The Potter Sue of the Day

Featuring your Mary-Sues, one fic at a time!

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[sticky post]Rule of Thumb

Since Pottersues is getting a lot of new minions I decided it was time to draw up the basic rules for this journal that have pretty much gone unsaid among the minions. I'll also note here that there have been four Pottersues so far since the journal was started.

Rule 1: Do NOT link the Suethors here.

We honestly don't mind the Suethor's finding out that they've been featured here. The problem though comes from the fact many Suethor's struggle to take critique well. We have had incidents in the past where the Suethor has come onto the blog and acted in an immature fashion. These behaviors have ranged from the most mild... jumping to conclusions... to the Suethor trying to pretend to be someone else.

The worst case scenario though was Not Bob and Sal. Mind you, we have had a lot of Not Bob's come through here and I honestly need to update the entry with some of the newer ones as they come in or create a new entry for the works from mid 2009 on as it is getting long. But here is a brief run down of each.

The original Not Bob came on here and threatened to file lawsuit for harassment as well as copyright infringement. The only copyright infringement going on was the poem that the original Pottersues posted to the journal and it fell under copyright infringement because of the amount copied. She even admitted that was low and edited it out. As for harassment... well... there is a reason the readers of this blog came to be known as “lesbian minions” but in the long run they're more like the minions from Despicable Me. There have also been death threat made and some people tried using what we call sock puppets as well.

Sal on the other hand is someone who decided to purposefully review stories featured here in order to try and stir up trouble between us and the Suethors. One of their reviews included a fake rating scale that was a whole lot crueler then the rating scale used on Pottersues. We call it The Sue-O-Meter and there is a version aimed at the readers and a version aimed at the writers, particularly the ones that do want to improve. Chances are Sal was a writer who was upset about being featured here. There goal was to stir up trouble here on the blog and/or make other Suethor's feel bad by leaving reviews that pretty much told the writer's who were featured to physically hurt themselves in a very crude manner.

This rule is put into place to protect both the people who read this blog and those who have fics featured here. By protecting the writers who have fics featured here I don't mean protecting them from criticism... they're more then welcome to comment if they find their stories here or a friend who knows them well enough to know they can handle the critique lets them know it is here. It's to protect them from the Sals.

Rule 2: You CAN review the stories featured here on the site they're located at.

There is nothing wrong with leaving a review lending the writers a helping hand.

Rule 3: Do NOT flame the Suethor here or in the reviews.

Telling the writer to quit writing, to harm themselves in anyway or that someone should come harm them is an absolute no-no. It is not tolerated here. That also said I'm going to point out that being critiqued does not amount to being flamed. Pointing out the flaws in the writing is not cyberbullying nor is pointing out things that worry us about the Suethor's behavior that crop up because of material that is very much public to us.

Rule 4: Handle reviews with care.

Let me make it clear here what I don't mean first. There happens to be a certain group of people who believe that you shouldn't ever leave a review that will hurt the writers feelings. Problem is many of us have seen writers go ballistic over being corrected for formatting and grammar issues which means many people have gotten to the point they choose not to say anything just because they don't want to hurt peoples feelings.

Instead people should review the way they review best. That's why each minion reviews the stories they do, they happen to review certain stories better then they do others. What I do mean by handle with care is this.

  • First... not everyone needs to go and review the story. If you see a review ask yourself if another review is needed as well as how long it has been since it has been reviewed.

  • Second... if we suspect the writer is young of mind either because of their physical age or because of a disability review as if the person is young of mind to the best of your ability.

Note here that I don't say that there should be adjustment made for new writers with their first stories. They should be treated equal to their peers who have moved beyond their first stories.

Rule 5: Feel free to send in stories as well as link of the days.

There is nothing wrong with sending these in, though this Pottersues is more likely to use the PM system on the journal over the actual e-mail accounts. Always be on the look out for things we don't have much of. Do though run the entry through a search engine to see if it had already been featured or not. There are over three-thousand entries on this blog. That also said stories that have been featured before can be used as link of the days.

Rule 6: Feel free to comment on the older entries.

That, and the forth Pottersues is having to do a bit of clean up from the previous Pottersues which is why some things like the Sorting Hat good put on hold. There are over five hundred entries not archived and quite a few entries with no tags. Then there is the fact that some of the older entries don't have some of the newer tags or they're missing tags. Feel free to suggest new tags as well.

Rule 7: Have Fun!

