My friends, I have succumbed to the evils of Mary Anne. And just who, pray tell, is Mary Anne? She is Mary Sue’s quaint but still socially awkward second-cousin.
For those of you not yet in the know, "Mary Sue" is actually a writing term that refers to a new type of insidious heroine. She comes to us from the wonderful, wacky world of fan fiction. Basically, a Mary Sue is created when the author projects an idealized version of herself into someone else's story... I, for instance, might write myself into a fantasy episode of Grey's Anatomy as George's sexy new love interest. Perhaps we would arrange for a candlelit picnic at the Fremont Troll, or exchange witty quips over dinner at Bleu on Capitol Hill. And then Meredith would get jealous, and George would be totally over her (and into me)... oh, and while we’re at it I’d be a natural redhead with long, thin legs…
But I digress. I was supposed to be talking about Mary Sues and Mary Annes, and not my fantasies involving fictitious surgical interns. Having defined Mary Sue for y’all, I now move on to “Mary Anne.” This is a term I’m using to refer to my own terrible tendencies. A “Mary Anne” is a character in an original creative world that bears a striking resemblance to the novelist who summoned her forth.
And I’ll admit it. When I write “fiction,” I’m usually writing dramatic versions of my own life. Hence a romance novel about a romance novelist (set in the Pacific Northwest), and lately the urge to set that draft aside and start a romance novel about a teacher… because really, there’s so much potential for conflict in the education system. And if I wrote a romance novel about teaching, I could create a Frankenstein Villain who exhibits all the obnoxious tendencies I've ever seen in school administrators.
Now, doesn’t that sound like fun?
Let me know where you stand on the Mary Sue / Mary Anne issue. And while you’re at it, check out this hilarious comic by GMonkey, lampooning Mary Sues and Harry Potter fan fiction.