This Essay was written out of a desire to identify what ingredient in Self-insertion fics divided the ones I liked from those I didn't. It took me a long time to figure this out - there was almost exactly a year between my first impulse to write it and the final act. I had read several other essays posted on the Fanfic Mailing List, though most of them equated self-insertion with Mary-Sue-ism from the start, which is one reason why I took some time to realize they weren't the same thing. I wanted to write something that didn't say "don't self-insert", like so many before me, but rather supported those who wanted to try it with some constructive advice on how to do it. If the other essays didn't reduce the number of self-insertion fics, then perhaps I could raise the percentage of those that are bearable. :)
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