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Mary Sue Writer?

Updated on January 16, 2015
Mary Sue type
Mary Sue type

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.”

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Mary sue Litmus Test


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    • JannyC profile image

      JannyC 7 years ago

      Thank you Ben glad I provoke thought. Hahaha

    • Ben Zoltak profile image

      Ben Zoltak 7 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Interesting Janny I've never heard of critisism framed in this way. It makes sense though. When I was younger I was very critical of everyone's creations, my own included. As I've grown older though, I guess I've gotten a little softer and not I mostly just applaud the creation in whatever form. If it's something I need to refine though, say that book I keep threatening to finish, maybe my attitude would change!

      Anyway, though provoking article.

    • JannyC profile image

      JannyC 7 years ago

      Then I have done my job as a writer! Thank Pamela. I love to give people something think on and maybe help them.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      Janny, Great hub. I think there will always be a little part of ourselves in our writing as it is difficult to write with the passion we feel inside or maybe some of are opinions. I like this hub because it really gives me something to think about.

    • JannyC profile image

      JannyC 7 years ago

      You are right coffeesnob. Some of the Best selling Authors are kind of Mary Sue writers. Nothing writing wrong with its and baaa the snotty critics.

      And to Sherbet thank you for your lovely comment Im happy I was informative.

    • Sherbet Penny profile image

      Sherbet Penny 7 years ago from Galway, Ireland.

      Great insight Janny, nice informative writing, love it.

    • profile image

      coffeesnob 7 years ago


      I have always put a lot of myself into what I write. Now there is always the character I have created after watching someone in a public arena and developed the personality as they sat there in front of me - is that wrong :O any way i believe those authors who somehow put themselves into their work create a depth that draws the reader.

      I remember when listening to songs as an 8 year old I would place myself in the story of that song and then write the story. Oh I love to write! Writing is me hehe and oh yeah! I have been the Sally sue and the Antsy sue too

    • Vladimir Uhri profile image

      Vladimir Uhri 7 years ago from HubPages, FB

      Great hub thanks.

    • JannyC profile image

      JannyC 7 years ago

      Well holy errors batman you are right. That is a real bad place to have a typo too. Sooo sorry folks and THANK YOOU Uninvited!!! Bless you!!

    • Uninvited Writer profile image

      Susan Keeping 7 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

      Well done, but from the title I thought it was about suing an author. you might want to fix that little typo in your title.

    • JannyC profile image

      JannyC 7 years ago

      Thank you Rebecca I am honored you liked it.

    • Rebecca E. profile image

      Rebecca E. 7 years ago from Canada

      love it, consider this rated up and Stumbled Upon.

    • JannyC profile image

      JannyC 7 years ago

      Happy you enjoyed it Quill Thank you so much. It was fun writing and researching on it too.

    • profile image

      "Quill" 7 years ago

      Yet another winner JannyC...I so appreciate the glimpses you give into your writing have a special gift and one I know will someday will reach many...

      Be Blessed as always