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Responses

  1. Kess (Member)

    Posted 6 years ago

    It looks to me like there's a lot of blurring going on between Mary Sue/Gary Stu and twink characters. To me (largely from my RPing days in superhero realms), twinks are overpowered characters with no real flaws who tend to always win out; Mary Sue/Gary Stu characters are badly-developed characters with no real flaws, who tend to warp the world around them, are generally well-loved, and defy rules (like logic) if it suits them/wins the story.

    Twinks can work if you write them well enough, as long as they play by the rules of the world they're in. If a Mary Sue is written well, they tend to cease to be a Mary Sue, or we love them despite their construction (Anne of Green Gables, I'm looking at you).

    Characters like Columbo and Sherlock Holmes fall into the twink category for me. They are fairly rounded characters. They have flaws (mostly around the interpersonal area, and unlike most Mary Sue characters, they're not well liked), they're maybe a little overpowered, but they tend to win through anyway. It sounds like Jeeves falls into the same basket (I haven't read the books, so I can't be sure). It's the same with a lot of series characters/heroes/protagonists, though: just because we rely on them to always solve the problem (and they always do), doesn't make them a Mary Sue. Being a reliable winner doesn't make it a poorly-developed character. (Bella from Twilight is a classic Mary Sue, and let's face it, she's useless.)

    That's my particular view on Mary Sues. I tend to look more at depth of character and the realistic nature of their use and actions in a story.

  2. Wildbow (Member)

    Posted 6 years ago

    I like the distinction, Kess.

    Though I'm used to the RPG-based term 'twink' being used as a verb, as in 'to twink' one's character and deliberately set out to become overpowered through some item combination or going beyond the rules-as-intended and into the rules abuse. Plus there's the alternate use of 'twink' as a very young looking and/or effeminate gay man.

    But I won't quibble.

    I think you can have Mary Sues that always lose and perpetually suffer, but so long as that gravity is there and the setting distorts around them, they still fit the type. In brief, I'd say that a Mary Sue isn't defined by any particular qualities or actions, but by the (skewed) reactions that consistently follow in her wake.

  3. Kess (Member)

    Posted 6 years ago

    Yeah, I think the term was originally 'twinky character' (or sometimes 'twinked-out character'), and it got shortened to 'twink' over time. It could just be the circles I ran in, too. :)

    The other use (for a gay man) is why I was careful about defining what I mean by it. I'm sure that calling Columbo or Superman THAT kind of twink would get me lynched in some circles. ;)

    Completely agree about the Mary Sues that lose; they're some of the most annoying ones for me. Mostly because they're often limp and whiny, and no-one smacks them upside the head because they're a Mary Sue. Stupid Sue-gravity.

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