Is Every Kickass Female Character a Mary Sue?
Kate Nepveu (m), Becky Allen, S. N. Arly, Jessica Plummer, Beth Plutchak
Anyone who has even a small kernel of knowledge about fan fiction is probably more familiar with the Mary Sue archetype than they would like. Mary Sues (and their male equivalent Gary Stu) are characters inserted into a fictional world that are obviously stand-ins for the author her- or himself. They're often near perfect, loved by everyone, and the center of attention in both fan works and published or broadcast media. However, a recent trend to label every standout female character with this label as a pejorative has both fans and professional writers annoyed. What makes a Mary Sue? And even if she rears her head, does that necessarily mean the character isn't a good one?
You can download the zipped MP3 file (49 MB) or stream it behind the cut:
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(One panelist's Sekrit Fannish Identity has been redacted at their request. I have to say that listening to the file was pretty humbling for me, as I was exceptionally non-articulate during this panel, but at least I managed to direct traffic and not get in the way of the other panelists too much.)