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    I think with any characterization there’s a point where you empathize, no matter how much of a deviance his or her actions may be from your understanding of humanity.

      ~Benedict Cumberbatch     

Today, sports fans, I’d like to talk about a subject that is long overdue: the Mary Sue (or the male equivalent, Gary Stu). But before I can talk about her, I think I should define what I think she is. This is important because the webs are teeming with varying definitions, and my idea of what she is may not jive with other people’s; the definition I see most often calls to mind Mary Poppins – practically perfect in every way – but I’ve also seen the opposite, where she is described as being impossibly weird. She’s got a bizarre (and an impossibly long) name, eye color, hair color, or other distinguishing feature that somehow signals she’s “special.”  

Mary Sue Bella by PoesDaughter

But defining a Mary Sue is hard because characterization is a very complex thing, and it goes well beyond oversimplified statements that accuse her of being a self-insert, or a proxy for the author in the story. Depending on who you ask, some authors adamantly deny having any resemblance to their characters whatsoever. But other authors, yours truly, for example, believe that all of their characters, whether for mainstream literature or fan-fiction, carry a piece of them inside of them. I can’t speak for other writers, but I can definitely point to every character I’ve ever made and tell you exactly what part of me is in them. So if we say all Mary Sues are self-inserts, then by that train of logic, all characters are Mary Sues, and I find such a conclusion to be reductive at best.

Personally, I define her as a walking cliché; she’s the prom queen you hated in high school, or the girl who is radically emo and anti-social, or the girl who is so tough nobody could ever hope to beat her in a fight. She’s all one extreme or another, but she never falls on the middle of the spectrum. She’s never vulnerable, she’s never weak, she’s never flawed. In terms of fan-fiction, she’s either there to upstage the canon characters in the quest they are supposed to undertake, or she’s there to boink the author’s favorite canon character, and in the words of my friend Obelisk of Light, those two things usually intersect. She’s like Superman – infinitesimally boring because she’s painfully predictable.

Mary Sue Sansa by PoesDaughter

To paraphrase Ernest Hemingway, it is the writer’s job to create people, not characters, because characters become caricatures. This is a problem every writer struggles with at some time in his/her career, and the only real solution to it is to practice. Unfortunately, inexperienced and/or young writers don’t always accept that answer – they just want to quickly slap together a character and dump extremely superficial traits on them before calling it a day.

Perhaps you just don’t know you’re doing that, and you need to be pointed in the right direction. So, here is a list of three generally agreed-upon traits that are hallmarks of the Mary Sue:

1.

PROBLEM: Mary Sues tend to automatically garner the other characters’ respect and adoration without first having earned it.

Think about Snow White – I mean the Disney cartoon version of her. Do you remember how everyone just loved her, even if they didn’t know her? She was so beautiful, virginal, and inhumanly kind that even the animals in the forest just had to be around her. The only people who didn’t like her were Grumpy and the Evil Queen, but even Grumpy came around after five minutes. Who do you know in real life who is like Snow White?  

Snow White by PoesDaughter

The problem that most Mary Sues have is that they’re just too damn good. They never have a bad hair day, they never tell a bad joke, they never say anything dumb. Everybody, even if they don’t know her, falls down in proverbial worship of her, and if they don’t, it’s because they are either stupid or wicked. A lot of times, she becomes “The Chosen One” to fix all the problems, yet there is no clear reason as to why it has to be her.

SOLUTION: Strive to sculpt an honest-to-God person.

Again, I know this is hard work, and it’s a skill that takes years and years to truly master. But start incorporating good habits into your work now so that you start getting better at it. Please refer to my other tutorial, “Characterization,” for a more detailed guide to creating characters, but for the Cliff Notes version, remember that you should strive to make your characters act like real human beings. Real human beings are characterized not by superficial traits, but by the way they interact and affect their surroundings.

