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 Beating the fix-it Sue with a hammer.

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Dimensia

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Join date : 2011-02-13
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PostSubject: Beating the fix-it Sue with a hammer.   Mon Feb 14, 2011 8:43 am

I know my character has an unreedeemable sue-trait, dropping into a video game that she's played. However, I'm wondering how bad it really is. The original Drop a Stone story is still on the web in all its eye-bleeding glory, but I'm starting from scratch and only the original concept is intact.

This is a LOK fic like all my others.


Her name is Sarah. Most of the canon characters have nouns or earth-shattering meanings with their names, and I spent more time coming up with "mentioned once" names for the ancestor characters. I think hers is pretty mild, and the story is stripped of the reason I chose it.

I never give her exact height, but I think 5'4" isn't unreasonable. She is rather short compared to the native humans of that world. I mention that she has breasts, but not how big. She was described as skinny, but it's more that everyone else she's around is muscular. I put her age at about 28. She is blonde and blue-eyed. Her original clothing is only described as "shredded" and when she gets a chance to choose her own outfit, she's going to go with practical.


Her super-power is that the rules of time-travel get changed in her presence. Instead of the well-established, "You can't change history because you didn't" and only a Reaver paradox is the exception, she pretty much pulls a Marty McFly. (Though she pays dearly for that stunt.) The main characters can also feel when their existence is in danger, and know that she's the cause.

Her not-so-super powers are that she notices minute details, she has an obscene memory for anything that she pays attention to, and she can draw decently.


I'm having a little bit of trouble identifying her flaw. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] sounds familiar in reference to her personality, but she has it so mildly that it's a copable problem, and is even a source of strength. She's never "fixed" because the problem is part of the definition of who she is.

She did get lonely and sometimes hated that she didn't have any real friends, just transitory fake ones. Most of her social interaction was with her co-workers. However, dealing with her problem has also taught her emotional control. She'll respond politely to an insult if she's not sure whether or not the insulter is joking or if she thinks she just misunderstood. Her less-than-social tendencies have also taught her to bear lonliness, which does come in handy during the story.

Her control isn't perfect. There is a line in the story where she did misunderstand and let herself get frustrated enough to not be polite about it.

She's got intelligence potential, but she's under-educated. She's also got whatever wacky personality trait that leads to oddball collections, but she doesn't actually collect anything that she can't keep in her head. (I'm talking about someone who collects blenders weird.)

She isn't a virgin. She did try dating once when she finally recognized someone was trying to draw her attention,but it was in a "this is what normal people do" way. Her distant emotions made it hard on him, and she wasn't thrilled enough with any part of the relationship to make any effort in keeping it together. Nor is there any interest in letting another guy attract her attention because she's been there and the sex wasn't that great. It carries into the story where she doesn't pursue those things, though I hint that the other vampires are into the sensual aspects of dallying. (No gay vampires.)





A few well-placed ruffian lines keep it clear that the vampires consider her inferior, and she's only alive because she is useful. Most of them are manners and civility grafted over restrained sociopathy. I tweaked Vorador into someone who can distinguish between evil humans and useful humans, and how he's only a true monster after his sire dies.

Janos is the nicest to her, but that's because I'm treating him like an animal rights activist. He hunts and kills people, not caring whether or not they deserve to die, but he doesn't feel it's right to torture them. I think it's an improvement over the way most people write him as a pacifist who never does anything to earn his reputation as a monster.


It's taking a lot of fighting to keep Sarah's dialogue balanced. She let slip a bit of proof that she knows exactly what's supposed to happen, but the characters have had too much experience with manipulators to take her at face value. That plus her usual unwillingness to say the wrong thing keeps her from explaining everything. However, it's really hard to keep away from the "vampires are milking her for information even though they don't trust her" so I can shove them into fixing the fix.
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PostSubject: Re: Beating the fix-it Sue with a hammer.   Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:09 am

Dimensia wrote:
Her name is Sarah. Most of the canon characters have nouns or earth-shattering meanings with their names, and I spent more time coming up with "mentioned once" names for the ancestor characters. I think hers is pretty mild, and the story is stripped of the reason I chose it.

