POPULAR: Cliches in Pokémon Fanfiction

The acest of trainers
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@Drakon: I meant that aspects of your stories could be considered cliches because of how often you personally do them: i.e. always beginning or ending chapters in a certain way, writing actions or battles in a particular way all the time. Something that could be considered your 'signature thing' as an author, but something that when you use it too often it diverges into cliche territory.

For example, in the Alex Rider books, in most of them early on when the villain is first met something will be described in such great detail that it usually ends up killing the villain later on. By the time I reached the last book, when this giant salt pit was introduced and described in luscious detail, you knew that someone would fall into it and die.
 
Princess of Dorkness
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For me it's probably the female protagonist/deuteragonist duo. Outside of the ill-fated Stranger in a Strange Land, every single story I've written or at least planned heavily has had the two most important characters be girls.
 
The acest of trainers
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@Eliza Prescott: If it is any comfort, I wouldn't think that only a few stories with similar character pairings would be much of a cliche. With Bond, it definitely is after 23 movies, but I think with significantly less than that you can get away with it :p
 
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only a few stories
Hmm, let's see!

Extensively written
Storm Island: Andrea Dennison/Kimberly Fairbrooke
* Stranger in a Strange Land: Kamin Duskwillow/Lilian Anderhal
Land of the Roses: Andrea Dennison/Kimberly Fairbrooke
Purity: Emma Blackmoore/Samithe Chelle

Extensively planned
Let the World Fear Us: Juliette Paciland/Elaine Rigby
Union City Angels: Janine Karlis/Amber Scholaide
Red Jungle: Tiffany Werther/Queen Elizabeth II (yes, you read that correctly)
The Three: Emma Blackmoore/Tania Greybell
Manu Imperium: Justinia of Cumae/Dendae

Partially written/planned
Rocket's End: Eliza McKenna/Domino
Constants and Variables: Alice Wright/"Madeline"
Mountain Rain: Cybil Huntsman/Abigail Huntsman
Swamp Fever: Amanda/Marina

Of the thirteen stories I've put forth some sort of commitment to since 2009, be it actually writing it or merely planning it, only one has broken from the mold with which I usually work. There's likely more stories I've worked on before 2009 that I don't remember/have the notes for anymore.

I don't know why my main characters end up being women a vast majority of the time, but it's just a comfortable norm I've found for myself. *shrug*
 
shame personified
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I saw a graph earlier (on my phone, so I lost the link) that explained in a more science-y why writers should avoid cliches, and apparently, it's because if the brain hears a common phrase/figure of speech/idea that it's heard already time and time again, the brain will only recognize that you're hearing words, but nothing more. If this is true, your brain is literally wired to feel averse to cliches, and it's impossible to evoke a reader's senses with cliches because the brain doesn't react to them.
 
shame personified
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@Eliza Prescott: to be fair I don't think planned stories can yet count as a cliche XD

@diamondpearl876: That is pretty fascinating. Can you remember the name of the site or whatever?
I saw it on Pinterest, and re-finding stuff on there is awful if you don't save it first (which I didn't). XD It wasn't an in-depth analysis or anything anyway, but it makes me wonder if there is indeed some more in-depth discussion somewhere about the science behind it.
 
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So, I recently watched Doctor Strange and I loved it. But it also made me realize this.

A Mary Sue in one story or the like might be underpowered in a different world. I mean, Doctor Strange had people who manipulated reality! That might seem insane, but Steven Strange can control time! I think this is a really cool idea.
So, basically, if you want to balance a mary sue you can make the opponents/difficulty/whatever stronger.
 
The acest of trainers
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That is a good point. I think a lot of people scream 'Mary Sue' the second anyone shows up with a magical ability or something, but it really depends on the context of the story. A powerful magician in Harry Potter makes sense - a powerful magician in Modern Family does not.
 
Requiem Raver
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That is a good point. I think a lot of people scream 'Mary Sue' the second anyone shows up with a magical ability or something, but it really depends on the context of the story. A powerful magician in Harry Potter makes sense - a powerful magician in Modern Family does not.
Which is why most Mary Sue tests are sometimes utterly shit. Springhole (The Universal Mary Sue Litmus Test) is pretty much the only good one I can think about. Others are extremely fandom specific or specific to original fiction. And some are just plain weird.

Like this with these utterly nonsensical Sue traits:

+ Does the character play a musical instrument well? [1 point]
+ Is it guitar? [1 point]
+ Bass? [1 point]
+ Violin? [1 point]
+ Flute? [1 point]
+ Piano? [1 point]
What makes these 5 instruments worthy of an additional MS point?

+ Does the character use a katana or any other Asian weapon [1 point]
+ Despite being of non-Asian heritage? [3 points]
What the hell is up with everyone associating katanas or other Asian weapons with Mary Sues? And if you look at it, it seems it'd still apply to Samurai...who'd logically be expected to use weapons like a naginata or a katana.

+ Does the character have wings (this counts even if she/he is an angel, only has wings sometimes, can't fly, etc.) [10 points]
What does a winged character have to do with Mary Sues? I'd think that in the appropriate setting this wouldn't be a problem.