There are undoubtedly a lot of you saying, “Well, I gave my character flaws. She’s stubborn, has a bad temper, and drinks a lot.” Good! You’re on the right track. But the difference between a well-developed character and a Mary Sue is that the flaw isn’t just a minor problem for the former, it’s a fatal flaw – it’ll be the thing that brings about her downfall. With a Mary Sue, her flaw never has any repercussions, and nothing bad ever comes from it either. In fact, her flaw will have the opposite effect; it’s going to help her through whatever obstacles come her way. And none of the other characters call bullshit. If they do, then they’re idiots or they’re evil.

Consider the etymology of the word “character.” The word stems from the ancient Greek words kharaktēr and kharassein meaning “engraved mark,” “symbol or imprint on the soul,” “instrument for marking,” or “to engrave.” It wasn’t until the 1600’s that the word began to take on the connotations we assign to it now – that is, the sum of the qualities that define a person. If we consider the original definition of the word as we create characters for our stories, we should be reminded that they should leave a mark on our readers’ souls. This is only possible, however, if we create characters that we can empathize with, that we can understand on a fundamental level. Mary Sues, by their very nature, defy this understanding. We can’t relate to Snow White any more than we can relate to a dung beetle. In fact, we can probably relate better to a dung beetle than we can to Snow White.

2.

PROBLEM: Mary Sues generally have inexplicable or implausible skills.

What do you mean, P.D.? Well, follow along.

1.      No matter how powerful the other characters are, she is somehow stronger and more powerful than they are. If she isn’t better at something, she’ll learn in a fraction of the time it took them to learn the same thing. For example, she will have no prior knowledge of the martial arts, yet overnight, she’s suddenly beating up on ninjas who’ve trained their whole lives. In addition, she’s got tremendous athletic prowess, even if she’s never trained as an athlete. She has magical abilities in a universe that never establishes it’s possible. If the rules of the universe do allow for magical powers, her powers aren’t limited and they’re stronger than the other characters’ powers.

2.      She can either sing like one of the Sirens (and to the same end – with men falling down in worship of her) or she can play a musical instrument flawlessly.

Mary Sue Flynn by PoesDaughter

3.      She is as skilled in bed as a porn star, even if she is a virgin, and her reactions to the situation are just as fake as a porn star’s. Bonus points to those who blatantly rip off any Harlequin romance novel…

4.      She’s fluent in several languages, but being fluent in languages makes no sense to her character’s role in the story. Like, if she were an ambassador to the U.N., it’s entirely plausible for her to speak seven different languages. But if she’s a fry cook at McDonald’s, that’s probably not going to happen (unless she’s like Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting or something). If that’s not the trouble with your Mary Sue, the languages she speaks aren’t consistent with the time/place she lives in. Like, she lives in France in the Middle Ages, when most people were illiterate, but somehow she can speak the language of the indigenous Amazonian tribes. You better have a damn good explanation for that if it’s in your story, like H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine good.

5.      She somehow masters a trade that isn’t consistent with the time/place she lives in. For example, she’s a young woman in ancient Athens who easily becomes a high-ranking politician. Anyone who knows a shred of history will tell you that women had precious few rights in Athens, and could only have jobs that were considered “women’s” work like sewing or baking. Again, see The Time Machine reference from #4.

6.      When men speak of her outside of her presence, they praise her for being low-maintenance and demure, or any other sexist idea of the “perfect” woman. Oftentimes, all the men in the story will fight over her for the right to have her as their romantic partner, even the villains, who will, because she’s so pure and good, melt and become good too.

7.      She is naturally beautiful, and it takes no effort on her part to look this way. Of course, being attractive isn’t what makes a character a Mary Sue; it’s that she doesn’t have to work for it and she still insists she’s ugly as sin, even when the other characters tell her how pretty she is. For her, being beautiful is a curse.

Mary Sue Black Widow by PoesDaughter

SOLUTION: Stay as true to reality as best you can, and do your research!