Pottersues is meant to be a fun place to discuss our beloved Mary Sues. No, a Mary Sue isn't good writing but they can still be enjoyable and bring back a lot of nostalgia from when we ourselves wrote our own Mary Sues. Some of us write Mary Sues for fun... there is even a yearly contest that's about writing your own Mary Sue.

It's honestly not really a place for the writers. Sure... the writers are more then welcome to join in the fun but as I've said many are still learning to take critique. It is also takes a lot of courage to realize you've made a mistake and be willing to pull apart your own work. This is the ultimate goal we have for all the Suethors featured here, but most of the time we simply hope to see the writers grow as... well, writers.


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I don't mean to flame or anything (?), but sometimes I think Pottersues rushes into things a bit. I don't mean to be fussy but sometimes Pottersues might rush into things a bit and put up stories that are one or two chapters long, and it does not leave the author time to develop their character properly.

But that is just my opinion. Sorry if I am wrong -_-

oops sorry I made a mistake there I didn't mean to put it twice

Also just my opinion, but I think if a character is a Mary Sue it's usually apparent from the word go, and it's harder to work on rectifying that and undoing stuff than it is to just write them without Sue traits in the first place.

I don't think Pottersues rushes into anything. She puts a lot of time into finding these entries and writing them up on a daily basis, as well as going through the older entries to organise the tags and archives, which takes a lot of work. To accuse her of rushing would be, I think, unfair. Tracking down interesting Mary Sues isn't as easy as it used to be, and she does very well to find so many. The stories featured here are usually of significant length, and even in the case of the shorter ones there's something very obvious about the character that makes them a Mary Sue. It isn't as simple as lack of development, especially when it comes to those rated awful or toxic; it's changing canon, making the canon characters OOC, "specialness" factors or other reasons why the character is super powerful/usurps a canon character's role/is adored by everybody that make a Mary Sue. Stuff like that is usually apparent from the moment that the character is introduced.

This is correct, though I would say it is changing canon haphazardly rather then simply changing canon. You can change canon and not have a Mary Sue. It's how and why the writer changes the canon. You don't change canon to turn it into your special version or to make your characters more special, you change them for logical reasons.

I'm going to add in that I take major issue with writers who argue that their characters can't be a Mary Sue because their stories are AU and because they choose to change canon. I write AUs and I have at times changed canon when needed. There is a right way to do it and a wrong way. Same with messing with the other things indigoneutrino brought up. Of course a canon character isn't OoC if you use proper character development.

I've critiqued quite a few stories that only have a few chapters up and the writers complain that I can't get a good idea of whether their story will be good or not based on one or two characters. They insist I come back later but none of the writers who've promised that it would get better actually got better.

I believe you are confusing two different character developing processes with each other. There is the process of presenting a well rounded character and then there is the process of putting a character through actual character growth so that they grow as an individual. A writer should know their character enough to present a well developed character within the first two chapters and if they say they're still working on developing their character properly it means that the writer didn't do the needed pre-writing before they even started their story. A writer shouldn't discover their characters as they write them, they need to know them before they start writing. Well... a writer can discover their characters as they write them but whatever they write amounts to a rough draft. What you post online is supposed to be final drafts.

This is the "don't judge a book by its cover" argument. The problem with this argument when people bring it up is that people aren't judging the work based on its cover. They're judging the work on the actual content. In most cases you can judge writing based on the first few chapters and in the vast majority where you judge the writing wrong it's not bad to good, it's good to bad.

I like the fact that Potter Sues catches these things at the first or second chapter. It helps authors realise early on that the characters they are writing don't seem realistic, and they develop them along with their plot. I've had several authors in the past thank me profusely for giving them advice early on in their story.

Of course that is my opinion, and you're free to express yours. As a matter of fact, I do agree with you to some extent with this. Giving an author some time to develop a character and their storyline is better than jumping in and criticising sometimes.

Actually, I don't think that you're flaming here. You're just expressing an opinion, and that is more than welcome here. :) At least I hope so... *has been called blunt to the point of being tactless*

I was trying to think of a time when it would be better to give a writer some time to develop the character and the storyline before critiquing. I remembered that there have been a few times I've held off reviewing in hopes that the writer would write a few more chapters so I could get a better feel of them as a writer so I could better tailor my reviewing to said writer.

There are a few times I leave a simple review saying, "be careful about making your character a Mary Sue" when I wasn't sure where the writer was going, but I think that is a bit different and the first situation fits better what you were describing. Most of the time I think it is best to say something early on when things are easier to fix or there are serious problems.


