Author has written 7 stories for Eureka, X-Men: Evolution, Simpsons, Pokémon, Teen Titans, and Ben 10.
Hi, MysteryAgain here! Honestly, my profile section was a little bare, so I had to write in some stuff. I'm a college student, and I love designing superhero OCs! Often, I'll take a look at other stories and try to offer constructive reviews. I appreciate it when people do the same for me. :) Learning to become a better writer is what this site's about, isn't it?
I tend to check the X-men: Evolution and the Teen Titans categories most often. I think OC stories are interesting, but I'm also trying to help combat a certain problem that goes by the name, "Mary Sue." I also love humor stories - they make me laugh. :)
I keep on trying to formulate some sort of OC story, but my muse isn't very cooperative. :( Though, I've been told there are authors here who like to do joint projects to help get through that. I like the idea of trying to do one of those. :)
You may be asking, "Why the Unown in my avatar?" Because Unowns are cool, that's why! :P
A Little Info About Mary Sues:
If you ask different people what a Mary Sue is, you'll get different answers. There is no set definition. Most often, they are thought of as characters that are too perfect to be realistic. Another view is that they are simply poorly-written characters. Most of them show up in stories written by younger, less experienced authors. What probably happens is that the author, wanting their character to be liked, tries to cram everything they like into the character. What typically results is some unnatural character that represents what the author wants to be.
Here's a few general Sue traits to keep in mind. Remember, there's no set standard, therefore some of these characteristics may not necessarily make a Sue. Sometimes, it's not even the character concept itself, but rather, the way the character was written that makes an OC a Sue.
-Really overly fancy or weird names that don't fit the canon (ie. Amethyst Gabriella Iris Holmes in a Teen Titans fic). Not the most horrifying trait an OC can have, but sticks out if the canon characters have more common sounding names, like Victor Stone or Jean Grey. To help your character blend into the canon universe, I'd recommend sticking with whatever types of names the story uses. For example, for X-men Evolution OCs, something like Ron Collins would suffice, while for My Little Pony OCs, it would be out of place.
-Excessively beautiful appearance. I get it, almost no one wants their character to be ugly. In fact, there's nothing wrong with creating a character that can be considered attractive. However, red flags pop up if the author uses terms like "flowing ebony tresses" and "shimmering emerald eyes" over and over again when "long black hair" and "green eyes" would have worked just fine. Also, if the description of the OC mentions curves or cup size, that tends to turn off readers (even more so if the character's a teenager). Keep appearances realistic (Well, realistic for the setting).
-Pasts that are absurdly tragic. This includes things like losing a parent/friend/romantic interest, abuse, and rape. Or, more frequently seen with Sues, several tragic events stacked on top of each other. There's nothing wrong with having some event in their past, and it can even make a powerful plot point, but the character should act appropriately, and it should not be brought up just to make the canon characters ooze sympathy. After all, there are canon characters with tragic pasts (like Scott Summers and Robin), and they don't whine about it all the time. For abuse and rape especially, it helps to do research. Otherwise, an inaccurate depiction could come off as an insult to those who've experienced such events.
-Godly powers and skills. Sues tend to have so much of them that they solve problems way too easily and make other characters, both good and bad guys, look useless. It's best to keep their power and skill levels on par with the canon characters. And please please please don't introduce your OC to the Teen Titans by having them beat up a baddie without effort. It's so cliche.
-The Sue may have no personality flaws. Let's face it: no one's perfect. Character flaws are a necessity for believable OCs. It helps to consider the downsides a positive personality trait might have. Maybe an intelligent character is also conceited. Perhaps a light-hearted jokester doesn't take something important as seriously as he or she should. Having flaws like those cause issues for your character is what makes the character real. As a side note, clumsiness can be an amusing trait, but it is not a good flaw.
-All characters like the Sue. If they don't, they are either evil or will like the Sue in the end. This even is seen when the Sue is a complete jerk to everyone. Let friendships and romances play out at a natural pace; it'll make a lot more sense.
-The Sue is created to be paired with a canon character. OCxCanon relationships can work, but the relationship needs to progress naturally and in an in-character fashion. What tends to happen with Sues is that they show up, and the canon character of the writer's choice falls for them instantly (and often in an out of character fashion). After that, there often no plot. If there is, it frequently involves the canon character's insanely jealous "ex" trying to get in the way of the OC to keep the canon character for herself.
-Canons act out of character. This is one of the worst things that can happen. People don't like it if Starfire degenerates into a jealous #$@$ because an OC is getting too close to Robin, if Nightcrawler acts... em... less gentlemanly than he does in the canon, or if Slade becomes an incompetent buffoon that's easily trounced.
-Everything revolves around the Sue. If an OC is, say, fighting a baddie, don't make the canon characters just stand there and watch! While an OC can be the main character in a story, the canon characters shouldn't be ignored. They will have their own in-character responses to the situation, as well as the OC's actions.
Again, this list is not complete nor final. But, I hope this helps people. I'm open to PMs if anyone has questions or comments about this. If you've read this, think it is helpful, and want to copy it onto your profile, be my guest! :)
Other Stuff that Might Help a Story:
-Grammar, grammar, grammar, a lot rests on the grammar. The more typo-ridden a story is, the more painful it is to read. Proofreading helps! My advice is to make your story something that you wouldn't be ashamed to turn into your English teacher. I know grammar isn't everybody's strong suit, especially if you have dyslexia or something else that makes catching errors difficult, but those of you who nag reviewers in your author's notes to not bug you about spelling just send them the message that you're not trying. There are plenty of Beta readers that can help (And I'm one of them). :)
-Big walls of text make readers tremble in fear. It helps tremendously if the story has paragraphs. Also, it's good form to start a new paragraph each time you change speakers.
-The summary is what makes people decide if they want to read a story. Again, proper grammar helps. On a different note, summaries like "I suck at summaries. Please read," and "I wrote this awesome story. Read it," do a disservice.
-Begging for reviews is a don't. Most people don't like it if a writer holds their story hostage by refusing to add another chapter until they get X amount of reviews. Politely asking for reviewer's thoughts in an author's note is a good way to get honest critique. :)
Unsafe External Link