First off, don't worry too much about names. Having a sensible name proves nothing. Case in point: Anita Blake.

Quote :
I never give her exact height, but I think 5'4" isn't unreasonable. She is rather short compared to the native humans of that world. I mention that she has breasts, but not how big. She was described as skinny, but it's more that everyone else she's around is muscular. I put her age at about 28. She is blonde and blue-eyed. Her original clothing is only described as "shredded" and when she gets a chance to choose her own outfit, she's going to go with practical.

It seems like you're operating under the impression that certain traits equal "instant Sue" and have attempted to avoid that by creating a reasonable-bodied protagonist. There is nothing, repeat nothing about aesthetic physical attributes that makes a character a Sue. (Two-tone eyes are pushing it.) Even though most people consider an "average" character to be realistic, it rapidly becomes a weak defense for actual Sue traits.

The fact of the matter is that the world is meant for people of a specific height that is somewhere around average. This is why short people are frequently inconvenienced by having to stand on things to reach what they want, and tall people are frequently enlisted to perform certain tasks without ladders. In the example of the latter; I know of one person whose personal catch phrase became God damn this stupid fucking world made for midgets! after the nth head-bashing against a door frame.

Hell, even a fairly short-statured (5'4") [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] paid for gigantic knockers. (You can find "Orthopedic Underwear" on her piano in a flashback).

The thing about a character's physical traits that determines whether or not they're a Sue depends largely on how they effect the protagonist and/or other characters. To go back to Anita Blake, in early novels she used to bring up past injuries and bad knees. What made her Sue-ish is not that she was a short, strong-willed girl, but that despite the limitations already set down in the narrative, she would lift people twice her height and weight and carry them in a Fireman's Carry without regard to the weakness of her knees and previous injuries.

A non-Sue might've attempted the carry only to collapse in pain, forced to hobble to safety without heroically saving anyone. A Sue ignores her own medical history and carries a super heavyweight champion of the world to safety on her shoulders.

Anita Blake and Bella Swan are two characters offered as average, plain-Jane looking gals who, despite their inherent lack of any distinguishing features, have every boy desperate to get in their pants. Do you see what I'm getting at, here?

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Her super-power is that the rules of time-travel get changed in her presence. Instead of the well-established, "You can't change history because you didn't" and only a Reaver paradox is the exception, she pretty much pulls a Marty McFly. (Though she pays dearly for that stunt.) The main characters can also feel when their existence is in danger, and know that she's the cause.

Since messing with time is integral to LoK, you're gonna hafta explain this one further.

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Her not-so-super powers are that she notices minute details, she has an obscene memory for anything that she pays attention to, and she can draw decently.

These are good character traits, not necessarily "powers" until they become, well, over powered.

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I'm having a little bit of trouble identifying her flaw. [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] sounds familiar in reference to her personality, but she has it so mildly that it's a copable problem, and is even a source of strength. She's never "fixed" because the problem is part of the definition of who she is.

The question here is: Are you seeking a flaw to create a believable human being, or are you seeking a flaw to counterbalance the strengths you've given the character?

Quote :
She's got intelligence potential, but she's under-educated. She's also got whatever wacky personality trait that leads to oddball collections, but she doesn't actually collect anything that she can't keep in her head. (I'm talking about someone who collects blenders weird.)

Given LoK... er, what exactly are you talking about?

Quote :
She isn't a virgin. She did try dating once when she finally recognized someone was trying to draw her attention,but it was in a "this is what normal people do" way. Her distant emotions made it hard on him, and she wasn't thrilled enough with any part of the relationship to make any effort in keeping it together. Nor is there any interest in letting another guy attract her attention because she's been there and the sex wasn't that great.

Boring. Who cares?

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It carries into the story where she doesn't pursue those things, though

Why?

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I hint that the other vampires are into the sensual aspects of dallying.

