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June 9, 2013
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Mary Sue Test Stamp by mirz-alt Mary Sue Test Stamp by mirz-alt
One of the biggest arguments I get into with people is over the helpfulness of Mary-Sue tests. Anyone who watches me knows I have a distaste for the whole Sue issue. I feel that a good many writers are so paranoid about creating a Sue, they are doing a dis-service to their writing and characters. On the other hand, I feel that Sue tests give others a misguided belief their character is okay, when in fact, they ARE a Sue. Granted, I do believe they can help new writers see weak spots, but they are far from perfect. So much of that stems from the misunderstanding what a true Mary Sue is.

A Mary Sue is not a perfect character, but a character that is perfect in the eye of the creator. The creator loves and idolizes that character and expects the reader to idolize them, too. Because of that, they come off as unrealistic, even if they have drama and flaws.

There is a great guide I found here on dA that sums up my thoughts on the issue to a T.

Is she Mary Sue?                                  Clarifying Mary Sue

So, I realize that everyone has heard of Mary Sue characters, but the thing that bothers me is that Mary has never really been as clarified as she could be. Girls go around crying Mary Sue at every character with long pink hair, then go and create even worse Mary Sue characters in the false illusion that they're making nonMary Sue characters (or even anti-Sues) when in fact they're doing the opposite. Allow me to explain how this seems to happen.

First of all the term "Mary Sue" desperately needs to be clarified to these people, so this brings us to the very important question: What IS a


For those tl;dr, here is one paragraph that I feel summarizes the issue succinctly:

"It matters not whether they have long, flowing pink hair, special abilities, or even who they fall in love with. It doesn't even matter if they're a tomboy full of flaws. A Mary Sue is a character who is plainly, mercilessly and unfairly worshiped by the author (directly or indirectly, usually indirectly or even unintentionally so watch out). It's in the portrayal. What could be a Mary Sue in one author's hands could be a perfectly reasonable character in another's."

I will go so far as to say that not only does the author worship the character, but they want the reader to worship them. Because they are perfection in their mind, they can't understand why everyone else doesn't love them as much.

Anyhow, I wanted this stamp to be visual as well as text. You have the plain brown-haired girl who is normal and has some quirks, but nothing overt. Just because that character scores low on a test doesn't mean she isn't a Sue. On the flip side you have an angelic character with fair skin, pink hair, purple eyes and wings. Boy, talk about scoring through the roof (especially if her parents died and she has a dark secret even she doesn't know about). However, that character may not be a Sue at all, depending on how the author handles her.

Oh, and it should be a given, but all of this applies to Gary Stus as well.

:happybounce: You do NOT need a subscription to use this stamp. Due to dA changes, you can now use it in your journal or ID box, even if you are not a pay-member. Simply cut-and-paste the thumbcode into your journal and you'll post the stamp!!

:bulletblue: You can find more of my stamps in this folder ---> [link]

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Add a Comment:
 
:iconrose3212:
Rose3212 Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Those tests are biased...I bet Bella from Twilight would score very high....But that doesn't mean she's a Sue either.
Reply
:iconrandomemaster360:
randomemaster360 Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This entire Mary Sue stuff has really started to annoy me, I really can't get it why people start to hate on a character just because it has some traits that makes them superior to everyone and everything and could be called ,,perfect" or similar to other Mary Sue like characters without even considering the overall character and personality of it.
And now I wonder from where this all Mry Sue stuff started anyway ?
Reply
:iconmirz-alt:
mirz-alt Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2014   General Artist
It's very annoying.

There was a Star Trek fan-fic YEARS ago, where there was an obvious self-insert character named "Mary Sue." The problem wasn't just that the character was unbelievable, but the writing so poor. From then on, all characters like that were called Mary Sue. A funny thing, though. Years before that, a character was often called "a Pauline" after "The Perils of Pauline." But the difference there was that the character was mostly a victim, always having to be rescued. IN fact, that is why the character in the first Donkey Kong (that Mario has to save) was named Pauline. :D
Reply
:iconrandomemaster360:
randomemaster360 Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Ikr

Thanks for clarifying that, I really see it very unfear to do that just because someone thinks it has similarities to it. And that's how all the characters that had to be saved all the time we're called, quite funny indeed.
Reply
:iconmetalbyakko:
MetalByakko Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2014
It's good that someone says something like that. I think those tests aren't really more than check lists and even IF the Mary Sue tests are some kind of help, you (as a creator of a character) has to sit down and give some serious thoughts about them and should not treat these tests as some kind of ckeck list (which I already said).
The tests are just too vague. Sometimes a character with many powers is a mary sue, sometimes not.
Actually some Mary Sue trades are even sometimes neccessary....whatever you could count as a Mary Sue trade.

