~The Official Star Wars Mary Sue Litmus Test~

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by Discorpor8, Mar 30, 2006.

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  1. Discorpor8 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2005
    star 4
    We've seen them all. She's more beautiful than Padme, Sabe, Siri, Leia, and Mara combined. She's got a spitfire personality that would make Leia seem like a pansy. Her Force powers exceed those of Anakin. And, of course, she turns every man in the Star Wars saga into a lovesick puppy dog. Including Jabba. If this is what your OC sounds like, you may want to take this test.

    DISCLAIMER: This is not meant to offend anyone. It is simply a tool for writers to evaluate their characterization. Also remember that a Mary Sue can be a fun way to start writing fan fiction. I myself wrote a couple when I started out, and I still think some up from time to time. This test is meant to help you avoid cliches and common pitfalls some authors are prone to when writing OCs. Above all keep in mind that this test is NOT a completely accurate definition of you or your character. On to the questions!

    Category 1: What's in a name?

    1. Is your character's last name Skywaker, Fett, Kenobi, Jinn, Dooku, or Solo?
    2. Is your character's name more than 10 letters long?
    3. Are more than 50% of said letters consonants?
    4. Is there more than 1 apostrophe in your character's name?
    5. Does your character have a cutesy nickname to shorten typing out her real, unpronounceable name?
    6. Was this nickname given to her by Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon Anakin, Han, Boba, Jango, Kyp, Jacen, Anakin, or Luke?
    7. Or did your character give herself her own name "so she wouldn't forget"?
    8. Is the title of the fic a reference to the wonderfulness of your character?
    9. Does your character's name mean something like "Beautiful", "Dances with dewbacks", et cetera?
    10. Do other characters know this and comment on how wonderful her name is?
    11. Is your character named for a different fantasy/sci-fi character, such as Arwen, Xena, or Cinderella?
    12. Is it a variation on an Earth name with more apostrophes, weird spelling, or adding of hyphens (e.g. Jocelyn becomes Jo-c'lyn, Amy becomes Aemmiye, etc.)?


    Category 2: I am your father. And your uncle. And your half-brother. And your second cousin's best friend's grandmother's former roommate.

    11. Is your character closely related to any major figure in the Star Wars saga, as in immediate family?
    12. Is she Jango's hitherto unknown female clone?
    13. Is she a hitherto unknown sibling of Anakin, Luke/Leia, Anakin/Jacen/Jaina, Ben, or Obi-Wan?
    14. Is she the offspring of Obi-Wan and Siri, Leia and Han, Luke and Mara, or Anakin and Padme?
    15. Palpatine's beautiful daughter who goes to the light due to the efforts of Hottie of Your Choice, thus causing great angst?
    16. If your character is in any way related to Jabba, Tarkin, or Yoda, you are excused from this test. Go forth and write.
    17. Or, does your character not have any family, and is adopted by the Jedi Order because of her OMGMagickal Chosen One Force powers?
    18. Is she Qui-Gon's new Padawan instead of Anakin/Obi-Wan?
    19. Does Hottie of Your Choice raise her "as his child"?
    20. Does she still fall in love with said father figures despite the creepy undertones?
    21. Is there a lot of tension in your character's family because she wants to be a Jedi/Sith/Imperial/Rebel/Pilot (Podracer, TIE, or X-Wing)/Gas Station Attendant?
    22. Is this all solved when she runs away with Hottie of Your Choice or convinces them that we all should just follow our dreams?

    Category 3: Be mindful of your plot, Anakin. It betrays you.

    21. Does the plot mainly involve your character falling in love with the hottie of your choice?
    22. Does your character at first hate said hottie, but come to love him through the aid of some sweet-talking?
    23. Is your character a Sith or an Imperial who comes to the light via some sweet luvin' with the hottie of your choice?
    24. Does the tension of being an enemy provide for plenty of angst and Evanescence lyrics?
    25. You are excused from this test if you use a song by Tom Leher or Weird Al Yankovic to convey the angst.
    26. Is your character a Jedi with some kind of "speshul" power, like teleportation, Force light
  2. Eleventh_Guard Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2005
    star 5
  3. Master_Talek Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2005
    star 2
    Acually, the whole Temple full of OCs I have (literaly), passed the tests. Maybe it's because many of them were also younglings. And my major OCs (the Sages) act like a bunch of crazy people sometimes despite being over a thousand years old. (They are elves and Alagaesia Dragon Riders) Let me put it this way, the way the Dragon Temple is run, is exactly the opposite of the Jedi Temple. There are more races though, ie, Dwarves, elves, dragons, other creatures.

