesedevil Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
hey! guess what I found along my walks on the college campus? : D
Panhead13 Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2014  Student General Artist
....a frog.
portuguesedevil Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
....yeah. I already told you in the chat XD
portuguesedevil Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
any news yet?
Panhead13 Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2014  Student General Artist
No. I'm in chat.
portuguesedevil Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm creating my new character right now! : D
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portuguesedevil Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I finally finished the drawing part. now all I have to do is color it and upload it.
Panhead13 Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2014  Student General Artist
Awesome. Hope you're better.
portuguesedevil Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
noodles : D
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