Mary Sue Writer?
Are You a Mary Sue Writer?
First of all what is a “Mary Sue Writer?” In the literary world a “Mary Sue” means the author has discreetly self inserted themselves into their character to live out their life dreams, fantasies, or wish-fulfillment. In other works a weak all to perfect character. The term came from Paula Smith 1973 parody story “A Trekkies Tale” in which she poked fun at Star Trek fan fiction where the main character is usually an adolescent characters where they were either the romantic interests, relatives, or protégé of the established characters in the Star Trek Universe. Don’t forget to add they have some special skill or unique look to them. They were all too perfect.
Now a days though the term “Mary Sue” is used for lack of realism in a character. Everything goes right for the “Mary Sue” or” Gary Stu“(male) character. The Mary Sue character usually overcomes traumatic situations without a thought. They have an exotic talent, rare hair, or eye color. They can hunt vampires at night and still attend college in the morning and be a straight A student….well you get the idea.
This lead me to wonder do we as writers discreetly put a little piece of ourselves into our characters? Is this wrong? The answer is no. Authors can insert a little piece of themselves into their character, just not the obvious physicality‘s . A good example of putting a piece of yourself into your character is for an example your character can smoke, and if you smoke all the better for you can truly explain the taste, feel. Sensation of smoking to the reader. Make sense? But what if you do it without even knowing it?!
There are many questions you can ask yourself to make sure your character is not considered a “Mary Sue.”
- Don’t make your character the center of your books universe. Make sure you have a well-rounded cast of supporting characters around them. It’s not all about Marsha!
- Try not to give your character an exotic ability, name, or eye color that no one else in the world has cause they are the heroine/ hero. That is number on hint you are going in the “Mary Sue.” direction. Even if you are writing fantasy, most fantasies are based on realism.
- Include your sub characters. Do not let them fall to wayside the moment your heroine falls in love with the hunky brooding guy, and think they will still be BBF’s with your heroine. In the real world it doesn’t happen like that.
- Be careful when it come to romance department with your heroine/hero. Love isn’t perfect, nor instant. That's lust my friend.
It don't stop there folks as there are many types of "Mary Sue's " as well. Here is a list of the types of “Mary Sues” pitfalls.
The Antsy Sue
The Antsy Sue is where the characters have has some sort of trauma in their past, and they are guilt ridden. Through love, or a friendship they understand to let go of their painful past, to see it is not their fault. Another version of the Antsy Sue is once again the character has a tragic past, but they get revenge and due to their horrible past their revenge considered justified. The reader is then supposed to feel sympathy.
The Villain Sue
Villain Sue is where the author has a villain character that has a tragic past thus gives justification about why he or she does the bad things that they do. The Villain is also usually befriended or romanced the hero or heroine of the story.
Overall it’s a criticism that has caught on with many judging. Some critics, or would-be reviewer may call the authors characters “Mary Sue’s”, not realizing they are not at all. They also may just not like to book ,or characters because they are strong.
Many of the top-selling books out there apparently have “Mary Sues” characters. Take Bella Swan and Edward Cullen from “Twilight”. They are considered a perfect example of a “Mary Sue”/“Gary Stu” character. Elizabeth Bennett from” Pride and Prejudice” also considered one. Even Luke Skywalker from “Star Wars”! Really?
Take the "Mary Sue" test to see if YOU are a “Mary Sue.” writer.
Here are the voted books in Literature to be Mary-Sues.
- The Mary-Sues of Literature (92 books)
92 books based on 185 votes: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, Marked by P.C. Cast, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, Evermore by Alyson Noel, Hush, Hush by B...