    61. If Obi-Wan, is she put into the oft-mentioned Obi-Wan Kenobi Ward?

    Well, at one point, I'm debating on whether to extend it to the Saga so then, Lanthir, Lyze, Thorongil, Tekrir, Arial, Orik, Arya, Dain, and Leif would probably be in that ward at sometime. The Twins (Arial and Tekrir) would probably be in there more. So would Xanatos. (He's good but not because of the whole Mary Sue thing.)

    62. Does she then tease Obi-Wan about this?

    Well, the only thing she would say is that the roles are reversed this time, instead of her patching up Obi-Wan and any of the others who are hurt, it is the other way around.

    The only way I would ever write a Mary Sue is as a humor fic. :p
  4. BrentusofGath Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2005
    star 4
    As a guy, I wonder where are all the guyisms? What about my male OCs? They are certainly not going to steal any "hotties" like Han or Obi. Having no male OC references is kind of disappointing.

    I know the majority here are ladies, but give us guys some luvin' too. I want to hear that my OC isn't a Marty Stu because he doesn't steal that slinky kittie Padme away from Anakin. I could care less if a female OC steals Anakin, that just leaves more Padme for me- er, my OC. :D Maybe a little unisex phrasing in the next version of this, please? [face_praying]

    Other than that, I like the concept.
  5. Eleventh_Guard Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2005
    star 5
    I do think there should be more questions about powers, perhaps a whole section on them, as there was for beauty; Gary Stus tend more towards weapons and abilities than Mary Sues do (and I'm often guilty of writing female Gary Stus... more of the overpowered-character than the beautiful-character stereotype, but female.)

    Desa Baclaw, version 1 (she's version 2 in the fic where she appears) only got 2 points, though it's really three and got out of the third on a technicality (secret sister of Allana, who wasn't listed on the siblings question.) And she was a Sue, the superpowered variety, IMHO. :oops: The main reason she didn't hook up with Ben Skywalker is because they were, surprise! cousins.

    My suggestion is to change the scoring system, with fewer points needed to be Sues/Stus, and possibly weight the questions, since some are much more indicative of a problem than others. I usually use the Universal test that isn't fandom-specific, and it's really strict; Desa I flunked that one and Desa II did okay but not great.
  6. ophelia Cards Against Humanity Host. Ex-Mod

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Jun 25, 2002
    star 6
    Is it a bad sign if your list is giving me plot bunnies?

    related to Jabba, Tarkin, or Yoda

    Please--somebody go write a fic about an OC related to Jabba, Tarkin, *and* Yoda, and keep me from doing it.

    Does she die on the battlefield in her love's arms, urging him to "keep fighting, for us"?
    59. If your character says the aforementioned last words over the comm channel to Porkins as she is shot down destroying the Death Star, send me your fic now!


    So . . . beautiful! :_| I need to see that . . . especially the OC dying in Porkins' arms as they both fly one-man (woman, whatever) fighters at deadly speed through the icy void of space.

    You are excused from this test if you use a song by Tom Leher or Weird Al Yankovic to convey the angst.

    Quick! Where are the lyrics to "The Masochism Tango?!"

    Maybe we need a Horrible Things challenge thread . . . just so we can have fics in which the love child of Yoda and Jabba's sister is adopted and raised by Tarkin, only to fall in love with Porkins, get shot down over the Death Star, and somehow leap through the vacuum of space into his arms and fighter, not necessarily in that order, where she urges him to "Keep fighting . . . for us," and then Tom Lehrer starts singing ". . . set fire to my tie, as we dance to the Masochism Tango" at the exact moment that Porkins explodes.

    BEST. OC FIC. EVARR.

    JFWIW, my 2 OC's who usually come close to the borderline came up strangely clean on this one . . . it could be because most OC Litmus Tests give blanket points for things like "Is romantically involved with a canon character" or "Has special personal history with a canon character." One of my OC's gets a near miss on this because she isn't Qui-Gon's new Padawan instead of Obi-Wan or Anakin--she's his original Padawan, a role which could be A) fair game, in a non-EU universe, B) a replacement (or just a placement?) for the never-named "first apprentice" mentioned in some of the JA books, or C) a replacement for Xanatos. None of the above changes the fact that she is an OC of the same gender as the author with a special relationship to a canon character--something which is generally considered a red flag. Using broader categories might help avoid "false negatives"--unless of course your goal is to create a "default=no" Mary Sue test, which might serve as a useful comparison and second opinion to all the "default=yes" Mary Sue tests.
  7. leiamoody Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2005
    star 4
    I ache for the touch of your lips, dear,
    But much more for the touch of your whips, dear.
    You can raise welts
    Like nobody else,
    As we dance to the masochism tango.

