I've written a lot of fan fiction in my time. I do it for enjoyment and the cathartic release of simply writing for pleasure.
I do like writing.
As an older woman, I thought I was immune to all of the psychological imperatives for writing a Mary Sue.
I'm more interested in human beings, with all their foibles intact, than in the perfect models propagated by fashion magazines. I wasn't that taken with romance when I was fifteen, let alone now.
Wish fulfillment can happen at any age, but I've had plenty of real life opportunity to explore the depths of my actual emotion. I wanted to look at polar opposites and challenge myself to write from another point of view.
In my realism, I included a whole cast of players to populate my world. I was careful not to let the original characters over-take the canon ones. After all, this was fan fiction, not original fiction.
All was well until an accusation of Mary Sue suddenly appeared in my comments box. It really threw me.
The female character involved was not a self-insertion. In fact, she couldn't have been further away from the real me. She had as many faults as she did things to commend her. She hadn't saved the day, taken over the world nor started a romantic liaison with a major canon figure.
For a couple of days, the whole thing snowballed. My accuser brought back up to support her labeling. With my confidence teetering on the brink, I accepted that I must have committed that foul crime.
It was only when I became upset about it, that a friend learned what had happened. She reassured me, in disbelief and fury, that my character was not a Mary Sue. She also pointed out that my story, immediately prior to the accusation, had received a much publicized 10,000 hits.
It wasn't reality, but jealousy that had led to the emergence of a troll.
Was that the end of it? No way. The damage had been done in my own head. Writing fan fiction stopped being such a pleasure, and I momentarily lost self-belief in my ability to create it. It took three months for a collection of friends and readers to talk me back into putting fingertips to keyboard again.
We can laugh about it now, but at the time it was terrible. And I do wonder how many other authors are silenced more permanently because of Mary Sue.