Defining Character: the Mary Sue

If you think there’s going to be any rhyme or reason to these posts, then you’re sadly mistaken.

Today, after looking at some things, I wanted to talk about character types. Or to be more exact, one particular character type: The Mary Sue. I’m sure many people have heard of the Mary Sue and have hated the Mary Sue. And because of this hatred I feel it’s necessary to talk about her, or him. At…

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Where Does the Writer End and the Person Begin?

I used to write serial crime fiction for a site owned by America Online. When I was first hired for the gig, I was told my employers wanted something like Armistead Maupin’s serialized Tales of the City which ran as installments in the San Francisco Chronicle in the Seventies. One of the ongoing storylines in my series, NoHo Noir, involved a character who was a homophobic cop with sexual identity…

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Myth as Container

Myth as Container by Elizabeth Sharp McKetta #memoir #writing

For so many writers of life stories, the container is the hardest part. Where to start? Where to end? Our lives are too big, if they are any good, to be contained in a box of a story. Furthermore, if we are alive to tell it, we can assume that the lives are still going – and how to you solve a problem like that? How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?

There is a safety in form, a reason why…

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The Bechdel Test Revisited: Women in a Hero’s Journey

Alison Bechdel’s famous test–one canny gag in an indie comic strip from 1985–has been embraced by entertainment critics, theorists, and journalists as the gold standard for determining whether a film has, as Feminist Frequency describes in its excellent primer, “significant female presence.” Three obvious reasons why:

  • It’s dead simple.
  • It quantifies the vague.
  • It hilariously indicts movies that…

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Short Story Review: The Contemporary Foxwife by Yoon Ha Lee


Clarkesworld Magazine Issue 94, July 2014

I’m still on the folktale mythical search of short stories and came upon The Contemporary Foxwife by Yoon Ha Lee a few weeks ago.

Yoon Ha Lee is a Korean American who grew up in Houston, Texas and writes Science Fiction and Fantasy. She’s written over 40 short stories, some of which have been published in Fantasy & Science Fiction, Lightspeed and…

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Wednesday is New Comic Day!

I usually have my post up on a Tuesday, but scheduling dictated a little change and here I am. I thought, it being a Wednesday, that I’d introduce those of you new to comics to a bit of regular comic buyer lingo and such.

There are a couple important components to buying comic books. Most important is your LCS, your Local Comic Store. Mine is Time Warp Comics & Gameshere in NJ, run by a couple…

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The Philosophy of Fantasy

"The Philosophy of Fantasy", a new essay series by Regina Swanson #reading #philosophy

Philosophy begins in wonder.—Alfred North Whitehead

My dad read the Lord of the Rings to me when I was nine. I was transfixed. Worlds were opened to me—worlds of good and evil, magic and dragons, elves and wizards. I read A Wrinkle in Time and Season of Ponies. Dragonflight followed Stranger in a Strange Land. Along with all of these stories, though I didn’t know it at the time, came philosophy.…

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Writing Conflict

"Writing Conflict" by Carol Holland March along with a few helpful links. #writing #writers

Years ago, a friend years ago gave me the manuscript of her paranormal romance novel to read. The writing was good, but the main character did not change from the beginning to the end. She was also suspiciously similar to my friend (this is a “Mary Sue” which is an idealized character based on the author’s life─usually she’s way too good to be true to life). When I mentioned that a character in a…

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Please welcome Issue 019 to the stage!

Please welcome Issue 019 to the stage! #freefiction #reading #shortstories

Hello dear readers and thanks for joining me as I hit the launch button on the penultimate issue of year 5. I’d like to keep this brief so you can get to reading. That’s why you’re here after all, right?

This issue has a wonderful mix of mythic fairy tales alongside some very interesting sci-fi encounters. You can read them all right here.

I will start you off by suggesting our first featured…

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