    Let our love be a flame, not an ember,
    Say it?s me that you want to dismember.
    Blacken my eye,
    Set fire to my tie,
    As we dance to the masochism tango.

    At your command
    Before you here I stand,
    My heart is in my hand. ecch!
    It?s here that I must be.
    My heart entreats,
    Just hear those savage beats,
    And go put on your cleats
    And come and trample me.
    Your heart is hard as stone or mahogany,
    That?s why I?m in such exquisite agony.

    My soul is on fire,
    It?s aflame with desire,
    Which is why I perspire
    When we tango.

    You caught my nose
    In your left castanet, love,
    I can feel the pain yet, love,
    Ev?ry time I hear drums.
    And I envy the rose
    That you held in your teeth, love,
    With the thorns underneath, love,
    Sticking into your gums.

    Your eyes cast a spell that bewitches.
    The last time I needed twenty stitches
    To sew up the gash
    That you made with your lash,
    As we danced to the masochism tango.

    Bash in my brain,
    And make me scream with pain,
    Then kick me once again,
    And say we?ll never part.
    I know too well
    I?m underneath your spell,
    So, darling, if you smell
    Something burning, it?s my heart.
    Excuse me!

    Take your cigarette from it?s holder,
    And burn your initials in my shoulder.
    Fracture my spine,
    And swear that you?re mine,
    As we dance to the masochism tango.


    [face_whistling]
  8. MsLanna Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2005
    star 6
    OMG!:eek:
    I didn't get more than three points for any of my charcters.[face_worried] Even the one that's me!:_|
    I herewith demand a new test.[face_not_talking]




    oh, and I want to be on your pm list when you write thaf fic ophelia.[face_whistling]
  9. Healer_Leona Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2000
    star 9
    Haven't had the chance to test my one OC agaist the list. It's fun just to read the list though. :D :D
  10. ophelia Cards Against Humanity Host. Ex-Mod

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Jun 25, 2002
    star 6
    Thanks, leiamoody . . . although now that I see those lyrics, I'm wondering if that song just--*might*--not be considered "family friendly" enough to write a fic about. [face_worried] Although . . . the "say it's me that you want to dismember" line does nicely capture that special brand of Skywalker-family love.
      ::wavy lines as we move into a visualization sequence: the Skywalkers as "The Waltons." House, EXT., night. Voiceovers::
      VADER: "G'night, Luke-boy!"
      LUKE: "G'night--" ::sudden hollow roar/thud as lightsaber whacks off limb:: "Uhhh . . . Paw." ::wavy lines mercifully return us to TFN::
    Hmm . . . maybe not. There's always Weird Al's One More Minute, although I'm not sure that's much of an improvement. :(

    MSLanna: I would, if I ever, ever wrote such a thing, but Lord help me, may I not. [face_praying]
  11. MsLanna Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 8, 2005
    star 6
    Do it, ophelia, oh, please, do it!![face_praying]



    ... because there is a scene preying on my mind in which Tailahazy is running an errand for her father, and it is only blocked by my inability to imagine what the daughter of Jabba and Yoda would look like.[face_worried]
    I'd try to drown the idea in alcohol, but I'm scared that between me having had too much and me blacking out, terrible things may happen in my brain.:_|

    Humming happily Tailahazy went down the corridor almost going skippedy hop...
    :_| :_| :_|
    Teh Pain!
  12. JediKnight-Obi-Wan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 13, 2000
    star 5
    Mine scored a 5... :D

    I still don't get the "Is this character a Jedi?" question. I don't see how that makes a character Mary Sue since most people write about Jedi...I mean...it's STAR Wars! A better question for that would be 'Is this character not a Jedi but still have all the powers of a Jedi'.I've seen that before in MS.
  13. Discorpor8 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2005
    star 4
    I hate to sound mean about a few of the responses, but there's a paragraph above the test called a DISCLAIMER. OK, mean mode done.

    I know a few of the questions are a bit generalized, but keep in mind that this is to help new writers avoid cliches. "Is your character a Jedi?" is simply to say, "are you solely a Jedi just so you can be OMGSOSPESULANDPOWERFUL?" I'm not trying to act like a fanbrat or anything; I'm simply trying to provide entertainment and a way to rate your characters. Just read the disclaimer. Also, there will be numerous edits and add-ons to the current test from here on in. The bright side of your complaints is that I know what I have to revise :)!

