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What makes a Mary Sue a Sue?

Discussion in 'Creative Zone' started by Morgaine, Dec 21, 2017.

  1. Morgaine

    Morgaine The Shiny Queen

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    Many people hate the stereotypical character Mary Sue, the perfect girl, who always gets the perfect ending.

    But what makes a Sue a Sue? Or a Gary Stu a Stu? (Male counterpart)
     
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  2. HeroofFire101

    HeroofFire101 Stirlingite

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    Exactly the same thing, only a different gender. I looked it up on Google. I'm sorry.
     
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  3. Tokoyami

    Tokoyami Revelry in the Dark

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    Pretty much, a Mary Sue/Gary Stu has no flaws in either personality or appearance, nor do they have any substance. They’re typically a very boring and one dimensional character because they’re so perfect, they go through no development, no conflict that may affect them deeply, and don’t experience anything that would have any significance to them.
     
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  4. Tala

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    well on one side I think most oc are marysure, as they represent ya story,
    however I never think my oc is a marysue, in a way mine oc are never heroes but always the once who get the hurt the most.
    but does that also count as marysure, I wonder now
     
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  5. Pathos

    Pathos Impish Illusionary Kitsune

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    I personally see a 'Sue/Stu' as someone with no flaws that affect their character's actions/morals/or overall goals. They could have a edgy horrible backstory with a ton of 'flaws' but then turn around and completely ignore their past, flaws, fears, ect to do something they otherwise wouldn't or couldn't.
    Sue/Stu could look pretty normal for whatever fandom/universe they're in, but could just clash based off of their personality or actions-while a normal character could look weird for the universe/fandom but work well within the place's rules.

    Sue/Stu are often seen for having super bright and happy backstories with no conflict, or very little conflict-but they could also have the opposite, a edgy dark backstory with little happiness and a ton of conflict to give them 'depth'. It ultimately relies on how they grow from what they've experienced, to me at least. For example, if a child grew up among villains I find it very hard to believe that the child would happily leave the lawless life they had to become a hero so easily, if willingly at all.
     
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  6. Tala

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    a good one Shadria, I really need to write down my oc, my oldest. if someone ever wanna see if it is mary sue or not.
     
  7. BOO-gilance

    BOO-gilance Chosen One

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    From what I have understood, it is a character that is too unreal. Their characteristics are just over the top, tailored for their success.
     
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  8. Dead Snek

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    A Mary Sue is basically a character that's perfect in any way thinkable, what little flaws/weaknesses they have are not real flaws/weaknesses and they can overcome their so called flaws/weaknesses pretty much instantly, making a lot of things they do moot because they never grow or develop due to already being perfect.
     
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  9. warriorseadra

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    Succeeding in life without any challenge, putting in too much work, and being changed from the experience. All characters face hardship of somesort in order to grow and learn something about themselves. We could also say its so that the readers learn something about the characters. Someone who just succeeds will just be seen as flat and over powered. The world around the character might be amazing though, but the character would be a bit of a turn off.
     
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  10. JustTopaz

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    I don't like the term Mary Sue, personally. No one likes perfect characters but perfect people exist. Sort of.

    For instance, People say overly likable characters are Mary Sues. I have a good deal of likable characters. For instance....Fizzy. She's happy go lucky and pretty easy to get along with.
    But, Mary Sues tent to get along with anyone they like. I'm not saying they have no enemies, the opposite. They tend to have deadly enemies. And be a little psyco. For example. Mary love Gary, but Gary loves Jane. Mary is lays awake planning Jane's murder. But you know, at the end of the story, Mary and Gary live happily ever after. Jane is either dead or humiliated.

    BUT This then raises the question. is Mary is crazy, then she is no longer perfect. right?
    Until you realise that there are "edgy mary sues" these are the crazy ones like I talked about above. While their's crazy they still have very few flaws.


    OK, look. Some day, I'm going to write a 10+ minute long Youtube Video about this. I have options that aren't commonly shared.

    I beleive Mary Sues Don't exist. This is just a flat statement.

    And now I leave you with this.
    You make this perfact charcter. No flaws, more powerful then superman. But, she's a mary sue. Thus not a perfect character. Thus not a mary sue.
    Now you make a good oc. They have flaws and are pretty average as a human. They're the perfect character. But wait, that makes them a mary sue, right? and thus they are no longer a good character.... but then they're not a (blah blah blah)


    Short Version. I have options.
     
  11. SyWry

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    I do no condone the use of the term Mary Sue. I hate labeling things like this, so I hate the term. When ever the term is brought up though, I do think perfect character.

    To me, this kind of character isn't bad. I do see them as having no flaws and no challenges throughout the story. Is this bad? Not at all. A good example of a perfect character done right is One Punch Man. Yes he had no flaws, he was presented with no challenges and the story was so laughably simple that you swore a five year old wrote it but none of that mattered. It was still a great show because the show itself was aware that he was perfect and played off that idea to make the whole thing more like an action comedy than anything else. It was entertaining to no end.

    I like to think that there are no bad ideas in writing, just bad writers. Mary Sue is not a bad idea, it just has a lot of bad writers working off of the idea.
     
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  12. Zero HP

    Zero HP I shouldn't be alive

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    Nothing I'm saying here is absolute, but I think that "getting hurt the most" can be a cornerstone of Marysue-ness. I form this opinion through my determination that a Sue is not a Sue because of herself necessarily, but because of the people around her. Mary Sues are always loved by every non-antagonist out there, and the antagonists are usually jealous of her too, and thus would treat a perpetual victim either with pity or a sense of sisterly longing respectively. The same character with the same traits and actions and motivations can be a Sue if she is unilaterally loved/envied by all, but if she is met with mixed reactions by other characters is suddenly less Sue to me.

