Protectors of the Plot Continuum

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Community
Name: Protectors of the Plot Continuum, PPC
Date(s):
Founder: Jay, Acacia
Type:
Fandom: The Lord of the Rings, multi-fandom
URL:
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Protectors of the Plot Continuum, often abbreviated PPC, is an organisation dedicated to the elimination of badfic by using a cross between sporking and an RPG.

It is divided into various departments such as the Department of Mary Sues and the Department of Bad Slash. Writers rewrite existing stories by inserting themselves as characters called Agents, who kill Mary Sues, exorcise OOC characters, and otherwise restore the story universe back to its original state. However, the organisation began with Sue assassinations, and is certainly most well-known for that.

The first PPC stories were created by Jay and Acacia, mainly in the LotR fandom. See: PPC: The Lost Tales.

PPC has since developed a number of spinoffs in a many different fandoms and expanded into a sort of shared universe with overlapping characters and a complex backstory.

The Canon Protection Initiative FAQ

The intro: "Many a fangirl has wandered onto our board or our respective livejournals, questioning and complaining about our canon-defending work. “Why was my fic targeted? I’m nice!”, “If you don’t like it, don’t read it!”, “I wrote this at one in the morning!”, and other phrases have become so common that it’s not worth our time anymore to construct spur-of-the-moment essays about literary points that we’ve already told a thousand other fangirls a thousand other times. Consequently, I posed a set of frequently asked questions at the Board and got a host of replies. While I am the compiler of these replies, I am not the sole author—credit goes to the entire Board. Anytime a Suethor, fangirl, or curious newbie asks these questions, feel free to direct them here and save yourself the trouble of a lengthy reply! The PPC Board presents: The Canon Protection Initiative FAQ" [1]

Articles of the Constitution

Our Mission, Should We Choose To Accept It: The mission of the PPC is to encourage goodfic and discourage bad, but we are more than that. We are a community, here to share writing and writing tips, help out fellow writers in need, exchange opinions, and natter endlessly about everything from our favourite canons to apple pie. Mmm, pie... *Drools*

[snipped]

Hear ye, hear ye! (And all that other medieval mumbo-jumbo those town criers say. Forsooth verily!) We, the Members of the PPC, in order to form a more perfect Community, ensure domestic Tranquility, encourage the destruction of Badfic, promote Goodfic, and secure a certain level of wellbeing and (in)sanity for ourselves and those who will come after, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the Protectors of the Plot Continuum. [2]

Criticism: Mary Sue

In April 2010, the tactics of PPC and other Sue-slayer groups were criticized in an essay by boosette, Storming the Battlements: or, Why the Culture of Mary Sue Shaming Is Bully Culture. [3] Boosette stated that the group's stated actions bore "a remarkable resemblance to the bullying a goodly number of us experienced as geeky misfits, growing up." [4] The essay sparked a huge debate among fans and the article was widely quoted.

From astridv, quoting directly from boosette's entry:

Calling "Mary Sue" in this environment is shaming women for empowering themselves.

There is no substantive harm in writing a "Mary Sue" -- there is no substantive harm in creating a character, original or otherwise, who "warps the world around them", who is "adored by all for no particular reason", who wins the day.

There is substantive harm in bullying and shaming real people for empowering themselves through their writing. Words have power. Words cause harm. Words hurt, and the wounds they leave are deeper and longer-lasting than many physical wounds. I nearly stopped writing entirely, as a teen, after having my work and my OC called "Mary Sue". I have friends who did stop writing because of it.

Before anyone says: "Oh, they/you should just have sucked it up and grown a thicker skin! Learn to accept criticism!

Think.

You are blaming the victims of bullying for their bullies' behavior.

That is Not. Okay. Ever. [5]
From blythe025, also a direct quote from boosette's entry:

There are some interesting discussions going on about Mary Sue bashing (found thanks to astridv, and whom I sort of stole the formatting of this post from), namely that Mary Sue bashing a bad thing. For example: "Storming the Battlements or: Why the Culture of Mary Sue Shaming is Bully Culture", by boosette: "Writing "Mary Sues" is empowering. Writing them being awesome is empowering. Calling Mary Sue, and contributing to an environment such as the above, which encourages the denigration of female awesomeness in fiction, which encourages the bullying and harassment of participants in female awesome, is participating in that culture.

Calling "Mary Sue" in this environment is shaming women for empowering themselves.[6]
PPC members took issue with Boosette's interpretation of the Mary Sue issue, arguing that they were not shaming writers or women, but rather calling out bad writing: "Calling “Mary Sue” in the PPC is telling a flat, unrealistic, stereotypical character exactly what she is.."[4]

Responses to Storming the Battlements: or, Why the Culture of Mary Sue Shaming Is Bully Culture

Criticism: Bullying

Example post to the group's LiveJournal:

Hey, gang...

... got a puzzle here: poodle or troll?

The offender's FF.n profile

So far I've gotten no response to the review I left on "Legolas meets the Winchesters," but while I haven't looked at her other stories, it seems other readers are coming to the same conclusions. It's stereotypically bad writing--and I'm never sure if that means it's someone *trying* to be that bad or if the writer really is the sort that gave rise to the stereotype in the first place. (There's one writer in the Hogan's Heroes section causing the same sort of debate--invincibly ignorant or persistent troll, but doesn't get the message that we really prefer goodfic, please go away.)

I guess this goes without saying, but on the off chance it is a kid who doesn't know any better and can be taught the ways of goodfic: if you do review, be polite until you're given a reason not to be. It's PPC policy not to flame anyone but plagiarists. [7]

List of PPC Fiction and Agents

Resources

References

  1. FAQ: For Other People: PPC Wiki, Archived version, also here; archive link
  2. Articles of the Constitution; archive link
  3. The post, originally at boosette's Dreamwith journal, is no longer publicly available.
  4. 4.0 4.1 An Answer to Some Accusations, accessed January 3, 2011; WebCite (post contains quotes from Boosette's original post, Why the Culture of Mary Sue Shaming Is Bully Culture)
  5. I'd been meaning to write a post called "In Defense of Mary Sue" but I see that I was beaten to it, April 13, 2010; WebCite
  6. On Mary Sue, April 13, 2010; WebCite
  7. Hey, gang; archive link, ramblin_rosie wrote in the_ppc, May 22, 2010