A to Z Challenge – M (WR)

It’s April again and that means it’s time for the A to Z challenge and this year, my theme for the A to Z Challenge is characters and narrators.

M is for Mary Sue

Ah yes, we’ve come to the Mary Sue character.  If you haven’t met yet, simply look into the mirror.

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Mary Sue (or Gary Stu for the male equivalent) is an idealized character, often an avatar for the author or form of wish-fulfillment for the author.

As characters are birthed from the brain of the writer, there may be some thoughts, feelings, or experiences that are shared between some characters and their creator.  If you are in the “write what you know” camp, some similarities are possible and that’s okay.  Drawing inspiration from real life can make your stories feel more vivid and real, but be careful not to put all of yourself into the main character.

Creating a Mary Sue and inserting yourself fully into a work of fiction should generally be avoided.  Why?  Mostly because it’s a rookie mistake as well as lame and lazy (though there are some instances where it has worked, but it is RARE).  Also when an author creates a Mary Sue, they tend to make her/him overly perfect and therefore annoying or worse – not interesting.  Most people enjoy reading about characters with both light and dark in them, with flaws to make them more interesting or relatable.

Part of the joy and fun of writing fiction is dreaming up different kinds of characters and how they’ll react in different situations.  So don’t Mary Sue in your novels.  Save writing about yourself for your blog…or that memoir when you’re famous.  🙂

M

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16 thoughts on “A to Z Challenge – M (WR)”

  1. Ah the Mary Sue…gotta love her. I agree it is a rarity that this is executed well, though usually in comedies or farces. While she can be fun to write…but not so much fun to read. Hooray for M! Can’t wait for N!

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    1. 🙂 that is a good point. Mary Sue is probably fun to write (a true choose your own adventure that you can control), but definitely not fun to read (assuming you aren’t the writer or his/her mom).

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    1. It’s true. Rowling came out and said that Ron shouldn’t have ended up with Hermione, as it was a bit of a wish-fulfillment for her…which was annoying. To me, if you’re going to Mary Sue and do a wish fulfillment, don’t come back years later and admit to it and then say it shouldn’t have happened. 😦 lol sorry for the rant. hehe.
      But anyway, in the case of Hermione it did work, as it wasn’t super obvious to the reader (until Rowling admitted it).

      Thanks for stopping by and good luck with the A to Z! 🙂

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  2. Great post. I think that beginning writers, if not all, are guilty at some point of putting a little bit of themselves into each character. It can be difficult not to, especially since when we write we tend to take bits and pieces of experience and what we know of the world around us, our senses, changing little details.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right, a lot of beginners do tend to Mary Sue a fair bit and honestly, it’s a natural way to begin to write. I think the key is the recognize when you do it and then try to grow from there 🙂

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