For example, one of the stories I've recently reviewed happens to have a young character who is a mentor to the younger kids in the fandom. The writer of the story wants me to believe that he's made mistakes that his legal caretakers would consider significant enough to blame him for the accident that a younger family member got into and tell him they don't want to see him when they get back from the hospital. This is after said character did the responsible thing of chasing after his young family member who is actually known for being hot-headed and ends up being the one rescuing him. The writer then has him run away rather then taking care of the responsibilities that need to be taken care of, because if they're not taken care of serious things are. The legal guardians of this character are also in charge of a major business where they have to be prepared for emergencies.

The writer not only is trying to tell me that not thinking straight works the way they think it does but that I should have waited to judge said story until they had a few more chapters written. The character is the rescuer of their younger relative for crying out loud and the adults would have known he did the responsible thing, particularly since said character couldn't have been the one to cause this accident. This is the second time I've told them that adults aren't stupid.

I am the same way about reviewing. I sometimes hold off when I see that the story is about a chapter or two in, but I do leave a review if I see signs- for example when an original character is following the canon around?

That story that you recently reviewed sounds really, really confusing. The writer's explanation is equally confusing. I don't know the fandom that you were reviewing in, but boy, it must have been really confusing to you!

The latest story that I reviewed was one in the d'Artagnan romances about a woman following d'Artagnan from Gascony to Paris, taking over his roles and getting into the musketeers in 17th century France and getting the favours from not only Treville but also Richelieu and Louis XIII... and this all happened in the first chapter.

I was called a fandom dictator.

I wouldn't say that the story was confusing. I understood exactly what was going on. I just knew that said story isn't believable. They're still trying to insist people do stupid things no matter how old they are and yet completely missing the fact that there are certain stupid things certain people don't do. They also rattled off "don't like, don't read" and "it's fanfiction so I can honestly do whatever I want" and still insist that I wait for later chapters. I'm not wanting to give more details because it is a small fandom.

yeah I suppose -_- sorry

You might want to stick the actual rules behind an LJ cut.

Thanks. I'll go and edit the entry now.

Thank you for creating these rules, pottersues! They are very, very neat and clean- very easy to find and understand.

I'm new, but I found a really good/bad one, depending on how you view these, called Trouble and Love by Purely Nina. It's so cliche, it shouldn't be allowed.

I'll have to check to see if it was featured previously as the name seems familiar, but then it may just be that this writer has a similar name to another writer. Since it is fairly old there is a chance that it's been featured already.

Edit: The entry has already been featured here... ... but I will feature the previous entry as a link of the day.

Edited at 2014-02-26 05:47 pm (UTC)

Hmm... Most of your rules are really good, but I do think it's really unfair to 'forbid' people from linking the authors to the website. If you put something that someone would find hurtful on the internet where anyone can see it, you should recognize that the author can find it and might be upset by what you're saying. Expecting people to keep mum about this kind of thing is awful and gives the author no ability to defend themselves against the criticism, or even to learn from their mistakes- because they don't know these reviews exist. If you're trying to be helpful and not hurtful as you say you are, you shouldn't mind every author knowing the minute your review gets put up.

You need never unsay anything you did not say in the first place.

Despite the fact that rule was put into place before I took over Pottersues... it was actually put into place by the first Pottersues within the first year... there is actually a reason said rule was put into place. There were people who did link to said stories before said rule was put into place and there are people who have posted links not knowing said rule was put into place.

While their intentions were good in most cases things didn't go well. The writers didn't try to defend themselves, nor did they try to learn from their mistakes. The reason the rule was put into place was because one writer's behavior. They used what we call sock puppets... or what we call "Not Bob", which is where a person pretends to be someone other themselves and/or multiple people. The also said to shut down the entire blog or they would sue for harassment and copyright infringement. This was despite the fact they were the one doing the harassing and even if they could have taken this to a civil court for copyright the use of samples on this blog is within fair use.

Oh... and lets not forget the name calling which involved calling people lesbians and the death threats. That's not fair to the people who read the blog or the writers who come in and decide to act in a mature manner. I wish that the rule could be "don't link the writer to the blog unless you think they can handle it", but sadly we can't tell which writers would handle it maturely. The rules were written up because one of the newer people who read this blog go and tell a writer not realizing what might happen only to have the writer throw a tantrum.