[If your character exists in an otherwise normal universe, add 2 points to her/his score for *each* of the following abilities that your character possesses (with or without the aid of charms, spells, etc.). If, however, possession of these abilities is considered normal in your character's universe, add only one point each.]
+ Teleportation
+ Telepathy
+ Telekinesis
+ Pyrokinesis
+ Prophecy
+ Healing
+ Animal communication
+ Empathy
+ Shapeshifting abilities
+ Invisibility
+ Invulnerability
+ Flight
+ The ability to pass through matter
+ General magic or sorcery
+ Time travel
+ Transdimensional travel or communication
+ Photographic memory
+ The ability to see auras
+ Summoning
+ Power of seduction
+ The ability to shrug off minor wounds
+ The ability to kill people with her/his bare hands
+ Super strength or speed
+ Skill in martial arts or hand-to-hand combat
+ Sharp-shooting
+ Sleight of hand
+ Computer hacking
Why 1 point even if existence of these skills is normal in the character's universe? I can get the supernatural abilities earning 2 MS points in a "normal" universe but even the relatively mundane and real skills of sharpshooting, martial arts, sleight-of-hand, computer hacking, ability of bare handed killing are worth 2 points in a "normal" universe.
 
The acest of trainers
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That is actually the test that convinced me the whole Mary Sue thing was a load of bollocks. Whilst any character with all those elements would be a tad excessive - I'm sure some fan fiction writer out that has written about a flying, katana wielding, guitar playing telepath at some point - it is all fairly extreme to suggest that any of those elements on their own is enough to make them a bad character. All cliches have the possibility to be amazing in the right hands.
 
shame personified
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I know how to play a couple songs on the piano, you know, because that's a perfectly plausible and even encouraged thing for me to learn in real life. I suppose that makes me a Mary Sue all by itself. *shrugs*
 
Thesaurus rex
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What the hell is up with everyone associating katanas or other Asian weapons with Mary Sues?
Probably because of good ol' katana cultism. It's something of a dying trope now, I think - at least, if you look in the comments below your average HEMA video people always say mocking things about katana fanboys but you never see any actual katana fanboys
 
"You can order me around and I'll disappoint you!"
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I actually made a few Mary-Sue tests myself, however these were all done for specific fandoms and written and edited for those fandoms accordingly rather than being 'universal'. It's kind of sad that people think mary sue = boring/cliche/unlikable character, sure a Mary-Sue can be that, but when worked in either the context of the universe or their own stories they can be interesting as any other characters.

However, the thing with individual mary-sues within solely a fandom context is that your fan character would more often than not (although often with Pokemon not is the more common case) the character would need to fit into the universe without usurping the canon protagonists that already exist within the series or drastically affect/change the universe that the author has set-up, such as characters that exist only to get the canon characters to change their actions or view points, or to just be better than them. However, in fics or universes that are based off the canon universe but don't have the new fan characters interact with the canon cast (or only have them interact with minor canon characters) then the case of the mary-sue is a bit different, since these characters are their own protagonists and therefore the whole idea of being more special/worthy etc. in comparison to the canon protagonists is a bit less of an issue.

Just my two cents on it.
 
Small ripples lead to big waves.
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The TV Tropes page about spotting a Mary Sue, from what I can remember, lists traits that Mary Sues often have, rather than what makes one a Mary Sue. Apparently, one of the defining Mary Sue traits is being purple-coloured. But I like purple...
 
The Pokemon Observer
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Previously when I was still a newbie writer and knew the word "Mary Sue" for the first time, I also tried the Springhole's MSLT, and tried to correct my protagonist character by eliminating the characteristic traits listed in there. But nonetheless, it doesn't make my story more interesting, I feel it just oppositely made my fic rather unexciting. The fic of this protagonist I had long ceased to continue writing, filed as part of my writing black history. Still yet, this work of mine always remind me of how substanceless the word "Mary Sue" is,

Look at the MSLT, how do they define "Mary Sue"? Well, they do it by checkpointing a laundry list of characteristic traits:
- Being a strong female protagonist
- Being an charismatic woman automatically loved by many
- Having oddly colored hair/eyes/skin
- Being a mix breed of several different non-human species
- Being multi-skilled and excessively talented
- Being an exotic foreigner is a Mary Sue
- Having a sophisticated tragic background
- Able to use special abilities no other can use
............. and there are so many more I don't even feel like listing all of them. This is just a tip of an iceberg.

So, you do it by looking at what the character is, but not by looking at what the character do within the story?
That's why I say this generic understanding of "Mary Sue" is substanceless. Because MSLT is just looking at Mary Sue at her superficial surface, but not looking at her intrinsic inner depth.
But well to be fair, IMO "Mary Sue" is indeed substanceless, because she is not a character with any multi-dimensional depths, but simply perfection and idealism covered in a very gorgeous human-like outer surface. Well in fact that surface doesn't have to be excessively magnificent although most of the time it is, but the most important trait of Mary Sue is, the world will still revolve around her despite she didn't do anything.

IMO, other than the narrative interpretation of defining Mary Sue is a story plot blackhole, I find all characteristic interpretation of Mary Sue ridiculous, as that basically means every single fictional characters one may find in literature, regardless of genre and language. Well in fact, even some of us in Real-Life can be branded as Mary Sue, if our autobiography is treated like a fictional work.
 
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