Friday, April 22, 2011

Do You Mary Sue?


This isn't a marriage proposal.

A Mary Sue is an idealized, near perfect character who is a fictionalized, wish-fulfillment on the part of the author writing a character.

Sometimes it manifests as a character that looks a lot like the author; sometimes it's superpowers or abilities that the author wishes he/she had. Oftentimes everything seems to go their way. Life can be pretty perfect for Mary Sue.

Apparently the Mary Sue term originally came from Star Trek fanfiction in the 1970's.

So tell the truth writers...do you Mary Sue?

And if you're not sure, there is a very funny Mary Sue test you can take to see if you are an anti-Sue, non-Sue, borderline-Sue, Mary Sue, ├╝ber-Sue, or irredeemable-Sue.

All fun and games, though. As for me? I do Mary Sue, but not in extremes. ;)

One last thing--Leigh Moore and I are going to host a quick and easy blogfest on May 16th called "Laughter is the Best Medicine Blogfest." The joke will be on everyone for this one. Details to come!

50 comments:

mooderino said...

I find the idea of perfect characters to be against everything i find interesting in a story, so no, can't say i do Mary Sue.

regards
mood
Moody Writing

Sarah said...

Whew! I put one of my more attractive MCs to the test and she's a "non-Sue". That was pretty funny, though. I highly recommend it--thanks for the link, Lydia!

Theresa Milstein said...

Exotic saliva?!

I don't write Mary Sue, but I've read plenty of books with Mary Sues. Actually, not. I've read plenty of books with the male version of Mary Sue. John Joe? Every guy is impossibly hot and he winds up liking the girl even though she sees herself as nothing special. And the chemistry is so unrealistic, I want to snap the book shut and hurl it into the fireplace. If I had a fireplace.

Laura Pauling said...

No, I don't think I mary sue b/c I always try and make sure my characters have major flaws - b/c I love reading stories with flawed characters. But if don't right, I don't mind a Mary Sue either. Bella didn't bother me in the least.

Anne Gallagher said...

I don't think I Mary Sue. I try to make my characters as real as possible and I dont' know any perfect people. I'll have to take that test.

lbdiamond said...

LOL! Great post.

You blogfest sounds like fun--can't wait to get the deets!!!!

Sailor said...

I am already married. I don't think Mary wants to marry me :)

Old Kitty said...

My character is a Non-Sue!!! !I'm so happy now!! Thank you so much for this fun post!!

Mary Sue? I should Coco! Take care
x

storyqueen said...

I would actually pick up and read a book called The Irredeemable Sue.

It just sounds so funny.

B.E. Sanderson said...

It said the character in question was borderline-Sue. :shrug: I'm okay with that.

Emily Rose said...

Ha ha, I love the picture!

Bathwater said...

Everyone likes a hero, but really heroes have flaws and are not perfect. They are still pretty cool though. I think I do Mary Sue a bit when creating a story but not past the realistic Sue point.

Carol Kilgore said...

I have a borderline-Sue. She's below the mid-point for borderline, so I'm not too worried. I have had Mary Sues in the past, though.

Love 'exotic saliva' and 'poops out gold'!

Bossy Betty said...

My MIL is Mary Sue. Well, that is her name anyway. Now I know she is not really a Mary Sue.

I think Mary Sue's are dangerous in a story. I don;t believe it when I character is too good.

Angela Felsted said...

I think we all do it, don't we? Unless we go out of our way not to.

Jayne said...

I don't Mary Sue, but I think I want to try it now. I wonder how she'll come out. Oh, I guess perfect, right?! Hmmm, I could you use a little of that today. ;)

Ru said...

Awesome link

Heather said...

Most of the time I don't Mary Sue. My characters aren't reflections of me as much as they are other people. Writing isn't wish fullfillment for me, it's discovery of new places and new people. I'm odd, I know. :)

Munk said...

I ran the test on a few of my favorite characters that I did not write. They all Mary Sued, with reckless abandon.

Then I ran the test on my own.

I am proud to say that I Mary Sue in a big, big way as well.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I learned from something Tom Selleck insisted on in his character,Magnum -- he would make mistakes, would lose the girl, and always yearn for lost love. He said it would make the audience root for him and feel closer to him. He dared to break that fourth wall between him and the audience. And for him, it worked.

I look forward to your and Leigh's blogfest, Roland

notesfromnadir said...

Thanks for the quiz--very detailed & I think it can help people w/ their characters!

As for Mary Sue, I like that name for a future character, but no, I tend to steer clear of perfect characters.

Olga said...

I have met several Mary Sues in the fictional writing. I don't think I was charmed by them. There is too much maple syrup in them.

Krispy said...