I don’t necessarily mean reality as we, in this world, know it. I mean the reality of the universe that you’re writing about. For example, if you’re writing an anime fan-fic, it’s not uncommon to see characters with white hair that are really good at martial arts and have magical abilities. That’s a hallmark of that universe and probably one of the reasons why it’s so popular. The problem starts when those traits make your character in that universe infinitely more special and powerful than the other characters.

Listen to me…Real people struggle, even through happy events. Take romance, for example. Real couples, especially if they’ve been together a while, usually fall into routines and get boring. The euphoric butterflies and rainbows only last for so long before you start getting way too comfortable with each other and start taking each other for granted. Couples argue. About big things, about little things. I am constantly fighting with my husband about his goddamned snoring. He gets mad at me if I level up in my Kung Fu class ahead of him. We both look at the couples still in the throes of puppy love, the ones who send love notes to each other on Facebook, like they’re absolutely revolting, and wonder if we ever looked that frickin’ stupid when we were first together.

And while I’m on the subject of romance, you want to know what real sex is like? It’s when you’re going at it, and your dog is at the edge watching you intently while your cat thinks that’s the best time to take a nap on your face. Or, my personal favorite is when you’re going at it, and that’s the time your gastrointestinal system decides it’s the perfect time to let out a huge, rip-roaring fart. Love and romance are not what you see in pornos, so you’d do well to keep your characters out of unrealistic situations like that, unless, of course, your character is a porn star. But even then, I’d be more interested in seeing inside that character’s mind than seeing the down and dirty details of what she’s doing on the outside.

Conflict is the same way. I talk about this a little in my tutorial, “How to Write Fight Scenes,” but a real fight is not how it’s often depicted in the movies or video games. In real fights, people get seriously hurt. They can’t get gut shot and keep fighting as if nothing happened. Even Superman, the almighty poster child of the Gary Stu, isn’t completely vulnerable to injury, at least when he’s been exposed to kryptonite. Similarly, your character can’t take on ten super-baddies who have superpowers of their own and expect to win the fight, let alone walk away from it unscathed. I read somewhere that in order to keep your protagonist compelling and realistic, you have to let the villain win sometimes. Otherwise, your audience will get bored by your story because they know what’s going to happen. So, let your character get her ass handed to her once in a while. It makes for more compelling reading, and it keeps her from straying into Mary Sue territory.

Mary Sue Superman by PoesDaughter

I think a lot of things that cause Mary Sues can be resolved by doing ample research. If you’re writing about Joan of Arc, for example, take some time to brush up on your French history. Look into the Hundred Years War. Familiarize yourself with the culture and politics of the day. Learn why it was such a big deal for a woman – and a teenage girl, no less – to lead an entire army against the British troops. That way, you avoid putting her into completely implausible scenarios.

Here’s why research is so important: your readers can suspend their disbelief and go with you on a completely impossible journey. They know it’s absolutely fantastic, and in the case of fantasy or sci-fi, completely make-believe. But in order to keep them hooked into your delusion of grandeur, you have to work even harder to get the other details accurate, no matter how small. If they see your female character from 17th century Russia competing in the Olympics in martial arts, they’re gonna call bullshit because the modern Olympics didn’t start until 1896, and those readers are probably going to give up on your story. Readers are fickle like that. They can only put up with so much unrealistic stuff and inaccuracy before they abandon you to the wolves.

In short, you need to strive to be as realistic and true to human nature as you can when you’re writing. In order to avoid creating a Mary Sue, you should become a people watcher – study how real people in real life behave. Don’t trust Hollywood to educate you. Do the legwork for yourself.

3.

PROBLEM: Mary Sues never face any real problems, or any real consequences.

One of the biggest hallmarks of the Mary Sue is that she is virtually above conflict – she faces very little, if any, hardship, challenges, or obstacles. Things that would ordinarily make an emotional and/or physical impact on a person just aren’t there with a Mary Sue, and if those things are present, she conveniently escapes having to deal with them. This is especially true of consequences; the Mary Sue will never have them. For example, let’s talk about Twilight and the Queen of the Mary Sues, Bella Swan – and stop right there, Twi-tards, I don’t give a rat’s ass how much you love those books and wish you were her. Go run her through one of those Mary Sue litmus tests out there before you start griping to me how unfair I’m being towards her. She is off the charts bad.