You know I once saw a picture here on dA with an example for a Mary Sue and.....a not Mary Sue. Even the backgroundstories were there.
The irony was that the mary sue was way more interesting and the other one was SO bland and boring, that it made it also into some kind of Sue. The best thing would actually be, if the people would just sit down and start really thinking about there characters.
Reply
:iconmirz-alt:
mirz-alt Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2014   General Artist
I honestly believe those tests are created so the person making them can think how clever they are.
Reply
:iconmetalbyakko:
MetalByakko Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2014
yeah also they focuse just on the character, it's also important to look on the surroundings of the character.
Take Son Goku from DBZ:
Super strong and can destroy planets without trying.
Is he a mary sue?
In his franchise: no
why?
because his enemys are much worse.
In another franchise he would be a mary sue.
Reply
:iconagile-eagle1994:
AGiLE-EaGLE1994 Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I like your research.
One of my best friends on here, has made a similar piece in a journal entry.
remmywakko.deviantart.com/jour…
Do you see her point, or do you think her definition is way off from yours?
Reply
:iconmirz-alt:
mirz-alt Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2014   General Artist
I agree there are different types of Mary Sues. I don't necessarily agree with all of the ones she notes, but I do think some are accurate. Mary Sue, like anything else, can be subjective.
Reply
:iconagile-eagle1994:
AGiLE-EaGLE1994 Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I see your point! :XD:
Reply
:iconeasyparadox:
EasyParadox Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Warning I'm going to be quite pedantic here:

To me a Sue is a (nearly) perfect character with an INAPPROPRIATELY important role in the story.  That's how I interpreted the original story.

Inappropriately important does not mean a "chosen one" but it is an element that must be handled carefully.

The Problems with tests:
  1. They fail to highlight the problem area. Disparate character types can score the same.

  2. Positive, negative, and neutral qualities are lumped into one score, there are no checks for mutually exclusive qualities. Unless someone designed one really well.
  3. Excessive focus on character traits, cliches and plot points rather than execution of the aforementioned things.
  4. Not all stories are written to be serious or to match a specific setting.
  5. Tests can have questions that are unrelated to the character's role in the story 
  6. Tests can have bias in them.

Going invincible in roleplaying is properly called god-moding. (not modding)

Flaws are not a ticket out of Suedom despite the importance people put on them. Something like clumsiness can be a valid flaw if your character does precision work and becomes injured or ill that results in clumsiness. Flaws need not to result in tragic results if you are afraid of ruining your character. Downsides would be a better term if you think flaw is too strong/pejorative.

Character making isn't as simple as some RPG character sheet where you must check X amount of advantages and Y amount of disadvantages.

Anti-Sues are worse IMO because of how contrived they are.

There's a fine line between a favored character and Sue.  Nothing wrong with having a favorite but don't let that brush other characters to the sidelines or give the character all the "goodies".

Visual art with no narrative, by definition can not be Mary Sue. But they can be incongruous with canon or just plain old plagiarism.

I might make a long rant later, there's so much I could go on about. But I'm tired right now and I have my thoughts in other comments on this stamp.

tl;dr A balanced, believable character is not Sue and people should use more precise language.

Here's a few better terms:
Canon-Conflicter.
Special Snowflake.
Fate's Chewtoy.
The Chimera.
Reply
:iconmirz-alt:
mirz-alt Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2014   General Artist
You've commented on my stamps before, and I whole-heartedly agree with what you are saying. However, I think the term Mary Sue has some merit. I think the problem is that it has been so misinterpreted and mis-used that the meaning is so far from what it was originally meant to be. But it's still a quick, succinct way to give someone an idea of what kind of character you're talking about.

I still stand by my feeling that a Sue character is worshipped. Not the "this character is close to my heart" but to the point where there is true adoration. One person in the lit forums mentioned "identity confusion" and I think that hits it on the head. The Sue is a fictional version of the author/player, so much that they project everything that happens to the character into themselves. That is also why they take even the slightest of criticism so poorly, because they view it as a personal attack.  They simply want to be the star of the show, and they can't see why someone wouldn't want them to be. Any character, good, bad, well-balanced or not, that is so utterly worshipped, and projects the fact that YOU should worship them, too, it gonna get on your nerves. So, that is often why balanced characters are accused of being Sues. The author is so in your face with them that you can't stand it. It's sometimes hard to disconnect the character from the writer. 

Case in point. I had one guy come to me and say, "OMG, you HAVE to read my story, my character is so interesting, he is the best character in the world. I swear he is so cool, you're gonna love him."  Right off the bat, there is a feeling this OC is a Gary Stu, and I have to admit, I had no desire to read the character. This guy worshipped him--definitely a self-insert. I was very turned-off by his attitude. Turns out, the character *was* kinda cool. Not the coolest in the world, but balanced enough that I felt he was fine. But I could see where the character had enough Sue-ish qualities, along with the author's in-your-face worship, that people would write him off as a Stu.

