In Defense of Mary Sue

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Title: In Defense of Mary Sue
Creator: Debra Fran Baker
Date(s): July 29, 1999
Medium: online
Topic: fiction writing
External Links: In Defense of Mary Sue/WebCite
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In Defense of Mary Sue is an essay by Debra Fran Baker.

It is part of the Fanfic Symposium series.


Yes, there are problems. Mary Sue is always perfect. Everyone always loves her - what few female regulars are her friends and all the men think she's the best. She never makes mistakes. In short, she is unbelievable, clearly the stuff of fantasy. Also, she's usually created by new writers who have not grown into their craft, and therefore is written poorly over and above her perfection. So how can I defend this creature? Don't I want believable characters and good writing in fanfic? Well, yes, I do. I just think that her problems are overblown, and sometimes non-existent. Take the perfection angle. Yes, she's perfect...but often, so are the heroes she's sleeping with. They are strong, honest, brave, true and the rest of that boy scout stuff, and surely she should live up to them? And if I, as a slash writer, can take two men portrayed as heterosexual and put them in bed together, then a Mary Sue writer can put her idealized self in the same place. If she wants to save the Enterprise and wake up in Scotty's arms, more power to her.
In conclusion, Mary Sue is not the horror to be avoided that she is painted. She is actually a valid literary tool that not only fulfills fantasies but also often fills a niche that is often neglected, and she can provide valuable insights into both the author and to her writing techniques as they improve with time. So let her shine forth, if not as brilliantly as you would like. Make her a bartender in a special pub or the EMT that brings Fraser in. Don't be afraid of her. She's the nicest lady in fanfic, after all.