Mary Sue Whipple

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Name: "Mary Sue Whipple"
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"Mary Sue Whipple" was created by Alice Karvonen Allonway as a sort of open source pseud; fans were encouraged to write badfic under the Whipple name.

See Mary Sue Whipple: A Comprehensive Sort of Thing by Alice Karvonen Allonway for much description and history.

Comments by Whipple's Creator

Hi. I'm Alice. I'm also Mary Sue Whipple's creator. I made her, I started her, I even wrote the first section to her first story (and several other bits besides that). The answer is, yes, there were _at least_ a dozen contributors. She's a very open sort of personality; anyone can contribute to her stories, and some people were regular writers. I can, to this day, divide the majority of her stories into their separate components and, often, their authors. If you wish, I'd be happy to help you (or anyone else for that matter) with any Whipple-related questions you may have, including how I came up with the name and why she exists at all.... The voting issue: In my highly personal opinion, I could not give a rat's furry behind whether Mary Sue wins [an ASC Award], loses, or gets hit with half a dozen arrows and a flying cow. She's here to be read and, perhaps, to teach by example. The fact that the _fictional writer_ MSW wants to win awards does not necessarily reflect what the _real writers_ want. It's simply a part of her character; she also thinks that she ought to co-author a book with Danielle Steele, and that hot pink and cyan make the perfect color combo. [1]
The fiction that Mary Sue writes is (or at least was, in the early days) a dangerously accurate parody of professional slush and lousy fanfic. By reading her stuff, you not only get a handy guide on what's been done and what not to do, but a source of entertainment as well. Why people take her fiction so darn _seriously_ is what puzzles me....(On a side note: The good authors can read MSW too. I encourage it. There are days, after looking at a blank computer screen for too long, when you just want to call up _Tom Paris Goes to Dinner at Worf's_ and say, "I may not have written anything today, but nothing is better than _that_.") [2]

Some Comments by Fans

Mary Sue Whipple is a fictitious author most noted for the amount of pap she writes. She is the anti-author; she is the author who no one should strive to be, her stories are cliché filled and badly put together. The plots are rehashes of every other fan fiction out there. The stories often star Mary Sue Whipple as Mary Sue Whipple. All of these stories, poems, and filks are filled with atrocious spelling errors. The grammar is poor and is supposed to make you wonder if Mary Sue Whipple has ever spent a day in school. Mary Sue Whipple is not real, she is the brain child of about four people and has had contributions from over a dozen others during her seven months in existence--many of these authors have written incognito. [3]
Does BadFic exist at FanFiction.Net? Yes, it does. The most well known BadFic at FanFiction.Net are the works of Mary Sue Whipple. This example of BadFic has penned over 90 stories from a variety of fandoms; these fandoms include Harry Potter, Star Trek, Pokemon, Titanic, Britney Spears and Final Fantasy. Most of these stories are pretty outrageous. The topics and themes are a tad off. The execution totally flawed. The material has been widely distributed. In most of the other fandoms, Mary Sue Whipple’s work is immediately recognized for what it is: BadFic. This instant recognition and changing your reaction and feedback to give BadFic at FanFiction.Net an appropriate response has been hindered because of the excessive amount of serious material that could easily match Mary Sue Whipple’s material in style. If you run across a piece at FanFiction.Net that you think is BadFic, read the author profile. Think about it. Evaluate it. Make an educated guess as to whether the pieces is BadFic or not. [4]

Mary Sue Whipple and the ASC Awards

Michela Ecks claimed to be Mary Sue Whipple at ASC in November 1998. "They all should know that Mary Sue Whipple is me. In fact, she's been posting some spledoferous fan fiction to ASC that everyone has been reading. It is kinda obvious that it is." [5] And "I have written somewhere over 1/3 of what [Whipple] has posted to ASC." [6]

Michela Ecks also caused wank in 2000 in awards voting. See Thoughts on the ASC Awards, comments from the peanut gallery; archive link.

Ecks complained in 2000 about Whipple's stories being taken off the ballot of the ASC awards:

I have a problem. My dear readers, I have a big problem. My problem stems from comments I have received recently via a web site I run in conjunction with a couple of other friends. The note was from Stephen Ratliff, and I found the contents of it most discouraging and disheartening. In his note he informed me that some ballots for Mary Sue Whipple had been disqualified.

