The Mary-Sue Character in Fiction

A Mary-Sue is a rather silly sounding term, isn’t it? It’s writer-speak for a character who is just too Good to be true – or too Evil. Or, and this is scary, too much like YOU. Or too much like the you you’d like to BE.

Mary-Sues are weaker characters, and thus weaken the power of your fiction. But how do you know if a character, major or secondary, is one of these creatures?

I found this fun test on Mary-Sues when writing the first draft of my Vanyl, Bk 2 manuscript. If you use the link (not copying to a doc) it will even add your score up automatically for the final verdict.

When I used this test, I first answered it with the main male character in mind; he scored low on the MS scale. So did my Villain. But the main female love-interest?

Hoo, boy. Don’t know what I was subverting when writing this character, but she was SUCH a MS! I’ve got beaucoup- work to do to make this medieval-style healer-chick less perfect. One of my readers tried to tactfully suggest that at times, she wanted to punch this character in the face…that might have been my first clue in the Mary-Sue meter.

So if you’d like to test a few of your characters, here it is. The Mary Sue Writing Test.


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