Help! I Don't Want to Create Another Mary Sue!!!

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by Daughter_Of_TheForce, Nov 7, 2001.

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  1. Daughter_Of_TheForce Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 1, 2001
    star 4
    I need some advice about handling an original character I'm going to use in my next story. I don't want her to come across as a Mary Sue, but it's a near thing. How do I avoid that trap?
  2. Rokangus Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2000
    star 5
    The best way, IMHO, would be to give her some faults. The biggest complaint that people seem to have with Mary-Sues is that they're too perfect.

    For example, your character could have a deathly fear of something, in the same way that Indiana Jones is afraid of snakes. Something simple like that. Or maybe your character has a specific experience that drastically effects them. Maybe they were abused as a child, or was never good at making friends, so they stay to themselves.

    Also, from time to time, it helps to have the character lose a battle or something similar to that. Just to show that they are falible.

    Bascially, the best strategy is to keep them human. Nobody's perfect, so don't make your characters that way, and it shouldn't be a problem.

    Hope that helps. :)
  3. Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2000
    star 4
    And DON'T have her end up in a romance with Luke/Obi-Wan/Qui-Gon/Darth Maul!!! That's the number one Mary Sue no-no! :D

    Giving characters faults just makes them more interesting; I highly recommend it.
  4. Daughter_Of_TheForce Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 1, 2001
    star 4
    Well, she won't look Qui-Gon in the eye, and she finds Obi-Wan annoying.

    How's that? :D
  5. Julie Moderator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Aug 1, 1998
    star 5
    That's a good start! A little conflict between the characters is good. Just be careful not to go overboard --you don't want the readers start hating her because she's constantly rude/mad at our Jedi.

    Making someone a relative of the Skywalkers/Obi-Wan/Qui-Gon is also a typical Mary Sue pitfall. It can be pulled off, it is just very difficult.

    Have you seen the Mary Sue Litmus Test? It has a great list of the most common mistakes.
  6. Daughter_Of_TheForce Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 1, 2001
    star 4
    Thanks, Julie! :D I took the test and scored a 9, so I guess she's on the right track. This still won't be easy because she's a Jedi (a padawan, really, but she's not apprenticed to anyone we all know).
  7. Julie Moderator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Aug 1, 1998
    star 5
    A nine is fantastic! Congradulations! :)
  8. IronParrot Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Aug 2, 1999
    star 5
    I think the most effective kind of flaw to give a character to avoid Mary Sue Syndrome is to give him/her some very questionable morals or motives.
  9. Daughter_Of_TheForce Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 1, 2001
    star 4
    Questionable motives and morals? Well, she is carrying burdens few other Jedi are subjected to, and she does have some blind spots concerning that. Questionable motives will crop up later, though.
  10. Ty-gon Jinn Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 12, 2000
    star 4
    I got a ten on my main character right now. That's actually kind of surprising, because I thought for sure he would be a Marty Stu. There's a little about this in the "Making New Characters Good Characters" thread. I took Grand_Admiral_Jaxx's suggestion there for avoiding Marty Stus and gave him a slight speech impediment in one scene because he got really frazzled.
  11. Daughter_Of_TheForce Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 1, 2001
    star 4
    My character doesn't really need any more impediments. She complains constantly about being short (she's probably heard Yoda's maxim "size matters not" and ignored it), but sometimes her shortness turns out to be an advantage.
  12. Rogue_Starbuck Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 29, 2000
    star 4
    That Mary/Gary Stu test was really fantastic. I tested my character I am developing and scored an 11. :D
  13. Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2000
    star 4
    Well, I was cutting it a bit close; OTOH, most of what I write is original characters only, so there's not a lot of interaction with the Stars.

    I got a bit confused by "Does your character have more than one name?" I answered yes, she's got a first name and a last name. And "same racial group"... they mean, human, right?
  14. Rokangus Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2000
    star 5
    Hmmm, my main character scored a 14, just barely in the non-Gary-Stu section. Though it's tough for him, he's married to another original character so a bunch of the questions in the love section ended up a 'yes'. Being a Jedi didn't help either. :( Oh well I guess I should have expected it.

    In any case, sounds like you have a really well rounde character, Daughter_Of_TheForce. Looks like you don't need to worry about that little problem. :D
  15. Vergere Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 2000
    star 5
    Julie that's one awesome website :) my current original character tested as a 3! ....i think that's because i specifically created him to be the conflicting factor in the fic though.
  16. Sreya Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 7, 2000
    star 2
    Something I always try to keep in mind when I'm dealing with my characters is character development... how do they progress and change over the storyline? What do they learn? If you look carefully, you'll see that Mary Sues don't change in a story -- because they're already exactly what is needed.

    Sreya
  17. Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 9, 2000
    star 4
    [face_laugh] Well, for the fun of it, I ran Tahl and Mara Jade through the litmus test! Tahl got 17, Mara got 19+. Technically, on the whole "friends with a villainous character, who she reforms, etc." I gave her a "no," but really, if you flip that around, "is a villainous character who is reformed by the intercession of one of the orig. char" and she's well into the 20s!

    Guess her middle name is "Sue?" ;)
  18. Daughter_Of_TheForce Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 1, 2001
    star 4
    Tahl & Mara Jade = Mary Sue! [face_laugh]

    As far as changing through the story, my character had better change or--

    --I'm not gonna say because that would be a spoiler for another story! :D

    Also, I'm finding that you can cut down on the Mary Sue effect by limiting the number of scenes from this character's POV. Have just enough to keep the story moving.
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