Oh, I try very hard not to Mary Sue. I think it's fine to have a few of these characteristics for a character, but it can't feel overly crafted and it can't be super obvious this is the Author's Dream Life. I have characters that have things I want or traits/powers I wish I had, but I try to make sure they also come across like actual people with their own insecurities and desires that have nothing to do with me.

And I love that quiz. It's hilarious.

Tracey Neithercott said...

I'm kind of mean to my characters. I guess I take my anger out on them. Their lives suck. So no Mary Sues here!

Justine Dell said...

"Poops out gold"
*chokes on coke*

I took a look-see at the quiz and I'm going to be taking several of my characters through it! (It's long, though--lol) Crossing my fingers that I don't have a Mary Sue. But I probably do.

~JD

Lindsay said...

Hidden secret underpants! Where can my MC get some of those?

I'm one of those writers who likes her characters to suffer. So I don't have any Mary Sues... but maybe one day I'll have one. lol.

Karen Lange said...

I think I Mary Sue a little but try to keep a balance. Love the term. Looking forward to the blogfest! :)
Have a great weekend!

Ghenet Myrthil said...

I don't in my WIP. My main character is far from perfect. Interesting topic!

Shelley Munro said...

I guess it depends on the story. When you look at it, none of us are perfect and our characters shouldn't be either. It's a delicate balance though because you can get adverse reader reaction for some shortcomings you give your characters.

Jai Joshi said...

I've seen the Mary Sue so many times!

I try not to do it although I couldn't say for sure that I haven't been guilty at some point. Every author has a fantasy character that they wish was themselves.

Jai

Liz P said...

I have come across Mary Sues and needless to say they are annoying and dull. If a Mary Sue becomes apparent, I rarely continue reading the story...

I am very careful to avoid writing any Mary Sue characters. Characters need flaws to make them interesting, and to give them things to overcome as the plot progresses.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Though I avoid doing the Mary Sue, my characters are imperfect creatures with many flaws, I may be guilty of creating a Mary Sue in one of the minor characters. Great post, Lydia. Happy Easter, hope you have a lovely weekend.

Linda Gray said...

What a great test! My MC is high borderline, uh-oh. This is really useful information. Thankyou!

Linda Gray said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ensouling said...

I don't Mary Sue because I think they're nearly impossible to write! I don't get what their motivation is.

Hope you have a great weekend!

SugarScribes said...

What a fun test. I have a main character who is a borderline-Mary Sue. I guess I have some work to do. I plan on using the test on some of my other major characters.

Looking forward to your blogfest. Have a happy holiday

Trisha said...

I've certainly been known to Mary Sue, but I am well aware that perfect characters are NOT interesting to me, so I would never want to write them in my fiction. I like real characters that have struggles and work through them in the course of the narrative. But they also have to be people I can respect. I tend to write strong, independent female characters (at least I see them that way), for e.g.

L'Aussie said...

Don't we all Mary Sue? I'm sure we do especially with our earliest stories. Glad I came by and can prepare myself for a good laugh with your blogfest.

Denise<3

L'Aussie Travel A-Z Challenge Posts

LTM said...

Woo! Blogfest pluggerie!!! It's gonna be awesome.

As for MS... well, I don't think so. Maybe my very, very first MC, but I was learning. *cough* :D <3

Donna Weaver said...

What a fun quiz. I took the test, and I found I wasn't sure about one of the questions. Depending upon how I answered it I'm either a non Sue or borderline.

Carol Riggs said...

Fun and informative post! I think I may be guilty of Mary Sue-ing on occasion. Oops. Gotta include those flaws!

Ciara said...

Love this. My character's are so flawed but I'll go check out the quiz. :)

Amanda Borenstadt said...

Now I have an urge to write a character with wings who poops out gold. Princess Fairy Poopalot. LOL

Nas Dean said...

Loved your post!

Congratulations, Lydia! You won the Annie West Giveaway book "Prince of Scandal" over at my blog! Please contact Annie West with your deets!

Ricki Schultz said...

Great quiz! And my MC's a "non-Sue" to boot -- thanks for this, Lydia!

Heather Taylor said...

A little bit? I always try to give my MC's flaws with good traits so that they're as human as possible. It's too easy to create Mary Sues' alone.

Melissa Bradley said...

I Mary Sue a perfect character and then rip her apart with flaws until I get a good balance of dark and light. Great post and I checked out that Mary Sue test. It was very interesting.

Beth said...

Love this post. I hadn't heard of this phrase until this weekend, when I came across it somewhere else. I'll have to check out the quiz!

M Pax said...

lol Your first line cracked me up.

Perfect people in life and on the page are annoying. I try to avoid writing them.

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

Thanks for the link! I took the test. So fun and informative. I'd never heard of a Mary Sue before.

Amy

 
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