This week, I read through my own novel. It’s in a much better state than it was at the beginning of September, but I still wouldn’t let anybody else read it – out of consideration more than vanity. There were several places even I didn’t understand what I was going on about.
The mistakes I noticed seemed glaringly obvious. I’m not sure if this is because I hadn’t seen it for two or three weeks, or because I’d just been editing somebody else’s work. There were so many cases where I’d just picked out a speck from the other writer’s eye, only to see a plank in my own.
My biggest problem now is my main character’s brother. He’s far too good (well-behaved, not well-written).
Usually, this sort of ‘Mary Sue’ character happens when you don’t know them well enough. With poor Jamie, it’s more a case of familiarity breeds contempt. I’ve let him do his own thing. (If only my children reacted to lack of attention by being too good!)
PS I’ve always thought of the original Mary Sue as a walk-over side character in a seventies teen flick (in my mind, she worked in a launderette after school and let her gang hang around even though it would get her into trouble). However, sparing no meticulous research for the quality of this blog, I’ve just looked it up on Wiki. Apparently, she starred in Paula Smith’s 1973 parody of Star Trek fan fiction, A Trekkie’s Tale.
At fifteen-and-a-half, Lieutenant Mary Sue is the youngest member of the fleet. Captain Kirk is in love with her; Spock thinks she is perfectly logical. She rescues the team with a hairpin. And when Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Dr. McCoy, and Scottie all come down with an alien sickness, she nurses them, running the ship expertly at the same time. Eventually, she dies from the same thing and is mourned by everyone.
I think this competence is lost in its current use.
PPS Even if he qualified, Jamie would be a ‘Gary Stu’ character because he’s male.