Mary Sue Twilight by PoesDaughter

But I digress. Bella Swan. Her parents are conveniently absent through most of her shenanigans, and I think that’s pretty frickin’ fantastic considering her own father is the town’s sheriff. Let me tell you something from my perspective as a mom of a pre-teen girl – if you’re a cop and you don’t know your daughter has skipped town to Italy, you have failed as a parent and a police officer. This, of course, doesn’t even count how okay everyone is with their idiot daughter getting married to the sparkly undead…Anyway, she switches schools and is absurdly successful at the transition right away; all the kids immediately love her. Hell, they announce her arrival on the front page of the school newspaper, even though she’s awkward, purportedly plain, and not famous for anything. She thinks of herself as just an average girl, yet in spite of that, she’s got Captain Sparkleshanks and Wolfman and a few other dudes just drooling over her without even really knowing her, magically forcing them to turn their characters inside out for her, and they spend the next four books fighting over her like a piece of meat. She has the gift of prophecy, which conveniently solves many of the problems in the plot, and she has super-speed and strength after she becomes a vampire (I use that term loosely here), but it’s far greater power than even the most ancient of her race. She never gets hurt or loses a fight. The one time she does get hurt – when little Miss Demon Spawn chews her way out of her and she “dies” – Captain Sparkleshanks bites her and all is well again.

You know, if you look at Twilight from an objective standpoint, you start to imagine that the world is just magically bending its will to be convenient for Bella.

But that is the point of mentioning her. Mary Sues are the pampered princesses of the writer. Whatever she wants or needs – be it power, love, beauty, happiness – is hers for the asking, and because the writer is essentially God, he/she gives it to her freely without making her earn it first.

Mary Sue Stephenie by PoesDaughter

SOLUTION: Create serious problems for your character.

For a more detailed look at how to do this, please refer to my tutorial, “Writing Conflict: Sadism at its Finest.” But in essence, you’ve got to have your character endure problems. Let her feel genuine pain. Let her feel loss. Be as mean as you possibly can to her, even in little ways. Let no victory come easily for her. You have to divorce yourself from your emotional attachment to that particular character, and in fact, you must take sick joy in finding ways to confound her and ruin her life.

But this advice doesn’t just end with you throwing things in her path. This also extends to the consequences she faces for her actions. If she burns down an orphanage, her punishment can’t just be a slap on the wrist. If you’re doing your job right, the people around her will react strongly. Not everyone will just stand around having a big ol’ laugh about her mischievousness; not everyone will think she’s cute. Some people will get angry, some people will want to string her up in the middle of the town square to punish her. Not only should she behave like a real human being, the people around her must behave like real human beings and react accordingly.

Mary Sue Simpsons by PoesDaughter

Ultimately, if you want to avoid creating a Mary Sue, you need to work hard to create a real person, and to do this you need to depict her as realistically as you possibly can. She cannot be simplistically depicted and hope to be successful. Remember, a great character is not one that is free of flaws, but one who has flaws that she must overcome in order to do great things

In this tutorial, I define a Mary Sue and talk about ways to avoid creating one. 
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Daily Deviation

