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.
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. 🙂