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> What are "Mary Sues" and how do you avoid them?, 3 Things: Know, Think, Test
Posted: 2006-07-17, 08:37 PM

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You've heard the term, but what is it? It must be bad. No one likes being called one and no one likes those who are one. It's a Mary Sue. You don't want to make one, but how can you avoid it if you don't know what you're trying to avoid? That's why the first step in avoiding the creation of a Mary Sue is knowing what one is, and what you need to avoid. Some tools that will help you:

Let's first consult everyone's favorite reliable source, Wikipedia: Mary Sue. This explains to us what Sues are, common traits associated with them, and gives examples of Mary Sues in other things. You'll even noticed something called the Anti-Sue. Almost like the other extreme. You'll want to avoid these as well.

And now, a history: 150 Years of Mary Sue. It's long, yes, boring in some places, but there are lots of examples and it provides a good analysis of the character, Mary Sue. It shows how various characters from various works have had characteristics of a Mary Sue, as well as things that bring them about. Careful thinking on this article can help you understand how certain events could mold your character into a Mary Sue.

And now for something short and sweet that gets right to the point: Saving Mary Sue. It quickly identifies the problem and an easy way to fix it. If you didn't read all of the History article at least read all of this one. It'll only take a couple minutes.

Of course Mary Sues only come about when trying to make heroic characters right? WRONG! The next article, Dark Mary Sue, explores how Mary Sue-ism has crept into the world of villainy too. A good article with a list of suggestions as to how this can be avoided at the bottom.

All right. If you've read those articles you're in good shape. Step number 2? Think. Think about what you've just read and compare your character to some of the main problems identified as the causes of Mary Sues. Spend several minutes thinking, comparing, and contrasting your characters to the classic image of Miss Sue and then move on to the final step.

So you've read everything, thought about what was said, contrasted your character to the epitome of a Mary Sue. You're almost ready. The last thing to do is test the level of Mary Sue-ness your character possess. There are two tests you can take:

The Original Fiction Mary Sue Test
The Writer's Mary Sue Test

There's also The Mary Sue Litmus Test, but I have not yet had a chance to test it out, though it's Occasionally Asked Question section at the bottom is very good and I suggest you give it a couple minutes of your time and read. There's also a host of other links with Mary Sue sites to check out though I've not had the chance to read over those and check out their usefulness.

For those of you who don't know, Gary Stus are the male versions of Mary Sues, all though there are several other names for them. The Wiki article identifies a couple other ones.

Note: The works linked to in this topic belong to their respective owners. I hope this helps. Post any questions here!

Good luck!

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Posted: 2017-08-19, 06:32 PM



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ALL the broken links! sweeeet.gif

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