One gal I knew told me her character was more real to her than herself. In her stories, she was a total Black Hole Mary Sue, engulfed everything. It was sad though, because I realize that the character she had created was an escape from her life of abuse. So, even in the case of a Chimera or Special Snowflake, there can sometimes be more to the backstory to the OC's existence, and reason not to outright attack them.

Of course, I'm not saying all Sues are like that. As you mentioned, this issue is very complex and multi-leveled. It's why you can't have across-the-board ratings.

All of that said, strictly looking at it from a literature/role-play POV, I do agree. I find is so frustrating when people create these characters and brag "But the test says she's okay" or "I made him look not so pretty, so that's okay."  It's not about that at all.

Now, sorry for my wall of text. I, too, feel strongly on the issue. Nice to rant and get it off your chest every now and then. LOL

Thanks again for your comment.
Reply
:iconeasyparadox:
EasyParadox Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
I see what you mean in more detail now.

I've broken it down to extreme levels of:

Self Insertion
Spotlight Stealing/Black holing
Author Favoritism
Reply
:iconmirz-alt:
mirz-alt Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2014   General Artist
Yeah, I think that more or less is correct.
Reply
:icondi-lastshadow:
DI-LastShadow Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2014  Student General Artist
When I saw this, I did the Universal Litmus Mary Sue Test.
My main oc is luckily not a mary sue. Only that's in commen with us is the first name, but that was only because I was lazy xD 
But I think everyone had a mary sue at one point (aka fangirls). It's just like people who fill drawing bases terribly, you can't get rid of it.
Sometimes I've just wanted to troll them so bad.
Reply
:iconmirz-alt:
mirz-alt Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2014   General Artist
Mary Sue is really in the execution. I have seen some characters who have scored high on those tests who are awesome and believable. And some who have passed the test, but are blatant Mary Sues. While I feel that it's a good thing to make writers aware of what to avoid, I think a lot of these tests just simply force the writer to be creative. They keep the Sue character, but add a few random things that they think will balance her, but they don't.

It's all so frustrating.
Reply
:icondi-lastshadow:
DI-LastShadow Featured By Owner Feb 13, 2014  Student General Artist
See I have an oc that's the daughter of a main character, who also happens to be a villain. But I kinda of evened it out by making my character not so much like him that it would seem cliché. And I didn't make her super strong or smart either. And she isn't too attractive either. It's hard to explain ^^;
Reply
:iconskulls887:
skulls887 Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
sometimes the test would even add traits such as

having a deviantart account
Reply
:iconmirz-alt:
mirz-alt Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2013   General Artist
LOLOL
Reply
:icontangerineandpuce:
Tangerineandpuce Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I so agree! I've seen many people call characters Mary Sues just because they don't like them or they have one "Mary Sue" trait, and I've seen the reverse as well. I just think true Mary Sues are characters that are just so perfect and/or out-of-pace it gets in the way of the story.
Reply
:iconmirz-alt:
mirz-alt Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2013   General Artist
I know. It's nuts.
Reply
:icongnewi:
Gnewi Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Yay! Someone else who shares my feelings on the whole Mary Sue test thingy! Lol! XD
Reply
:iconmirz-alt:
mirz-alt Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2013   General Artist
They drive me crazy. LOL
Reply
:icontrollberserker:
Trollberserker Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
To be honest - having a character with any special-abilities and/or a fancharacter that is related/has love interests to canon character will most likely give you a high score on those Mary Sue tests.
It's because they concent more about character's looks, race, powers and background, not on their personalities.
Reply
:iconmirz-alt:
mirz-alt Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2013   General Artist
True. Also, they don't take into account genre. If you have a story set in the Roaring 20s, having magical abilities is out of place and would rightfully score high. But if you're in a sword & sorcery setting, it would be more typical. You can't really rate them the same, but these tests do.
Reply
:icontrollberserker:
Trollberserker Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Lol, true that. Just because one of my Skyrim characters is a dragonborn - he was automatically threw into mary-sue shit because of special powers no one has, being the "chosen one" etc. If you have this - there's no way to get out of the high marysue score untill he's extremely ugly, obese, weak old man - which would be just completely ridiculous xD
Reply
:iconmirz-alt:
mirz-alt Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2013   General Artist
Totally. LOL!
Reply
:iconeasyparadox:
EasyParadox Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
I wonder which test that was? Sounds like someone took a test specific to a series and tried to make it apply to everything. Tests I've seen are full of bias or questions to matters outside of the story.

Another problem with these tests is that positive (being talented), negative (tragic pasts, which I don't find Sueish at all) and, neutral (hair colors) traits are lumped into one score.

People need to take a very important thing called context in to account.  Someone can have a universe where having "fair skin, pink hair, purple eyes and wings" is commonplace.


