Friday, March 29, 2024

The tired myth of the "Mary Sue"

Today, I'd like to discuss a notion that's been on my mind for a while now: the concept of the "Mary Sue" and why writers need to just let it go. I'd been trying to wait for a good opportunity to appropriately soapbox, but then I figured, there's no better place to soapbox than one's own blog. And yes, I look at the visitor statistics, so I know people are seeing this. Time for another essayrant (new portmanteau I just invented).

As someone who regrettably grew up doing a lot of writing networking over the Internet (I feel like no one should ever spend their youth doing any sort of networking over the Internet), I was quickly exposed to the world of fanfiction, and the world of people who read and discuss fanfiction. Both are equally terrifying in their own ways.

Fanfiction is exactly what it claims to be: original fiction pieces written by fans of a fictional work, purely for fun (or sometimes more for social clout in the fan community). There is no quality control much like independent publishing. I have read some very, very good fanfiction by talented writers that could easily be turned into licensed novels. I have also read some fanfiction that would only make the publishing cut with a lot of editing and much more skill development on the part of the writer.

But you know what? In fanfiction, an amateur labor of love for something you're emotionally invested in, writing skill doesn't actually matter all that much, in my opinion. What I really think is a bigger problem is when other fans read said fanfiction and proceed to critically tear it apart unsolicited--or worse, publicly denounce it and make fun of it. And nowhere have I seen more of this than attacks on what are perceived as "Mary Sues"--or, to put the issue in its real light, character shaming.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

The first 35 minutes of the Thunder Girl audiobook are now available to listen to for free on YouTube! Now you can preview the book before committing to it. I love Benjamin Fife's performance here and I think he had a lot of fun working on this project.

As an aside, I'm still putting together plans for a sequel. I've been waylaid a bit by other stuff, but I have another fun story I want to tell about Cat and her motley crew, an eccentric Scottish vampire (I guess all vampires are a little eccentric), a reawakened Egyptian mummy, and Australian Pleistocene megafauna. You'll see how I tie all that together. :)

Monday, March 18, 2024

More old art. I was so worried I'd lost these, so I'm really glad I found them floating around my hard drive.

These are portraits I did for Blynn, Hyren, and Suhel (I guess that's obvious) for some profiles I did of them. I still like these pics despite their age, and now I can link to them in Neopets stories that I put here on the blog.

Friday, March 15, 2024

I just wanted to do a sketch of Financier Cookie and Clotted Cream Cookie from the Crème Republic storyline in Cookie Run: Kingdom, which was awesome. Financier rocks.

This picture is actually based off of this illustration which was posted on the official CRK Twitter account.

When the Crème Republic storyline first started, I was absolutely certain Clotted Cream Cookie was the bad guy. With that smug smirk and charismatic demeanor and super fancy clothes, I just knew he was hiding something. 

Okay, that's not the first or last time I've been wrong about someone being the villain. Maybe I have trust issues.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

More old art. This is from when Pokémon Go first came out and I was so totally psyched to have a Pokémon adventure in real life.

Then I moved someplace that didn't have nearly as many Gyms or PokéStops, and that kind of killed the fun a bit. So I'm looking forward to Kingdom Hearts: Missing Link, which has a somewhat similar concept but the ability to actually move your character on the map independently of where you happen to be.

(Don't get me wrong, I still play Pokémon Go, just not as often nowadays given the circumstances.)

Monday, March 11, 2024

Updates have been kind of sparse because I've been busy, and because it's been really snowy here which has impeded my ability to get to the museum to sketch. And also because I am - I think understandably - a bit miffed that people don't seem to be paying attention to my work despite my best efforts, so I'm not exactly feeling super motivated to produce/post more of it.

Anyway, that's neither here nor there. I said I'd be uploading more old art, so here are a few pieces I submitted to the Art Gallery on Neopets. I can't remember which of them actually got in, and unfortunately the AG does not have a function to search submissions by username like the Neopian Times does, but if you're feeling really bored, you can go through the thousands of AG pages and try to find these. 

This is how Blynn solves the Negg Cave puzzle. She's not really interested in being normal.

A clever way to lose friends quickly.

Mostly I just wanted to have fun painting the Ghost Lupe's flowy ghost tendrils. Ah, the joys of obscure and underutilized canon characters.

Okay but when will that storm on Lutari Island ever end? (For those not in the know, this is the in-universe excuse for why an area exclusive to a dead mobile app can't be accessed on the website.)

Grey Neopets and Petpets are just not my thing at all, but Grey Day was coming up, so. Although, Millie Browning from my fanfics is a Grey Ogrin (albeit a non-emo one). And I did have fun incorporating the lore of Grey Faeries into The Spirit of Black Keep.