Given 2015-04-20
The Problem With Mary Sue by PoesDaughter is a great piece that is, according to the suggester, "especially relevant to young writers who are so afraid of creating a Mary Sue that they don't create a compelling character at all." ( Suggested by neurotype and Featured by HugQueen )
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:iconpoesdaughter:
PoesDaughter Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2015  Professional Writer
I think so. Wasn't there various ranges listed on the Mary Sue litmus test to let you know if that was good or not? 
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:iconsilverleaf02:
silverleaf02 Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2015
i will take your words to heart when i write again. i made a total mary sue character my first attempt at writing but now that ive grown up a bit i can see the potential under the frills and sparkles. thank you for pointing out what i should try to avoid doing in the future.
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:iconpoesdaughter:
PoesDaughter Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2015  Professional Writer
You're welcome. Good luck! 
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:icondoodler95:
doodler95 Featured By Owner May 2, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is fantastically written! And congrats on the DD, my friend! :D You deserve it!
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:iconpoesdaughter:
PoesDaughter Featured By Owner May 4, 2015  Professional Writer
Thank you! :hug: 
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:iconbattlefairies:
BATTLEFAIRIES Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2015
I had a conversation about the topic with my friend only two days ago! It was about Mary Sues and Misogyny - how would you say it comes that Mary Sues seem to outnumber the Gary Stus? Are female characters somehow treated differently by authors and their critics? When it comes to Mary Sues, female seems to be the norm.
Any insights would be welcome, if you have 'm.
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:iconpoesdaughter:
PoesDaughter Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2015  Professional Writer
That's a really good question. I think there are a lot more Gary Stus than Mary Sues, actually. It's just that we're looking for faults with women so we notice Mary Sues more than Gary Stus. I think that while women are criticized for being plastic and unrealistic, men are valued for those same exact traits. It speaks to issues with our society; women have to behave within traditional parameters or they face brutal criticism. Men, however, are praised for behaving in unrealistic ways. It's a gross double standard.
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:iconbattlefairies:
BATTLEFAIRIES Featured By Owner May 1, 2015
Mm-mm I think that must be exactly my friend's standpoint on the matter: that it's an example of everyday sexism.

I think I've read it said somewhere on the forums that male protagonist can get away with gary stuism, because historically, there's hardly any female protagonists and all people had to go with were, indeed, unrealistic men.

Thanks for answering me so promptly!
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:iconpoesdaughter:
PoesDaughter Featured By Owner May 2, 2015  Professional Writer
You're welcome. I may do a tutorial or discussion about this issue. It's very unfair, in my opinion. 
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:iconsushi-troll:
Sushi-Troll Featured By Owner May 3, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
I couldn't agree more. (I'm the friend she mentioned.) I'm also interested to see if the term Mary Sue discourages writers from creating female protagonists - among the fanfiction writers that aim to go original, that is.
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:iconpoesdaughter:
PoesDaughter Featured By Owner May 4, 2015  Professional Writer
I think fear of accidentally creating a Mary Sue definitely discourages writers, as evidenced by the fact that there are more heroes than heroines in literature, even contemporary literature. I know with mine, I'm very nervous about accidentally doing that. Neurotic, even. I proceed as planned, confident in my skills as a writer, but it is something that I am always thinking about, and it's affected choices I've made regarding her. 
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:iconsushi-troll:
Sushi-Troll Featured By Owner May 4, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Whereas with me, I once tried making my protagonist male, and failed. xD I guess this means all my protagonists will remain female. :D
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:iconpoesdaughter:
PoesDaughter Featured By Owner May 5, 2015  Professional Writer
I think the protagonist should be whatever it has to be to best serve the story. If that's a male or female, so be it. :D
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(1 Reply)
:iconbattlefairies:
BATTLEFAIRIES Featured By Owner May 3, 2015
I'll make sure to tell my friend!
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:iconleopold002:
Leopold002 Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Informative.

Have never thought of Bella Swan as a Mary Sue... until now. Interesting observations!
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:iconpoesdaughter:
PoesDaughter Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2015  Professional Writer
Thanks!

Yeah, I mean that not as an (anti) fan, but as another writer. I think she's shoddily constructed.
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:iconokitakehyate:
Okitakehyate Featured By Owner Edited Apr 27, 2015
Umm, that's all well and good and you give excellent advice that I will be sure to apply as a writer, but have you ever actually read the Twilight books or at least seen the movies? I'm only asking, because you got one thing wrong in there: "She never gets hurt or loses a fight. The one time she does get hurt – when little Miss Demon Spawn chews her way out of her and she 'dies'." That's wrong, I seem to remember her falling through a window, breaking her foot, getting bit by James, cutting her hand and sending all the Cullens into a frenzy at a party, and getting all bruised up from rough sex with Edward during the movies. Do those things not happen in the books too? Bella actually gets hurt a lot, also when does she even "fight"?
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:iconpoesdaughter:
PoesDaughter Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2015  Professional Writer
Sadly, I have read and seen those books/movies. As an English teacher, it's my job to know what people are reading.