Why?

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(No gay vampires.)

Why not?

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It's taking a lot of fighting to keep Sarah's dialogue balanced. She let slip a bit of proof that she knows exactly what's supposed to happen, but the characters have had too much experience with manipulators to take her at face value. That plus her usual unwillingness to say the wrong thing keeps her from explaining everything. However, it's really hard to keep away from the "vampires are milking her for information even though they don't trust her" so I can shove them into fixing the fix.

"Going the Cassandra route" is not that hard.
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Dimensia

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PostSubject: Re: Beating the fix-it Sue with a hammer.   Mon Feb 14, 2011 10:02 am

Quote :
Quote:
Her super-power is that the rules of time-travel get changed in her presence. Instead of the well-established, "You can't change history because you didn't" and only a Reaver paradox is the exception, she pretty much pulls a Marty McFly. (Though she pays dearly for that stunt.) The main characters can also feel when their existence is in danger, and know that she's the cause.


Since messing with time is integral to LoK, you're gonna hafta explain this one further.

Okay, the story begins with Janos and Raziel talking in Soul Reaver 2. Mysterious girl drops into the Aerie, notices the two vampires, and in a fit of stupid fangirlism she manages to push Janos off the balcony while Raziel is fighting the Sarafan. Since Raziel really can't fight all 6 at once without a weapon, he goes down and the Sarafan decide to haul Sarah back to their stronghold for questioning instead of outright killing her.

Short answer is that I wanted a random element to screw things up because I have trouble working inside of the loop, if that makes sense. I suppose a giant Monty-Python finger pushing Janos off the balcony could have given the same result.


Quote :
The question here is: Are you seeking a flaw to create a believable human being, or are you seeking a flaw to counterbalance the strengths you've given the character?
I think the reason is more because Sarah got a very painful lesson in how being an outsider in a video game does not make you invincible, but why she's not acting like a peasant in Blood Omen 2 when Kain rescues her. I think it's perhaps more flaw for believability, though she'll come out the same even if I don't declare it.

The wacky personality trait is just another facet, and something left over from the real world. I probably went a bit overboard with the details that don't even make it into the story, sorry.

The whole sex thing is establishing that there will be no slash of cannon characters, mostly because it's been done to death and rarely makes sense. I try to keep the hints subtle enough so that it's not coming off as a stance against the yaoi. I suppose I could have gay and lesbian vampires among the OC's, I just want to write Kain and Vorador as preferring ladies. (But not getting romantic with my OC.)


I'll try to remember that they're interested in her because she breaks the world, not because they need her advice.
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PostSubject: Re: Beating the fix-it Sue with a hammer.   Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:40 pm

One thing that I forgot to mention, since I'm not yet at the point where she's settled enough to do this... she tends to break out into song when she's distracted. The most upset it gives to the fic is that she explains that her RL mentor tried to break her of it, and later mentions that job-related roadtripping with her coworkers gave her some weird earworms. Most of the songficcing would be in the pre-chapter author's notes, and just a minor mention in the middle if the characters actually react.

Her entire songlist is based off of my tastes, but I think it's a little bit unbelievable to be interested in Linkin Park, REM, Jethro Tull, Genesis, Oingo Boingo, Tom Paxton, Blackmoore's Night, Greenday, Meatloaf, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and Steeleye Span in one package.

I'm just having trouble picking the first song because I don't want a strong reaction when this problem is introduced. Probably "El Condor Pasa"

She doesn't have a siren voice, she just isn't as reedy and tone-deaf as I am. I'm not touching songs that are obviously are difficult to sing, so it breaks my heart to include not "Game Pieces."
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PostSubject: Re: Beating the fix-it Sue with a hammer.   Mon Feb 14, 2011 7:01 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] Is what I have so far. I'm a little stuck, and I'm hoping it's not because I'm sensing failure.

It's too early for a grammar pass. I'm just looking for a plot pass. I hope zipped rtf isn't too much of an inconvenience. I save it in odt for my own use.
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