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Reading about the Mary Sue in literature has made me super paranoid about the characters I write.

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Sooz
They told me I was mad when I said I was going to create a spidertable. Who’s laughing now!!!
5354
"Mary Sue" originally referred solely to a particular type of character in fanfiction, and was never meant to be applied to regular fiction. People are just dumb and want to legitimize their antipathy most of the time.

Write whatever the fuck you want.
author=Sooz
"Mary Sue" originally referred solely to a particular type of character in fanfiction, and was never meant to be applied to regular fiction. People are just dumb and want to legitimize their antipathy most of the time.

Write whatever the fuck you want.


there are other things to worry about like PLOT HOLES

though not really since 90% of the internet doesn't even know what plot is
"This female character has agency?? obviously it is a Mary Sue" is p.much what the accusations amount to these days. i wouldn't put any stock in it.
My next protagonist will not only have super saiyan powers and a full team of Level 100 Pokemon but he's also a jerk to everyone and no one criticizes him or his shadow katana.
unity
You're magical to me.
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author=Sgt M
My next protagonist will not only have super saiyan powers and a full team of Level 100 Pokemon but he's also a jerk to everyone and no one criticizes him or his shadow katana.

Yeah, that's the ticket!!! I say embrace the Sue-ness and go all out!

-Rainbow Hair
-One angel wing and one devil wing
-Left eye is red and the right is kaleidoscope
-Buster Sword AND Katana
-Best at Magic AND Swordplay
-Only romances deities
-Everyone worships her but secretly fears her, except for the bad guys who hate her but secretly have a crush on her
Sooz
They told me I was mad when I said I was going to create a spidertable. Who’s laughing now!!!
5354
I mean the main issue with a Mary Sue is that it's a character being plonked into an established setting for the sole purpose of upstaging literally everyone else. This doesn't work in an original setting because that's just the main character. Like yeah some main characters are better written than others, but the main issues with Mary Sues revolve around them being put into a story not originally designed for them. All the supposed "Mary Sue" traits? Mean NOTHING, they are red herrings and distractions.

Again, write whatever the fuck you want. Have fun, make the stories and protags you want, and fuck the haters.
Yeah, if you're writing a book and someone is a literal perfect character that every other character loves and is OP and has all the powers and can do no wrong... you might want to give them a bit of an edit to make them a little more balanced as a character (unless they're the evil guy! :O ).

But overall, I see no problem with living through your characters and writing what you love.

Mary Sues/Gary Stus are fine as long as they're not taken too far and you're not expecting people to fall down all over themselves to praise your writing of them as the best thing since sliced bread.
Sooz
They told me I was mad when I said I was going to create a spidertable. Who’s laughing now!!!
5354
author=Liberty
Yeah, if you're writing a book and someone is a literal perfect character that every other character loves and is OP and has all the powers and can do no wrong... you might want to give them a bit of an edit to make them a little more balanced as a character (unless they're the evil guy! :O ).


Large swathes of genre fiction would dispute this TBH
author=Sooz
Large swathes of genre fiction would dispute this TBH

Like what?
Sooz
They told me I was mad when I said I was going to create a spidertable. Who’s laughing now!!!
5354
You seriously want me to list every mediocre fantasy, scifi, and action book featuring a protagonist who doesn't do anything wrong, and who all the other characters love, and is also super powerful? Because there are a LOT of them. It's a really common setup. Just grab a few random books from a particular genre fiction section and you'll probably get at least one.
I think of Wuxia. Read some Chinese Wuxia lightnovels. Like Tales of Demons and Gods, Sovereign of the Three Realms and stuff like that (not all of them go that route tho).
Also reincarnation isekai stories as a genre, really. See how OP the MC can get how quickly, including getting all the girls or whatever. It can be fun to see how they salvage impossible situations, even if their character is way too perfect. Also it's nice to see an army being built by a charismatic leader. I can only remember one where the main character is NOT op, and then it's about love trauma and becoming a maid and mother, who is then also flawlessly perfect at all of those things.
author=Sooz
You seriously want me to list every mediocre fantasy, scifi, and action book featuring a protagonist who doesn't do anything wrong, and who all the other characters love, and is also super powerful?

