OngoingWorlds blog

News & articles about play-by-post games, for roleplayers & writers


Mary Sue: Defeating The Beast


We’ve had a lot of discussion here on the blog about Mary Sue and her many tentacles of slimy perfection and personality as realistic as Wayne Rooney discussing fine art over a bottle of vintage ruby port whilst listening to classical. It’s a beast we all want to avoid meeting or even worse, creating. So how do we do this?

This Roleplaying Focus is about just that with I have affectionately dubbed Mary Sue: Defeating The Beast.

Imperfections are beautiful.

Just like having a black dot on a piece of white paper gives us something to focus on, having imperfections in your character allows them to have a focus, rather than being a whimsical, indefinable person-like thing. It is one of those aspects that makes a character interesting and can even lead to some interesting story-writing as your character deals with (or not) with their fatal flaw.

Not everything has to be achievable.

Sort of a smiliar concept as previous. Just because you want a character to be able to do anything and everything, it is a much more realistic piece of writing when they sometimes hit brick walls. As in they are unable to do the task, or simply are no good at it! These inabilities flesh out your character much more than any number of achievements are able to. Even the great Captain Kirk cheated on one of his exams. Weaknesses are not weaknesses when it comes to interesting roleplaying.

Everything in Moderation

A time old classic rule about everything. It also applies to Mary Sue. Make your characters good at things, sure – but not everything! Likewise, have a few unpolished aspects about her skillset. It doesn’t have a be a fully blown out mental disorder. Smaller things are just as good as the larger ones. It’s gives definition and distinction to your character and your writing.

SEE ALSO: What does a Mary Sue mean to you?

Have any extra advice to give to your fellow writers? Are Mary Sue characters okay to use sometimes and when should they be used? Does size matter? Have you written a Mary Sue character in the past? Share your thoughts and musings in the comments below.