All those examples don't change the fact that Bella is Queen of the Mary Sues.

And I say that objectively, mind you, from another writer's perspective. I'm not dogging on Twilight because of the subject matter - I'm a fan of vampires, honestly. But Bella is shoddily constructed.
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:iconokitakehyate:
Okitakehyate Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2015
I don't argue with that, I'm just nit-picky about facts. When someone gets something wrong it urks me.
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:iconpoesdaughter:
PoesDaughter Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2015  Professional Writer
I understand. But due to time constraints, I couldn't list minor injuries that ultimately had no bearing on her character development.
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:iconokitakehyate:
Okitakehyate Featured By Owner May 1, 2015
pfft! Minor? Have you ever broken a bone or nearly bled to death?
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:iconpoesdaughter:
PoesDaughter Featured By Owner Edited May 2, 2015  Professional Writer
I'm in Kung Fu. I've came within a hair of cutting my finger off with my war fan before class one day and stayed through class before I finally went to the ER for stitches (which they put in without anesthetic because the Lidocaine wasn't working to numb me up). I've broken two ribs and still kept sparring. I've broken bones in my feet. I've been in a car accident where, because of the force of impact, my tendons ripped a chunk of bone from my thumb. And I've given birth three times, each one naturally. 

So to answer your question, what do you think?

To me, what she goes through is minor. I'm so not impressed by her "injuries." And again, it doesn't change the fact that she's a Mary Sue. If you're in love with Twilight, good for you. I'm just telling you, as a very experienced writer who's trained for years and now teaches how to write, I can honestly tell you that those are crappy books. Stephenie Meyer is a terrible writer, and Bella is a terrible character because she's a Mary Sue. If you don't believe me, you need to test her against one of those Mary Sue Litmus Tests. 
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:iconokitakehyate:
Okitakehyate Featured By Owner May 2, 2015
Okay, you're a tough guy... I'm impressed! Bella is a teenage girl though, what's minor for one person isn't always for another who's very different in tolerance to pain.