No, I just wanted you to name one.
I mean, they should have some faults that aren't "I'm too pretty for my own good", but hey, we all agree there are some bad books out there. Like Twilight. XD
It's one of the things that I don't like about a fair number of Bruce Lee movies. He was a fucking fantastic martial artist and the fight scenes are a delight to watch but narratively it's boring. Bruce Lee enters a room with n number of bad guys and disposes of n number of bad guys, sometimes he even breaks a sweat. Sometimes he even takes a few hits before delivering his solar plexus death punch. They're great to see Bruce Lee wreck dudes but there's no tension in the fights or even the overall movie half the time.
Mary Sue used to refer to a specific phenomenon, commonly found in fan fiction, where the writer created a virtual self-insert of a character. This character would remain aloofly detached from the universe as they interacted with it, almost as if observing from outside rather than participating, and usually had no real flaws to speak of. The writer tended to filled the character with all the positive traits he/she wanted, not really understanding the uncompelling character they were making.

But in the last few years, the term Mary Sue has been hijacked by Rey from Star Wars, and is now associated with infallible characters who never struggle, face genuine hardship, or even lose. She's become the poster-child for the Mary Sue trope, even though it's technically inaccurate to the historical meaning. There are lots of great analyses of why Rey is such a terribly written character out there, so I won't elaborate.

But the take away should be that; if you give your characters limitations to their strengths that need to be overcome, or compliment their strengths with weaknesses that are tested in your story, then you should be fine.
Corfaisus
"It's frustrating because - as much as Corf is otherwise an irredeemable person - his 2k/3 mapping is on point." ~ psy_wombats
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I'd like to imagine I subverted the Mary Sue by having my female main be largely reliant on her father figure until he's no longer around, then she takes up the mantle of domineering hard-ass, even if it's only specifically when addressing things that require a hard-ass. She has a stare-down with a villain in the process of leaving when he tells her to move aside as his violent tendencies aren't to be trifled with (going as far to say that if she doesn't move, someone's going to die), but she stands her ground and tells him to go around as she won't be moved by idle threats. As the heir to her people's throne, she's learned through her confrontation with her fears when to exercise her matriarchal birthright, but outside of that, she's largely the same full-hearted lady you met at the beginning.
Cap_H
DIGITAL IDENTITY CRISIS
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Is Mary Sue the same thing as Chuck Norris?

Rey is ok. Her flaws just aren't important for the story. She was super bland in ep 7, but I think that ep 8 set up her arc to become something interesting.
LockeZ
I'd really like to get rid of LockeZ. His play style is way too unpredictable. He's always like this too. If he ran a country, he'd just kill and imprison people at random until crime stopped.
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author=Sooz
You seriously want me to list every mediocre fantasy, scifi, and action book featuring a protagonist who doesn't do anything wrong, and who all the other characters love, and is also super powerful? Because there are a LOT of them. It's a really common setup. Just grab a few random books from a particular genre fiction section and you'll probably get at least one.
Something can be incredibly common and still awful. I think this is an example of that. Give your characters some depth, otherwise they're not interesting.

author=Sidewinder
No, I just wanted you to name one.
Main character from Slime Datta Ken, to name a popular recent anime. I like the anime despite that, though, not because of it. The way magic works is interesting, and the way the setting evolves is interesting, and the political drama is interesting. Most of the characters, including the omnipotent protagonist, are boring as heck.

Sora from Kingdom Hearts, for a more well-known example. I think video games partially get a pass, though. The main character kind of has to be super powerful by the end of the game, especially in RPGs with only one character. He's still a terrible character though. And I think his pass is revoked because Kingdom Hearts is actually fanfiction. He's literally being inserted into existing worlds and upstaging all the original protagonists.
pianotm
The TM is for Totally Magical.
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Cap_H
Is Mary Sue the same thing as Chuck Norris?


No, Chuck Norris actually had to work to be a badass. Training and education are two elements that objectively negate the Mary Sue trope.
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