There was also another incident that didn't involve someone with good intentions. This person would go and link the writer's to the blog and the reviews they left were cruel. These reviewers were left to purposefully cause the above turmoil on the blog and there has been speculation that said person leaving the reviews was another writer who was featured here who decided to bully others as there way of handling their feelings. I should also mention that I've seen a major increase in the number of fics that got deleted or never finished during this time period because "Sal" decided to be cruel.

It would honestly be nice if we could link every writer here. However... we don't know if the writer will act rationally and we don't know if the writer is quite ready to receive critique. That's why the rule is in place.

Have you seen Olivia vs Voldemort by jb wife 4 eva? It's terrible, and trollish.

I believe there's a fanfic named Becoming Female.
It features Fem!Harry!MarySue who's suddenly in a relationship with FluffyandRomantic!Draco and friends with Hipster!Trelawney and Ron becomes Sexist!Ron.
One Chapter is literally called "Sex".
There's a talent contest. (Becoming Female)

Not sure whether to be dismayed or thrilled that my own Potterverse fics haven't been reviewed on this site yet... ;)

There are some bloody awful fanfics out there, and I am of more than one mind on the issue.

My first issue is that it's Fanfic. The entire project is MarySue-ish more or less by definition.

So I tend to have a very "liberal" attitude towards bad writers. "If you write what you like, others will like it too," is my motto. (I tend to not review totally crap stories. I only review stories with redeeming qualities, or a great "so bad it's good" vibe).

Unfortunately, I am always proved correct by yet another Pedantic 'Lord Potter's Bank Account and Harem' story which continues for umpteen chapters and generates thousands of faves. :P

Thousands of faves... A good writer would sell his left nutsack to the Demiurge for thousands of faves. (And it's intriguing to note how frequently interest in Potter's bank accounts and "lordship" presages interest in his sexual conquests).

Feeling dreadfully sad about the lack of love my own fics were getting, I've had a rather successful go at taking my characters into "AU" territory. But I'm too scared to go completely Mary-Sue.

Only villains should be Original Characters in my view. The rest of us fans are here to read about the main characters, not your perfect sexual partner, or your sister's jerk ex-boyfriend. :P

Like I said: Two Minds!


A complex issue is it not?

It is indeed. :)

A bit of Mary-Sueism sometimes works, though more often it doesn't. I really can't stand Original Characters as Protagonists in fanfics because I have absolutely no emotional connection to them.

I also hate pairings which are extremely improbable (Dramione, Drarry, Snarry etc... includes ROMIONE in my view :P ). Nor am I fond of OOC characterisations unless there is a credible explanation for them.

But fiction is always necessarily a bit of wish fulfillment, or an expression of the author's unconscious intentions. So I hesitate to get on people's cases about it.

I am really enjoying your site, and what I think is a rather balanced and NOT mean approach. :)

As a largely non-fiction writer, I have always had the desire to write fiction, but could never complete a project (first chapter blues :P ). When I rediscovered fanfic about 6 years ago, I found myself suddenly inspired to see my fiction projects to their conclusion.

It's great practice for folk who are actually serious about writing (not merely engaging in literary masturbation), and I learn a lot from reading what others write. I discover what works and what doesn't. And I am much more inclined to take constructive criticism to heart, even if I sometimes initially disagree with it.

Your site is a lot of fun, and it is also very helpful in learning what works and what doesn't, for different readers.

PS: Funnily enough, I recently got a review on my first Harry Potter/Wizards of Waverly Place crossover from someone upset that I did NOT Mary-Sue Alex Russo's character. They HATED her, and wondered why I wrote her as such a "bitch." :D

That's when I knew I had done a fairly decent job. :D

(Personally, I LOVE Alex Russo's character. I see her as an assertive, intelligent, and engaging young woman with an adorable brattiness. I like strong female leads).

Edited at 2014-09-28 05:26 am (UTC)

I actually didn't even remember the story that I wrote so long ago, that I deleted and was a mary sue story. But when finding the commentaries for that story, just made me laugh and made me realize how much I improved as a writer over time!

I am glad that this community by does not tell writers who do write sues to stop writing or any other bullying acts.

Also are you guys still around? I hope so!

Edited at 2014-11-01 08:05 pm (UTC)

Pottersues is still running.

Myself and the previous Pottersues have always hoped that when writers can eventually find their stories here that they have the kind of reaction who had.

(Deleted comment)
What were you trying to say?

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