To Write Or Not To Write: The Dreaded HL Mary Sue




The Dreaded HL Mary Sue

By: pixie

NOTE: I mean no offense. I have written Mary Sues of all types. This is merely my not so humble opinion.

Ah, the dreaded Mary Sue… The one fanfiction tactic guaranteed to get you a few scowls and make you lose a few readers. But what is a Mary Sue? What, exactly, makes her different from the millions of *good* OFCs out there? Let’s take a look.

What makes a Mary Sue? There are many wonderful lists out there to tell you if your character is an MS, and I’m not going to add one. Some people believe a Mary Sue to be a character based on the author--in my less than humble opinion, this is not true. An MS is a *perfect* version of the author—she is what the author strives to be. Go ahead and base a character on yourself! Here’s an example:

Character based on me:

Michelle scowled deeply, trying to get comfortable on the curb outside Joe’s bar. It was blisteringly cold; she wrapped her arms around her thin, undeveloped frame, trying to keep warm. Her mother had *told* her to bring a coat. Oh ell, she’d just have to suffer. A gust of chilly wind blew the strands of hair escaping from her hair clip around her face rather unbecomingly.

Michelle gritted her teeth. Why the heck did this place have to card? She had an hour before her friend picked her up and now she’d have to spend the time freezing her bony rear off outside.

"Hey kid," a voice behind her called cheerfully. "A little cold to be sitting out here. Why don’t you come in? I now the owner; he’ll let you if you promise not to drink."

Michelle glanced up into the most gorgeous pair of eyes she had ever seen, wishing for once that she wasn’t a lanky, uncoordinated teenager with frizzy hair from over-dying and retainers that gave her a slight lisp.

"Um, uh, well, uh, t-thanks…" She stood, holding out her hand, breath heavy as she took in the man’s beauty. "Michelle…is me…and it’s nice to meet you…here…where we are…" Oh, *that* was smooth.

The man smiled and took her hand. Michelle’s heart jumped to her throat.

"Richie Ryan. Nice to meet you."

That is a character based on me; however, it was not a Mary Sue. I described myself as fairly as possible: I’m 5’5", weigh 105 lbs., and have short brunette hair that has been dyed every color from blonde to purple. It does have some of MS’s qualities; however, it has enough to make up for it. (And I’m not saying that was good writing, it was just an example!)

Here is a Mary Sue based on me:

The goddess-like woman’s chocolate-brown hair flew in the wind as she entered the bar. She smiled at the bartender who was too enraptured by her picturesque beauty to ask for identification. The actress removed her light overcoat to reveal a short, form-fitting dress of sea foam blue—the exact color of her radiant, sparkling eyes. Her lips were pink and glossy and just begging to be kissed.

Richie Ryan looked up from his drink to gaze at the most beautiful girl he had ever seen. He practically fell out of his chair as he tried to stand, fumbling his beer glass that tipped dangerously on the edge of the bar.

The nymph-like creature that had sparked his attention in the first place reached out, grabbing the drink before it could topple to the floor. She smiled at him encouragingly.

Ryan smiled back nervously. "Hi… I’m, uh, um," Oh man, what was his name? "I’m uh,"

"Extremely handsome," the brunette filled in graciously. She extended her hand in greeting. "Mychelle."

Richie brought the hand to his lips. This lady’s hand was meant to be kissed, not shaken. Mychelle smiled brushing his cheek gently. She would have to move quickly. An actress as famous as her never stayed in the same place for long.

That was Mary Sue me. Answer honestly: which is more interesting? Little Miss Perfect and Wonderful Actress or just plain old clumsy Michelle complete with faults people can relate with?

That is why people hate Mary Sues: Everyone dreams of being perfect; however, we cannot relate to perfection. On the other hand, we *can* relate to human faults. Everyone has faults—even fanfiction characters. If you base a character of your idea of a perfect you, why would anyone want to read it? We are a selfish race. *We* want to be perfect—we don’t want everyone else to be!

Wanna know my biggest pet peeve? In Highlander, people have the tendency to make their Mary Sues save <>’s life and then sleep with them. This is not a good tactic. First of all, why do all these people go around sleeping with someone they barely know? C’mon! How often do *you* meet someone at the store, save him from a big guy with a sword, and hop into bed with him five minutes later? Heck, most MS’s don’t even *make* it to the bed! Hmph. Why not write fanfiction that does not depend on stupid relationships and sexual situations? I mean, there *is* a genre for fic all about sexual relation. It’s called PWP.

Last of all, the Methos mess ups. Pleasepleaseplease do not make your character older than Methos! For heaven’s sake, the show said specifically that he is THE OLDEST IMMORTAL! Oldest means oldest. Also, the slave thing is just a *bit* over done. If you have a new twist, great! But please don’t use the Methos’ Slave Story Formula.

Methos’ Slave Story Formula:

Methos’ ex-slave shows up.

Methos’ ex-slave threatens to kill him.

Mac saves him.

Methos is grateful.

(optionally) Methos and Mary Sue make up.

I am begging you a million times over, DO NOT DO THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, now you know how I feel about our beloved Mary Sues. What is my point you ask? My point is this: people can relate to characters with faults. If they are perfect, they are what we call ‘cardboard characters’. They are flat, with no life and a flat-out boring personality. I mean, take look at Anne (no offense to Anne lovers). I guess, most importantly, when writing, remember, faults make a person come to life!


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