Again not arguing that she isn't a Mary Sue, just saying she did actually get hurt pretty badly. The other factors are enough to make her a Mary Sue though.
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:iconpoesdaughter:
PoesDaughter Featured By Owner Edited May 4, 2015  Professional Writer
I'm not a guy, I'm a woman. If you're as nitpicky about the details as you say you are, I expect you to get that much right. 
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(1 Reply)
:iconpoesdaughter:
PoesDaughter Featured By Owner May 2, 2015  Professional Writer
And again, those injuries had absolutely no bearing on her character development. That, ultimately, is the point. Injuries will deeply affect a good character. On the other hand, they won't help the Mary Sue's development, or even help the plot's progression. They just serve to make the Mary Sue look cute. 
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:iconpinballwitch:
pinballwitch Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2015
congrats on DD! :D “Writing Conflict: Sadism at its Finest" << this title, now I definitely want to read it :aww:
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:iconpoesdaughter:
PoesDaughter Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2015  Professional Writer
Thank you :D
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:iconmrs-durden:
Mrs-Durden Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
Your amazing work has been featured here: Daily Deviations Weekly Highlights XVII :heart:
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:iconpoesdaughter:
PoesDaughter Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2015  Professional Writer
Thanks for sharing that! :) 
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:iconalloci:
Alloci Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Can I tell you how much I love you right now? I don't even know you. Does that make you a Mary Sue, too? :P
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:iconpoesdaughter:
PoesDaughter Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2015  Professional Writer
:hug: I :heart: you too! :lol: I probably am a Mary Sue. I'm so full of win it's not even funny ;) 
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:iconverstecktergeist:
verstecktergeist Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is so awesome! Thank you so much for writing it :)
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:iconpoesdaughter:
PoesDaughter Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2015  Professional Writer
No problem. Thank you for reading it! :D
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:iconsakuradreamerz2:
SakuraDreamerz2 Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2015
This definitely will help me when I write my characters! ^^ Come to think of it, can you help me with two that I have so far?
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:iconamaywolf:
amaywolf Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2015
Truthfully I enjoyed this. It's actually making me rethink a few of my older characters and some of my current ones. The older ones I had long ago knew needed some love, more recent ones need some tlc. But this is a good rundown. I had never really thought about the idea of a Mary Sue
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:iconpoesdaughter:
PoesDaughter Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2015  Professional Writer
Yay! I'm happy you did, and I'm glad it's made you think about how to revise your characters. :)
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:iconamaywolf:
amaywolf Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2015
It also made me realize why I had been suffering some writers block. I really hated the female character I created because I had gotten bored with her, problem was half the story was suppose to revolve around her. In the long run I realized I didn't need her as much as I had thought and the story began to progress once again. 
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:iconpoesdaughter:
PoesDaughter Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2015  Professional Writer
That's great! I mean, it sucks that the character your story revolves around feels boring and useless, but I'm glad that you had that revelation. It will allow you to get out of the story's way and let it be what it wants to be. That makes for much better writing, in my opinion :)
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:iconshippuden23:
Shippuden23 Featured By Owner Edited Apr 20, 2015
This is awesome and should be very helpful for new writers. I also love the humor in this. The part about sex almost killed me :lmao:
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:iconpoesdaughter:
PoesDaughter Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2015  Professional Writer
:lmao: Thank you!
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:iconwolfcubzero6:
WolfCubZero6 Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2015  Student Artist
This is really helpful ill need to make sure I don't write and marry sues or Gary stu.
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:iconpoesdaughter:
PoesDaughter Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2015  Professional Writer
Thank you! Well, even if you do by accident, it's a learning experience. :)
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:iconwolfcubzero6:
WolfCubZero6 Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2015  Student Artist
yes I agree this will definitely help improve my writing skills
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:iconpoesdaughter:
PoesDaughter Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2015  Professional Writer
Sweetness :) 
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:iconrocketkat123:
RocketKat123 Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2015   General Artist
I actually never thought about it, but now that you mention it, Bella Swan really is the Queen of Mary-Sues! And I thought I was the only one who thought Twilight read like a fanfiction.

Anyway, thanks a lot for this very informative tutorial. I suppose I am guilty of a few things.Sweating a little... Mostly I'm just starting out as a writer, and I think your tutorial will help me a lot. :) (Smile) 
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:iconpoesdaughter:
PoesDaughter Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2015  Professional Writer
Oh, you're not alone there. My colleagues tease anyone who argues that Twilight is a good book :p I speak objectively; it's not the subject matter that bothers me, it's the lack of skill on Stephenie Meyer's part. From a writer's POV, she's not very good at her trade.

And thank you for reading and reviewing! Don't be too hard on yourself; good characterization is a skill that takes years to master. As long as you recognize potential errors, and learn from them, you're good. :)
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:iconrocketkat123:
RocketKat123 Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2015   General Artist
It's kind of sad about Twilight. There was so much potential, and I had high hopes when I started reading. However, it only took mid way through the first chapter for me to see that it would take a lot of will power from me just to get through the first book.

Thanks for the boost of confidence! It's really easy for me to get caught up in details, so a lot of the time I am my own worst enemy.
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:iconpoesdaughter:
PoesDaughter Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2015  Professional Writer
Hehe that's about the time I realized it was a lost cause too. By the time I got through that first chapter, I wanted to gut myself with a rusty spoon. And I had really hoped it was a good book. Alas, I was at the shallow end of the dream pool. 

Every writer is their own worst enemy! I have to remind myself to take my own advice to my students most of the time. Mainly, expecting perfection from myself on my first draft. You should never do that. I find it stifles creativity. 
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