    Example: character has a tragic life: lost her life savings, cat just ran away, and now her bagel's burnt too; and everyone wants to give her hugs and pity because she's just an angel, then she's a Sue. However, if there are non-villain characters who would say "you made an unwise investment in that shady business opportunity, it was a bad decision on your part" "you forgot to feed your cat for a week, of course she skedaddled" "maybe don't be a ditz on purpose as an intentional flaw to make yourself perfectly-not-perfect and you won't burn food", then clearly she's actually not a perfect faultless human and is more understandable/believable.

    So yeah, that's my definition of a Mary Sue. Loved by everyone who isn't pure evil, never merely accepted or just tolerated, regardless of whether or not it is by her own traits or virtues.
     
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  13. Cadbberry

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    I feel like Mary Sues have to be pure and a lot of time have powers over pure strength. I often see that they are more abused than males as well. Gary sues have more violence in their pasts and are often made to look weaker so when their strength is shown it can be a surprise.
     
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  14. WavePearl

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    For me, a Mary Sue is not just someone that is insanely powerful for no reason, but may also have powers and aspects that would be out of place in the target universe (eg. guns in a pure fantasy universe, for example.) They also may typically have friendships or romances with either no development at all, or very unrealistically fast development.
     
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  15. BraviaryScout

    BraviaryScout Way of the Wind

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    One big characteristic I find in a Sue is what @WavePearl says. They're ridiculously overpowered to the point where everyone else is virtually obsolete. There's no challenge, adversity or strategy involved....just sheer overwhelming the opponent. Here's an example:

    I find a lot of the "Ash betrayed" fandom abuses this to no end. Starts out with no practical reason for all of his friends to abandon him and he's forced to run away. He then hides somewhere in isolation and returns (usually to some uber-tournament) with a pseudonym and air of mystery before destroying the entire competition with contempt for his former friends.

    Now I'm not saying that the type of story is necessarily bad, but many of those stories written portray Ash as a Sue...or Stu whatever way you put it. He's basically invincible, wrecking all in his path and holding a longtime grudge against his friends. Most of the tourney battles have his Pokémon knocking out the opposition in a matter of seconds or minutes. I guess a counterargument could be that he trained his Pokémon to find and exploit weaknesses early, but even with him being some mysterious trainer who takes the competition by storm; he still needs to be vulnerable. He has to lose his edge somehow.
     
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  16. WavePearl

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    @BraviaryScout

    This invincibility is what I am trying to avoid in writing my remixed Ash--while his remixed self is a bit of an author avatar (in that his remixed teams mirror what I actually used when I played through each generation, and he has my knowledge of the type chart), he still fails, and he still makes mistakes.
     
  17. BraviaryScout

    BraviaryScout Way of the Wind

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    @WavePearl

    That's something a lot of writers still don't realize. Having those kinds of flaws isn't bad. Hell, I'd vouch in saying that it makes them an even more interesting character. Same with Ash, despite the fact that he can't win a conference...as much as I dislike the anime nowadays, I can't help but admire his persistence. He still hasn't given up.

    It's perfectly fine to have that air of invincibility...but it won't last. Like I said, people will start to figure him out or throw a proverbial curveball...there's always going to be someone better and the writers that make a Sue/Stu in Ash seem to fail in grasping that.
     
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  18. BZRich64

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    The word most often used to describe a Mary Sue, or Sue-like character is perfect. While it is a generally accurate way of describing Sue characters, I'd like to put another word that can be used to describe them: hollow.
    With a Sue, their characterization tends to fall flat, making them unrelatable and unlikable. Their victories feel pointless because there will never be a point where it feels like they won't succeed in everything that they do. There will be nothing about them that makes you want to root for them, because they never truly have to earn everything and their lives will basically be handed to them on a silver platter.
    Its also important to note that heroes aren't the only characters that can be Sues, villains can be as well. The best example I can think of for this would be in the show Bones, where one season had a villain who got away with everything he tried to do until his death, managed to get away with all kinds of nonsensical plans in an otherwise fairly grounded show (in one episode he encrypted a computer virus into a set of human bones so that when they were scanned, they completely shut down the entire forensics facility where the main characters work) managed to not only survive getting shot in the face by one of the main characters, a trained sniper, but got away completely unhindered save for the massive facial scarring that only highlighted the fact that there was no way he could have survived his injuries. Also, as far as I remember he didn't even have any motivations for anything he did, he was just kind of there, trying to make the make the main characters' lives as miserable as he could.

    Of course, that's just my personnel opinion on the subject of Sues. Its definitely a very subjective subject and everyone will have a different view on the subject. This has definitely turned into a much larger wall of text than I intended, so I guess I'll just sum up what I'm pretty sure my point was supposed to be: Any character can be a Sue as long as they are written poorly.
     
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  19. Coraline

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    Mary Sue or Gary Stu, are people who can't learn anything really valuable. For example, if there was someone who was basically like (pardon the Disney reference), Belle, there'd be no real growth. Belle was mainly the only character that was perfect so she had not really any growing to do. That's what makes a character interesting. Is when they need to learn something from someone else.
     
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  20. Dancey

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    I think a mary sue is basically a character that's unreasonably overpowered, and has no flaws or drawbacks. So if a character can pretty much take over the world in less than a day and have no consequences (like no scratches or headaches, stuff like that), then that could likely be considered a sue. People may say that it could also be if the design is colorful, but I don't agree with that, a character could have rainbow hair and wings, and still not be a sue. It's mostly about their abilities, so if they have insanely powerful abilities without a good reason or backstory for it (aka, they were simply born with it), then that's considered a sue (in my opinion, that is).
     
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