Whew, having some trouble getting going this morning. Of course, I was completely wiped by the end of the day yesterday, so it’s to be expected, I suppose, that this morning would start out slowly.
I think I’ve had a creative breakthrough, at last. Putting my short story out for critiques and getting just two critiques back was enough to put me on a new path, one in which I’m letting more of my personality shine through. When I said I had been holding back yesterday, that’s exactly what was going on – I realized that I had been keeping an element of self away from the writing. Mary said that she thinks a lot of writers do that in order to avoid the dreaded Mary Sue, and I know I’m guilty of that. I wanted to keep so much of myself divorced from the story itself that I think it’s rendered the atmosphere of my characters sterile. Here’s a constructive example of what I’m talking about.
First, the pre-edit paragraph:
“Only if I want to look great. What about it?” Grimmy had always been on my side, so I was curious if they had swayed her to their shit, even a little. Of course, I didn’t know what I would do if they had. Adolescence in Savannah had been nothing short of hell; the assholes there must have known I could them whispering behind my back, talking shit about every single thing I wore, the way I talked, the way I looked. So what if I did like the way my ass looked in hot pants? As for the family, my sexuality remained the question of their existence, a quandary for their goddamn Southern honor: how could the scion be a limp-wristed little faggot who bopped around town without any shame? Could my heathen mother be to blame?
I wondered if the family had swayed her to their ridiculous view of things. Like them, did she see my sexuality as the question of her existence, a challenge for her goddamn Southern honor?
See the difference there? I think it’s really a question of personalization. It’s hard to explain exactly what’s clicked for me, except that, paradoxically, I’m starting to be able to let my characters speak for themselves and not get in the way – so simultaneously I’m both injecting more of myself into the story and letting the characters drive things. Although since I created the characters, I guess that’s not such a paradox.
Speaking of Mary Sue, I just learned the term Canon Sue; that is, a canon character who acts like a Mary Sue. The list of the different Canon Sues on that page cracks me up:
- Anti Sue
- Copy Cat Sue
- Fixer Sue
- God Mode Sue
- Jerk Sue
- Parody Sue
- Purity Sue
- Relationship Sue
- Sympathetic Sue
- Villain Sue