Things would be a lot simpler if people just stopped focusing on the traits which are tangential to the story and making a balanced and reasonable character.
Reply
:icontrollberserker:
Trollberserker Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Lol, indeed. Looks like those tests do not apply for medieval-ish fantasy (neither for fan or original fiction). Because if your character uses magic to fight monsters - it is an automatic marysue.

And I can kinda understand the "tragic past" thing. It's like all your character's familly was butchered, they are last survivor but they are atill a special snowflake with no worries and natural talent for everything.
Reply
:iconeasyparadox:
EasyParadox Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Tests also give way to much weight for names or seem biased against anime/manga fans. Names in other languages like Finnish or Swahili can be very easily mistaken for Japanese.

I could make a better type of test "Balanced/Reasonable character" but there are so many variables involved. Nesting a bunch of IFs can be confusing.

According to these tests having a happy past works as a passive -10 or so. I don't think a character like that would be called an Anti-Sue.

Could you send me a link to these test in a note please?

Using these tests in fantasy settings is like using one of those 500 questions to ask your character on a child character when 75% of the answers will be N/A.
Reply
:iconvisanastasis:
VisAnastasis Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
You formulated it better than I ever could! I couldn't agree more! :salute: (:worship:)
Reply
:iconmirz-alt:
mirz-alt Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2013   General Artist
:iconthankyouheartsplz:
Reply
:iconvisanastasis:
VisAnastasis Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
:iconlovesplatplz: 
Reply
:iconmirz-alt:
mirz-alt Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2013   General Artist
:iconheartsignplz:
Reply
:iconfifi-kun:
Fifi-kun Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
My father says that tests that describe personality are only as true as you make them to be
Reply
:iconmirz-alt:
mirz-alt Featured By Owner Aug 4, 2013   General Artist
That's very true.
Reply
:iconfunnelvortex:
FunnelVortex Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Those tests are bullshit and not a reliable source.
Reply
:iconmirz-alt:
mirz-alt Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2013   General Artist
Yep. But, unfortunately there are a great many people who rely on them or find themselves scrapping perfectly good characters because they score too high on them.
Reply
:iconfunnelvortex:
FunnelVortex Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I find those tests to be made by people who want to dictate how people should create their characters.

By logic of those tests, Superman is a sue, Sonic the Hedgehog is a sue, Luke Skywalker is a sue, and the list goes on.

And no one calls them a sue, while other good characters from their franchises (particularly females) are labeled as sues. Double standards at their finest.
Reply
:iconmirz-alt:
mirz-alt Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2013   General Artist
Yep, I agree with you there. Though, as I said elsewhere in the comments, the real issue now is that most people consider a Sue to be any character they don't like. So if the character likes orange juice and the reader doesn't like orange juice, they scream "Mary Sue!" (yes, that is an exaggeration, but not much.)
Reply
:iconfunnelvortex:
FunnelVortex Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Yeah
Reply
:iconsevslover6195:
Sevslover6195 Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I love this stamp!
Due to my writing for the marvel fandom my characters usually red flag during the first five "do you have powers?" questions going down hill from there.
Reply
:iconmirz-alt:
mirz-alt Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2013   General Artist
OMG, yes. Write in a superhero universe and you might as well close the book. Everyone is a Mary Sue. :D
Reply
:iconsevslover6195:
Sevslover6195 Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah...
The only exception seeming to be if you're a not powered member of a powered team. Which one would think would be even more sue
Reply
:iconsynfull:
Synfull Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2013
Can I suggest you slow down the stamp a bit? I would get to 'does no mean' and it would change before I could read it all :)
Reply
:iconmirz-alt:
mirz-alt Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2013   General Artist
Okay. Honestly, I was worried it would be too slow. It's already at a 3 second pause. But I'll slow it a tad more.

Thanks!
Reply
:iconsafe-test:
safe-test Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2013
According to the famous Litmus MarySue test, Morpheus (Sandman's protagonist and former "villain") scored 70 in said test.

Now I ask you: is Morpheus a MarySue (or a Stu for that matter)? The answer is no. This ends the discussion.
Reply
:iconmirz-alt:
mirz-alt Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2013   General Artist
LOL! I am a huge comicbook fan, and most of the major heroes (Batman, Spiderman, etc) fall into the Sue rating. People tend to forget that when they start wielding the "anti-Mary Sue" sword.
Reply
:iconsafe-test:
safe-test Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2013
Eeyup, and it's not like you can see your parents die or anything, if it ever happens you suck.

Also, people should know those tests lack the needed accuracy - it doesn't really tell wether you sue'd or not. .-.
Reply
:iconmirz-alt:
mirz-alt Featured By Owner Jun 9, 2013   General Artist
And the fact that the whole criteria from test to test varies so much. If someone wants to "prove" they don't have a Sue, they just have to hunt long enough for the right test that will give them a green light.
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