Mary Sues: Readers Hate Them, So Don't Make 'Em.A Lesson by TopHatGirl
Let's slaughter the perfection.
Ohmigoddess, you guys, look at the popular courses page. This course is number one!! Hooray! We did it! We rock! Oh yeah! I would like to thank the academy, and also all of the people who have subscribed to this course!
Okay, cheesy acceptance speech out of the way, we're onto the next lesson: Mary Sues. My favorite. Because you get to rag on perfect people!
Now, you may ask, what are Mary Sues? Here's Wikipedia's definition: A Mary Sue (sometimes just Sue), in literary criticism and particularly in fanfiction, is a fictional character with overly idealized and hackneyed mannerisms, lacking noteworthy flaws, and primarily functioning as a wish-fulfillment fantasy for the author or reader. Perhaps the single underlying feature of all characters described as "Mary Sues" is that they are too ostentatious for the audience's taste, or that the author seems to favor the character too highly. The author may seem to push how exceptional and wonderful the "Mary Sue" character is on his or her audience, sometimes leading the audience to dislike or even resent the character fairly quickly; such a character could be described as an "author's pet".
Translation? A Mary Sue is a character who is impossibly perfect, usually female. She's beautiful. She's smart. She's talented. She has a really long name. She has an angsty past that makes her stronger. She's the victor, the cheerleader, but understands the underdogs too. She gets the best, and IS the best. However, she is very one-sided, and pretty full of s**t disguised in sparkles and rainbows pony unicorns. The male form is called a Gary Stu. Here's an example of a Mary Sue:
Scarlet Martin- a 14 year old breath-takingly gorgeous lean, tall tan girl with shoulder length chestnut brown hair and stunning violet eyes. She basically acts like a normal teen: loves music, animals, and is very nice. She is tougher than she appears, quiet and thoughtful, but very kind and sweet If she opens up to you. If she doesn't like or trust you or if you anger her, she can be very fierce, and cold. Even though she has a graceful, small and slim figure, she's very strong. She is very good at archery
Sigh. That is an actually description my friend gave me for a character she's creating. Ohmigoddess, that pissed me off. Now, I'm going to post this again, and bold the Mary Sue parts.
Scarlet Martin- a 14 year old breath-takingly gorgeous lean, tall tan girl with shoulder length chestnut brown hair and stunning violet eyes. She basically acts like a normal teen: loves music, animals, and is very nice. She is tougher than she appears, quiet and thoughtful, but very kind and sweet If she opens up to you. If she doesn't like or trust you or if you anger her, she can be very fierce, and cold. Even though she has a graceful, small and slim figure, she's very strong. She is very good at archery.
Avoid using those phrases, please please please. I do know that literary critics despise Mary Sues, and so do the readers. To kill Mary Sues forever, MAKE FLAWS IN YOUR CHARACTER. Examples of flaws are:
-Nerdy, not sociable
-Doesn't have one of the five senses, smell, touch, sight, taste, hearing. (I love this flaw. I have made many a character who can't touch, and/or smell. I do suggest avoiding hearing imparement or muteness for a main character though. It makes it extremely difficult to move the story along.)
There are many more flaws out there. If you want some flaws, look at yourself. Seems harsh, but writers are people with many flaws. I also suggest looking at people around you. Together, we cankill Mary Sues once and for all!
Stay tuned for our VERY LAST LESSON. Thanks for reading, keep making wonderful characters! But with flaws!
Added on June 4, 2010
Last Updated on June 4, 2010
AboutHi, I'm TopHatGirl! If you're here about my character lessons or to get some advice, email me instead of messaging at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is because I don't go on this site as much anym..