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 The Mary Sue test!

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nola
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PostSubject: The Mary Sue test!   Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:06 am

Hello to all from your friendly Admin Nola Very Happy

Just thought this would be worth posting, as I feel that we can all benefit from this kind of learning, and that is how NOT to write your female lead as a dreaded Mary Sue! What is a Mary Sue I hear you ask? Well, it's a character you DO NOT want to fall into the trap of creating that's for sure. Okay so these are fictional stories we are writing, and sometimes for dramatic effect we might chose a slightly off the wall or 'Hollywood' (as I dub it) storyline that wouldn't be completely credible to real life, that much is acceptable and understandable. BUT, carrying this over to your leading lady is something you just do not want to do. A Mary Sue is basically a perfect girl. Everyone loves her, she has no enemies, she's good at absolutely everything and never struggles like normal folk do. She usually comes from a troubled background but has made this wonderful life for herself, she usually has a lot of money and has had some really out there name like Chyna or Serenity or Angel or anything else that sounds like it comes from a fantasy land, yadda yadda yadda, I could go on. Reading a character like this just makes me for one do one thing straight away, turn away from the story because I am BORED. A lot of writers fall into the trap of projecting themselves, or at least how they'd like to see themselves into a story, and thus end up with a perfect Mary Sue. I've been guilty of doing this in my much earlier works, and now when I go back and read things written from years ago and compare them to now, I see my characters have a little more depth to them. The key is to make them HUMAN, not superwoman!

Anyway, this here is something I found and that I test myself frequently on. Basically it's the Mary Sue test, and I thought I'd put it here for people to use as a guide to make sure they're writing their characters as a believable person really. Before anyone flies off the handle at me and says I'm accusing them of writing shit characters, I'm not!! So calm down :p I'm merely here to help people with their writing and share things that I as a writer have found a big help in my own work. Even though as a published poet and with 15 years of writing experience behind me, and am a freelance writer in my spare time, I still make mistakes and am by no means perfect! This test REALLY helped me take a step back and inject more reality into my characters. So go and put yourself to the test and see how you shape up against the curse of the dreaded Mary Sue!


http://www.ponylandpress.com/ms-test.html
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HarleyMac
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PostSubject: Re: The Mary Sue test!   Wed Apr 13, 2011 10:17 pm

This is what I assume a useful test for writing, but that test is basically making your character a Mary Sue from even just the basic of little details. I think that people really need to remember that some times you have to write your characters as someone who is believable but at the same time, I think that test could seriously put a more recent writer completely off the road to becoming a writer, not that I am saying that everyone will be put off with the test, but I think that it is important to ensure that they aren't put off by that.

I think that the test would be more useful if it didn't cover so many areas, (just my personal view) I think that it could be done in a more constructive manner - like using little points about ensuring that your character isn't the best at absolutely everything that they try, that they aren't the best looking person in the world, that they don't have the perfect body, that they don't over excel at everything they do. It's more about guiding than getting someone to answer questions and then have them be told that their character is no good. (Again just my pov on the matter). I know that people won't always agree with my view on it, so I am going to leave it here for those who think that it is a good test and find that it hasn't put them off writing altogether. Very Happy xoxox

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PostSubject: Re: The Mary Sue test!   Thu Apr 14, 2011 2:09 am

I've just taken another look at it and I have to agree it is way too long, it's not the first one I did which was only about 2 pages of questions. I'll try and find that one, because I think there's a couple of different variations. I just put my most non MS character Tyra through it and she barely scraped past and anyone who has read my fic 'In the blood' definitely knows Tyra ain't perfect. Bear with me, I shall try and find the link to a shortened, more character friendly test because that one is quite brutal. Sorry I should have checked it before I linked it!
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PostSubject: Re: The Mary Sue test!   Thu Apr 14, 2011 2:17 am

Here we go, a shortened version of the test - http://www.springhole.net/quizzes/marysue.htm

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