I was flabbergasted at this news. Why, why would they eliminate ballots written for her stories? The answer I received back from Stephen was even more disheartening... [snipped] If the ASC awards are supposed to be about feedback, then this example of behavior by the people who run the awards seems to directly contradict the meaning of the awards. It stopped being about feedback the second they launched a false accusation accusing my innocent friend of writing Mary Sue Whipple and thus having his ballot eliminated.

I can no longer support the alt.startrek.creative awards. To me, the actions of the awards people have solidified in my mind, that the awards are no longer about feedback. For this reason, I must humbly ask that my works be removed from contention. I must also ask that Mary Sue Whipple's work be eliminated.

I would also encourage others not to give feedback on further ballots because this clearly shows that the awards are not about what I felt was a treasured commodity; feedback." [7]

Topics in this discussin thread included ballot box stuffing, the legitimacy of pseuds, collective writing, the purpose of satire, the dodgy ethics of voting for one's own entries, what constitutes feedback, what is an author, gaming the system, the purpose of awards...Alice Karvonen Allonway even weighs in at the end.

See: Thoughts on the ASC Awards, comments from the peanut gallery. for more.

The Original Mary Sue Had No Last Name

The original Mary Sue had no last name. [8], but misinformation regarding the origin of Mary Sue Whipple's name is all over the place. One example is in Signs Your Novel Is Not Ready for Publishing, Especially Not Self Publishing.

Mary Sue Whipple: Co-oped, and Not in the Way the Creator Intended

In 2001, Allonway wrote The How and Who of Mary Sue to explain Mary Sue Whipple and to protest the use of her name by Michela Ecks in revenge reviews at Fanfiction.Net, of claiming ownership of her, of archiving Mary Sue Whipple stories without Allonway's consent, and of writing a careless origin story about the phenomenon at Writers University. [9]

Allonway mentioned Ecks again in Mary Sue Whipple: A Comprehensive Sort of Thing:

Consider, for a moment, Linux. An open-source program (that means that the programming code can be read and used by anybody; imagine if you could see how your favorite video game was put together. Like that). Mary Sue Whipple is like Linux—you know how she's put together, and anybody can use her.

However, Linux is owned by the guy who invented it. He doesn't have to get cash for it; he doesn't have to directly control what people do with his program. But. If someone has a Linux program, they can't say it's theirs.

When I said I didn't want to own Mary Sue, I didn't consider the idea that someone might take her and mess about with her in ways I didn't like; since I didn't claim her, I couldn't say, "Yo, quit that." This is a problem, and one that makes me feel hypocritical along with everything else. I can almost hear myself saying, "Hey, when she's being well taken care of, she's everybody's, but the second she's mistreated, she's mine."

Ugh. Not a line I like to use. But a true one anyway. What, you may ask, do I consider to be misuse of Mary Sue?

--Claiming ownership that doesn't exist. Ladies and gents, despite all I've said to the contrary in the past, I'm making it clear now: She's mine. My character, my joy, my bountiful feast of delicious apricot tarts. Only out of the kindness of my own heart (and because of the honest belief that no one would mistreat her name), I'm giving her pen name away for free. That does not mean I don't own her. Even when I was being squishy on the subject, other people sure as hell couldn't own her. I'm referring directly here to the FanFiction.Net Whipple author who declared herself Mary Sue. The quick answer: No, she wasn't. Nor is she right now. Nor do I plan to let her be any time soon. There is no one single real Mary Sue Whipple, thank God, and I doubt there will ever be one.

Some of Mary Sue Whipple's Fiction

Mary Sue Whipple's Guestbook

Some Other Fiction and Responses

References

  1. Thoughts on the ASC Awards, comments from the peanut gallery; archive link (2000)
  2. Thoughts on the ASC Awards, comments from the peanut gallery; archive link (2000)
  3. Thoughts on the ASC Awards, comments from the peanut gallery.; WebCite, posted by Laura "Mike" Hale, May 11, 2000
  4. from Netiquette of badfic!
  5. ASC
  6. Thoughts on the ASC Awards, comments from the peanut gallery.; WebCite
  7. Thoughts on the ASC Awards, comments from the peanut gallery.; WebCite, posted by Laura "Mike" Hale, May 11, 2000
  8. A Trekkie's Tale
  9. "Mary Sue Whipple was created by posters to God Awful Fan Fiction's message board a long time ago (almost two years). Mary Sue Whipple is over a year old! :o) Mary Sue Whipple was created by the posters during a fit of boredom. Posters were looking for a reason to come by more and to hang out with their pals on the board. Alice and E layed the basic ground work for Mary Sue Whipple and gave her the name." -- Mary Sue Whipple!; WebCite