Monday, November 9, 2009

Wish Fulfillment? Mary Sue Quiz

Ever since I first heard about the term Mary-Sue in relation to writers and wish fulfillment, I have in the back of my head worried that I might have done that very thing with a main character in Heroes of the Fallen.

In any case even though I know I am going to put that particular character through HELL a part of me still wondered IF I might be Mary-Sueing it. I wonder because so many of my characters whether small or big, good or evil or in between (most everyone) have that aspect of me, their creator or perhaps even better their interpreter inside them. So have I Mary-Sued my favorites?

Here is a quiz to tell you-its pretty dang good, very concise in that there is no getting around a possible favouritism/wish fulfilment. I found most of the questions hilarious-because they're true.

And I am very pleased to say that I scored a lowly 12 on behalf of Amaron. Tell me what ya'll get for your main characters---if you dare.


Noble M Standing said...

My MC scored a 25. when I was first writing him he scored alot higher but that was before I truely understood character. Even though this test is a great tool to work on character I have a problem with it in a few ways.

The question about whether he angsts over something bad he did in the past for example, is misleading. Isn't that part of character arc? Some of the other questions could lead to writers to write exceptionaly boring characters by taking away unique atributes of characterization.

Just my opinion.

Th. said...


Blocked at school.


David J. West said...

Something I found off the SFreader forum.

The Universal Mary-Sue Litmus test.
I kind of thought it asks if "you" the writer are purposely trying to make your character the coolest ever for all the wrong reasons.

Reminds me of: If Poochie isn't on screen-everyone should be asking "Hey where's poochie?"

Poochie is the most attractive character ever kind of like perhaps a 100 year old vampire chasing after high school girls cuz they smell nice-what about the girls that don't smell nice what about them? They wanna get bit by vampires too-OK enough of my unrelated rant.

L.A. DeVaul said...

I didn't read the description, but I took the test and I thought it was something about being obscenely in love with your mc, and relating them to yourself, because you are sooooo awesome.

Thankfully, I failed the test, or passed, however you measure a low score. That would be totally embarrassing if I were obscenely obsessed with my MC. Then everyone would know that I really wanted long, silky, pink hair, and wings, and thought the whole world should bow down and worship me. Embarrassing. But that's not in my story, so I'm safe.

David J. West said...

Good L. I didn't realize Roxanne had long, silky, pink hair. Oh and wings. I was under the impression that you were writing about a model in LaLa land.

Or was that the twist like Monday Night Shymalan would do?

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Good grief! This was scary. Fortunately I scored low. This really made me rethink. Thanks for posting it.

David J. West said...

Thanks for dropping by Kathi-best of luck on your book tour.

Daron D. Fraley said...

OK David. This was a very cool post. Lots to think about.

I took the test twice. Once for one of two main characters in my own book and scored a 32. I was very hard on my character, answering yes if it was even remotely applicable.

Getting that score made me a little nervous. But then I got to thinking about the questions I felt compelled to answer yes on and realized there were several which, although answered yes, did not necessarily fit with the Mary Sue-ness for which the question was asked... in other words, I think I understand WHY the question was on the list, but the way I handled the situation was perhaps better than the scenario I imagined here. Does that make sense?

Call it self justifying if you wish. :)

But WAIT! There is more! I thought: "Hey, what about LOTR? There are several questions here which remind me of characters in that world."

I realize this is my own interpretation... but Aragorn of the many names, many languages, special heritage/kingship, special skills, special weapon handed down from ancestors, special amulet from his fave girl, blood-bath fights with hardly a scratch, etc. etc...

HE scores a 35! HAH! Take that you Mary Sue Quiz People!

And he was one cool dood. And I would be afraid to call him Sue. So, I don't feel so bad.

See... Everything is open to interpretation.

David J. West said...

I wasn't terribly worried about what my characters would get-mostly curious.

And thats why I said I thought a lot of them were hilarious because they are so obviously over the top.

I only got a 12 and I DO base the main character on a lot of my thoughts and expieriences but I think since I plan on putting him through so much, it took him out of the Mary-Sueness at least for this quiz.

M. Gray said...

Thanks for sharing this, David. Especially since Billy and I are strategizing my MC's personality right now. I scored a 28... so yeah, still some work to do. But I liked the De-Suifiers part at the end. That saved my bacon a bit.

Thanks again for the post. It was good for me to use an unbiased tool, although it can be rather humbling!

David J. West said...

Great Mary-but at scoring a 12 it also told me I needed to spice my character up.

Karlene said...

I think all of you are lying--especially David, who I'm sure got at least 250. I got 101 and I can't figure out why that's a bad thing.

David J. West said...

Ouch Karlene-I'll have to look again, is 250 even possible?