    And PLEASE pm me when you write that fic, Ophelia. I'm also thinking about a Porkins romance, but I'll have to wait to write it. Darth School is a cunning one, and he manages to force-choke my every free moment.
  14. SilSolo Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 5, 2004
    star 5
    UP! This is perfect! Finally, an MS Litmus test that includes EU, though you forgot 'sibling of Allana' and any possible offspring of Jaina.
  15. The Great No One Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2005
    star 8
    umm... a major zero on this, and i get off on number 41 anyhoo.
  16. oqidaun Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 5
    Bravo on the Litmus Test!!!
    Excellent work.

    I'm a happy zero.

    :D
  17. DarthIshtar Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 9
    I'm so traumatized! I created a character specifically to be a Mary Sue of sorts and she only got an 8. This shatters my idealistic stupidity!

    5. Does your character have a cutesy nickname to shorten typing out her real, unpronounceable name?
    6. Was this nickname given to her by Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon Anakin, Han, Boba, Jango, Kyp, Jacen, Anakin, or Luke?

    THis is a joke from Noelie and Canadian terms of endearment, given by Qui-Gon.

    36. Is your character really really ridiculously good looking?

    Well, since she's based on the person I wish I looked like...

    39. Does your character look to be in her mid-twenties or teens for no reason?

    Looks younger than me...

    42. Does your character ensnare all the male characters with her beguiling beauty?

    There is a hilarious fic with Obi-wan and her bare midriff.

    43. Does your character never ever ever get acne or sunburn, despite having perfectly porcelain/golden/alabaster skin?

    Well, she might, but we haven't gotten there yet.

    53. Alternately, does the Council approve of your relationship?

    Only because it's absolutely what Qui-gon's polisci professor calls an "Asexual Attachment."

    55. Is the unrest in the Galaxy not a major facet in the fic?

    No, because she's in fics about normal life.
  18. correllian_ale Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 20, 2005
    star 4
    71. In the same fic?

    This question made me think of the line from Clerks... "In a row?"
    (Those of you familiar with the film know why I can't repeat the rest...:p

    Oh, and my main OC got a 2.5....don't ask.
  19. whiskers Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    I swear that part of Clerks has to be one of my favorites.


    8. Is your character's name the title of the fic?
    17. Or, does your character not have any family, and is adopted by the Jedi Order because of her OMGMagickal Force powers? [My Note: Okay, does this mean completely uber Force powers, or just being Force-sensitive gives your character a portion of Gary Stuness?


    Those are the ones that got me. Although I do have an issue with some of the questions. So, I guess my OC has a score of two...


    2. Is your character's name more than 10 letters long?
    3. Are more than 50% of said letters consonants?
    4. Is there more than 1 apostrophe in your character's name?
    5. Does your character have a cutesy nickname to shorten typing out her real, unpronounceable name?


    What if your original character is a Chiss?
  20. HardwareStoreJedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 10, 2006
    star 2
    I have an Original Character, Thareen "Ninefingers" Penumbra. She's half-Elf (Not the Tolkien variety or the D&D variety but the Elfquest variety) and half human. She was born with one hand with five fingers, and one hand with four. (The Elfquest Elves have four fingers, hence the symbolism.) Her origins are in a game of Traveller from way, way, back in the day. Her Traveller character class was Scout, which are people sent out by the Government to map uncharted regions of the universe.

    The original story was she was found by the Jedi Underground, trained for a while, then her trainer was killed. When I revisited the character I did a major overhaul to reflect elements of the Prequel Trilogy. Her expulsion from the order before she could be knighted was a new element, as was the reason why she was thrown out. Her leaving the order occurred somewhere between Episode I and Episode II. She was out on a mission for the Republic Scout Corps during the Clone Wars and the execution of Order 66. She is still fairly young but the hard times she went through show on her face. Her red hair hangs in dreadlocks cultivated since her expulsion from the Order, including the Padawan braid that was never severed which is now a long dreadlock. She has green oversized eyes and tawny skin. And yes, her ears are pointed.

    I have been shy about publically writing about her and her adventures because of my concern that she was turning into a Mary Sue or a female Gary Stu. Apparently my concerns are unwarranted...or are they...?

    How Thareen Penumbra scores:

    Category 1: What's in a name?

