Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Mary Sue is Bollocks

You may have heard of the Mary Sue Litmus Test, or maybe someone called your main character a Mary Sue (or Stu.)

Well, you know what? The whole Mary Sue concept is bollocks. There is nothing wrong with your character.

Look, the whole reason you made a character who's half-vampire, half-angel, with purple eyes with golden flecks and telekinesis is that she's awesome. If you enjoy writing her, then chances are, readers will enjoy reading her.

Many popular characters from successful, published books fit the description of a Mary Sue, such as: Harry Potter, James Bond, Pippi Longstocking, Scarlett O'Hara, Batman, Superman, Katniss Everdeen, and Bella Swan. Many people adore these characters.

But I can year you thinking, "Then do people call my character a Sue like it's a bad thing?"

Most likely, all it actually means is that you're a writing novice whose technique still needs work and lacks subtlety.

It could also mean that your plot is clunky. For example, if your character becomes skilled at all sorts of difficult things without effort, that means you need to write some conflict into the plot for your character to overcome in the path to becoming skilled. If other characters are jerks to your character, there needs to be a reason why--maybe something your character did that they disliked. (It doesn't even have to be your character's fault. Maybe they were forced to.)

Ultimately, it's your story. Write the characters you want.

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