    1. Is your character's last name Skywaker, Fett, Kenobi, Jinn, Dooku, or Solo? No.
    * 2. Is your character's name more than 10 letters long? Yes
    3. Are more than 50% of said letters consonants? No
    4. Is there more than 1 apostrophe in your character's name? No
    5. Does your character have a cutesy nickname to shorten typing out her real, unpronounceable name? No
    6. Was this nickname given to her by Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon Anakin, Han, Boba, Jango, Kyp, Jacen, Anakin, or Luke? No
    7. Or did your character give herself her own name "so she wouldn't forget"? No
    8. Is your character's name the title of the fic? No
    9. Does your character's name mean something like "Beautiful", "Dances with dewbacks", et cetera? No
    10. Do other characters know this and comment on how wonderful her name is? No

    Category 2: I am your father. And your uncle. And your half-brother. And your second cousin's best friend's grandmother's former roommate.

    11. Is your character closely related to any major figure in the Star Wars saga? No
    12. Is she Jango's hitherto unknown female clone? No
    13. Is she a hitherto unknown sibling of Anakin, Luke/Leia, Anakin/Jacen/Jaina, Ben, or Obi-Wan? No
    14. Is she the offspring of Obi-Wan and Siri? No
    15. Darth Maul's love child? No
    16. If your character is in any way related to Jabba, Tarkin, or Yoda, you are excused from this test. Go forth and write. No
    * 17. Or, does your character not have any family, and is adopted by the Jedi Order because of her OMGMagickal Force powers?
    Mother died in childbirth, father slain by her tribe as a consequence of her mother's death. She was put out into the forest to die but was instead found by a Jedi recruitment team looking for potential padawans. Boy did they find one. ^_^
    18. Is she Qui-Gon's new Padawan instead of Anakin/Obi-Wan? No
    19. Does Hottie of Your Choice raise her "as his child"? No
    20. Does she still fall in love with said father figures despite the creepy undertones? No

    Category 3: Be mindful of your plot, Anakin. It betrays you.

    21. Does the plot mainly involve your character falling in love with the hottie of your choice? No
    22. Does your character at first hate said hottie, but come to love him through the aid of some sweet-talking? No
    23. Is your character a Sith or an Imperial who comes to the light via some sweet luvin' with the hottie of your choice? No
    24. Does the tension of being an enemy provide for plenty of angst and Evanescence lyrics? No
    25. You are ex
  21. Jaya Solo Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 1999
    star 5
    Woohoo! My OC passed! He's not a Gary Stu... but that could be because he's 3. ;)
  22. Alley_Skywalker Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 27, 2005
    star 4
    Yay! My main OC passed the test! Only five "yes"s :)
  23. Noelie Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 11, 2005
    star 4
    Here is a more interesting question that comes to mind as I read the "litmus" test about the ablity of a Fanfiction Mary Sue to take the hero away from the Profic heroines...

    Personally I find most of the Profic heroines far more irritating and "Mary Sueish" than many of the wonderful characters that Fanfic comes up with. I mean get real, Tahl with her "sriped" eyes? That is one example. Compare that to the wonderful Julune in before the Saga (sorry I can't come up with the author right off, but she is TRULY entrancing) Same hero, and I prefer some fanfic writers' Heroine by far. I would be cheering Julune on in a direct Julune/Tahl clash.

    So why does "money" which makes "canon" (think about that for a minute) dictate who is the real Mary Sue or not?

    Actually one of my favorite threads I remember reading months go here about this subject pointed out correctly that even Luke could be seen as George's Gary Stu.

    Cute test however, and it is fun to use.
  24. Discorpor8 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2005
    star 4
    Thanks for the comments, all! I'm updating the test as we go along based on your suggestions. Keep in mind that this is also fun. It is not to pass judgement on anyone's characters, Expanded Universe, OC, or otherwise. Continue to give me feedback so I know what to improve, but also remember not to take this seriously ^.^.

    Thank you.
  25. Eleventh_Guard Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 17, 2005
    star 5
    Cenja got an automatic pass for being a crystal snake. :D Definitely non-humanoid, there. She had 5 points and then got a bye for the species question.

    3. Are more than 50% of said letters consonants? (does that still apply if her name is less than 10 letters?)
    6. Was this nickname given to her by Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon Anakin, Han, Boba, Jango, Kyp, Jacen, Anakin, or Luke? (origins of her name should be obvious... Cen-ja. :cool: )
    11. Is your character closely related to any major figure in the Star Wars saga? (Not by blood, but...)
    19. Does Hottie of Your Choice raise her "as his child"? [face_worried]
    55. Is the unrest in the Galaxy not a major facet in the fic? (check)

    41. If your character is a species other than a Twi'Lek or any other humanoid or hot species, you are excused. Especially if you're a Hutt. (Not a Hutt, but still) [face_dancing]
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